Entrepreneurs and business owners wear a ton of hats. It might be providing customer service; it might be hiring employees or motivating staff. Perhaps it is pitching to a new client or simply mopping the floors. It is easy for entrepreneurs to overextend themselves or spend too much time on marketing and advertising when they should be focused on maintaining customers. If life is a balancing act, then business is life to the extreme as the unpredictability of running a venture causes entrepreneurs to sometimes fall off the tight rope.
Rescue a CEO and CEO Blog Nation asked entrepreneurs how they maintained their balance.
Get Involved in the Community, Listen & Focus on Health
(1) First, it’s really important to get involved in your community. Giving back is so rewarding and, for me, it’s an essential part of my week. I selected a cause that I believe in – Working Wardrobes, a non-profit that provides job services and wardrobe assistance to those re-entering our workforce after overcoming obstacles in life. It’s an incredibly humbling experience and I’m proud to be a part of it. Find a cause that you believe in that needs your help. (2) Second, take time to really listen to the people in your life – clients, employees, your spouse, vendors, and so on. Do so using the 80/20 rule. Listen 80% and talk 20%. I can personally attest that this helps with interpersonal communication which is a vital part of our personal and professional lives. Try it – you might be surprised. (3) Last but not least, focus on getting and staying healthy. When you’re healthy, everything else is so much better. I’m personally doing the Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferris and it’s been a great experience. There are so many creative strategies to take an active role in your health. Mix it up and let off some steam after a long day’s work.
Thanks to Chris Dyer, PeopleG2!
Morning Walk, Block Facebook/Skype & Workout
Here are 3 tips that I do on a daily basis to keep me focused and productive (1) Morning walk – I take a 20 minute walk in the morning to clear my head and plan out my day in my head. I find it a great start to the day and it helps get my creative juices flowing (2) Block Facebook/Skype – I use a Google Chrome plugin that blocks Facebook from 9-5. I can access it on my phone during my breaks, but not while I am at my desk working. I do my Skype chats in the evening as time can really get away chatting with people. (3) Workout – Working from a home office has it’s benefits, but one needs to get out of the house. I find going to the gym on the weekdays is a great way to “escape” and de-stress. I prefer to do it in the mornings as it is a great way to start the day, but I do like going in the afternoon after long day. I try all different types of daily routines as it is difficult to stay focused and accountable. These 3 all have really helped me get to where I am at today.
Thanks to Adam Dukes, Social Sinergy!
Listen to the Ancient Greeks
The ancient Greeks had the answer: “moderation in all things.” List the “things” of your life–work, family, worship, hobbies, charity, exercise, et cetera. And then, balance your time among the things competing for your time. If you allow your entrepreneurial pursuits to dominate your life, they will.
Keep Quiet Time, Work out & Turn of Electronics
Keep a Calendar and Delegation
I have to manage my time effectively by planning out what I’m going to do pretty much each hour of the day. (1) Keeping a calendar is key to stay on top of things and making sure to also schedule some personal time whether it’s shopping, exercise or doing something on your own to re-energize you need to think about yourself as well so you don’t wear yourself down. (2) Learn to delegate tasks to staff we can’t do everything on our own and we need help and delegating some of the smaller tasks will free up time and make our other tasks seem less daunting.
I Write A List
Whenever I feel my life getting out of balance, I sit down and make a list of all the ways I spend my time during my waking hours, everything over and above a standard eight hour work day. I rank the list in order of the amount of time I spend on each. Next to that list, I write down the five things I consider the most important in my life, in order of their importance. For me, just seeing the discrepancy between those lists is an incredibly powerful motivator for putting things back into perspective.
Know What It Means for You
As entrepreneurs, we need to prioritize the areas of our lives that make us the happiest and most fulfilled – our businesses, health and fitness, spirituality, friends, time with our spouses, “me” time, etc. For me, spending time with my husband is of the utmost importance. We’ve made choices and arrangements in our lives so that he now uses one of the offices in our building and works in it several days a week so that we can grab lunch together or take quick breaks and talk. My work is of course a priority. I feel totally satisfied when working, so I allow myself to work when and for however long I choose because it’s what I want to do. Some may see that as sacrificing other areas of my life, but it’s what makes me fulfilled. I have learned not to feel guilty about that. On the occasions when I’m visiting with friends and family, I’m focused and present with them so I don’t regret the time I don’t spend with them, but rather enjoy that time to its fullest. Balance is about knowing when I’m happiest and giving due time to those areas of my life, especially as a business owner. It’s what keeps me inspired every day.
Learn to Say “No”
I learned how to say “no”. As much as I would love to be able to do all sorts of things, time is valuable and prioritizing is of utmost importance. By doing so, I make sure that I get enough sleep so that I have the energy and clarity of mind to get what I want to accomplish done each day. Then, I optimize on the time that I do have by working smarter, not harder. It can be a really difficult thing to do, but becoming comfortable delegating work can be a life saver. Saving time can be anything from getting more employees and interns, to being more efficient online by scheduling posts, or hiring a housekeeper, every bit helps.
Dedicate Time Not Related to Work
My biggest tip is to dedicate time each and every day for a hobby or interest not related to work. This could also be spent dedicating time to enjoy with family or friends. Whatever the time is used for, do not multi-task or dwell on work related tasks. While I can’t say I’m successful at achieving this everyday, I can say I’m happier and also more productive at work when I do.
Delegate, Focus & Exercise
Doing 5 interviews with incredible Entrepreneurs every week necessitates balance. My 3 tips are (1) Delegate: I have 3 VAs who work 40 hours each. Delegating tasks are so important to keep me on task. (2) Focus: Follow one course until success. Pick one task, allow no distractions, stay focused on it until you finish, and only then move on. (3) Exercise: The ultimate reset button. A must every stay.
Schedule and Stick to It
I love my business and I tend to get into workaholic mode. So I have to be strict with budgeting my time. I schedule in time for working on client projects, time to return and accept phone calls, time to pitch my business and even time for the gym. Late afternoons and early evenings are for the family. After everyone goes to bed I allow myself a couple of hours to squeeze in more work if I want or need it.
Rise & Shine, Stop & Think and Separate Work & Life
Set Office Hours, Unplug & Eat Away from the Desk
The ways I stay balanced: (1) Set office hours and stick to them. (2) Unplug for at least 30 minutes every day. (3) Each lunch away from my desk at least once a week.
The biggest thing that will throw me off my “work-life balance” is when running company keeps me from spending quality time with my daughters. Nothing should keep you from your kids. So don’t make excuses and say, “I have too much work to do.” When you run your own company, work never stops. So you have to take it upon yourself to stop working. Close the laptop, leave the office…whatever…but make sure you build in time with your children because if you don’t, they’ll be strangers to you when you’ll need them most.
Multitask & Prioritze
Allocate Time, Be Efficient & Love What You Do
Automation, Care for Myself & Spend Time with Loved Ones
1) Business automation – I make the business work for me, I don’t work for it. I always hire someone to replace me and do my job so that I can
just count the money! 2) I remember that if I don’t take care of myself first, which includes my health, I won’t be any good to my business or anyone else. So I make exercise a daily priority, as well as eating healthy food. 3) I remember that the people I love and the memories I create with them matter more to me than any amount of money. I never chase money when I can be enjoying time spent with loved ones.
Plan, Go Mobile & Outsource
Separate Work & Home, Set Time for Now Work, Schedule Family Time
Have an Intentional Calender & Stick to It
I will have to say my number one tip to stay balanced is to have an intentional calendar and to stick to it. When you include fun activities in your calendar and protect them as you would your business appointments, then you can really have a balanced life. In this calendar, you would not only include time with your loved ones, but also health aspects like exercise, and spiritual aspects like prayer and meditation.