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 tightrope.
We asked entrepreneurs and business owners how they maintain balance as CEOs and here are the responses.
#1- Three ways
As a CEO of a growing coaching firm, I realized early on, with all the intricate pieces to the business, it could be very difficult to balance everything. I decided to do three things that have saved me time, money and frustration: schedule, outsource and working blocks. Be sure to schedule everything including family time and rest (self-care). Outsource any job that is not a revenue generating activity. Work in 60-90 minute blocks with a specific agenda with a 20 min break in between. These three strategies have saved me from complete overwhelm and allow me to be the best I can be in business and in life.
Thanks to Precious S. Brown, Precious Empowers Enterprise!
#2- Strict organizational process
Melding life and work is a process, but maintaining a balance is imperative if you want to avoid burnout and continue pushing towards growth and success. One way I try to stay balanced is by following a very strict organizational process. Each night, I outline the tasks that need accomplishing for the next day. Similarly, I begin each week setting out a list of projects, responsibilities and tasks that need tending to that week. This keeps me on task and motivated. But even with all of this drive, I also know I need to make time for myself. That’s why I use my lunch to step away from my work.. I read up on the news, decompress and work on things that have nothing to do with my company. This helps me strike the right balance without leaning too much one way or the other.
Thanks to Gabriel Shaoolian, DesignRush!
#3- Planning and exercise
Finding balance is always a challenge as the President and CEO of a growing startup (U-Bud Cannabis Services), and that is before you factor in three young kids, pets, and everything else life requires. For me, the balance comes from planning and prioritizing. Realizing that the only true fixed factor is time and everything else needs to work within that space. Everyday prior to starting my day, I create a plan on what I am going to accomplish and the associated tasks and meetings and from there build in some flex time for what may come unexpected as there will always be unexpected. These daily plans should always lead to you the larger tactical and strategic goals. Whenever possible, I try to create balance on the personal health front through exercise in the mornings and I use that to balance my love of food (move more or eat less or any combination thereof can help create that acceptable healthy balance). Lastly, where possible, mix business with pleasure. If my kids can help or my wife can join me, I always try to take that opportunity. Life is about enjoying the moments, so make sure you prioritize the things and people you love not just your business aspirations.
Thanks to David Kurth, U-Bud Cannabis!
#4- Pick six mini wellbeing related tasks
Before I used to push myself to the edge of burnout, sacrificing sleep and living in a steady state of crazy busy and stressed out. Now to maintain balance, every day I do a ritual I call Pick 6 where I pick six mini wellbeing related tasks to support my overall wellbeing. I have a bank of over 20 items to choose from so depending on the day, I can choose items that take more or less time. Some Items include getting 8 or more hours of sleep, calling a friend, getting 30+ minutes of cardio exercise, meditating for 5 minutes, free form journaling, no screens after 9pm or even having a silent dance party. Most importantly, I give my Pick 6 items the same amount of weight as my business to do list to make sure that my health and overall wellbeing never goes to the bottom of the list again.
Thanks to Lisa Abramson
For me, balance is simply about prioritizing. In reality, if you’re a CEO, it’s impossible to truly balance everything in your life. Instead, you choose what to prioritize. What matters to you most at any given moment? It’s an extremely complicated question to answer, and depends entirely on where you are in life right now. Since I’m still relatively young, I choose to prioritize work and creativity over my personal life. That’s not something sustainable for the long-term, but I always plan to prioritize more of that said when I’m in a better place with my business being able to run itself. At the end of the day, we all have the same amount of minutes to fill in a day. It’s all about what you chose to prioritize to fill those minutes.
Thanks to Zeb Evans, ClickUp!
#6- Time Blocking
The practice that I have adopted is single-handedly responsible for my time management which in turns helps me balance a very full work, family, and self-care schedule; Time Blocking. I keep a running list of the things I need to get done, updating it all of the time with the unexpected. On my calendar I have blocks of time that I dedicate to specific types of activity. For example, I follow a plan whereby I dedicate hours of my week to customer service calls, note writing, administrative tasks, exercise, family time, socializing with friends, professional events, etc. I decide how much of my time to each task I will allot and write it into the schedule. This eliminates the wasted time we can easily fall into of figuring out what we will do next or what we feel like doing. It helps me hold myself accountable and it reminds me to pay attention to the things that are most important to me. This allows me to feel accomplished, satisfied and relaxed knowing I’m on top of my game.
Thanks to Brenda Di Bari
#7-Sleep, lots of sleep!
I told my team the other day, efficiency is not about working more, it’s about working smarter and faster so you can sleep more! Every day is different, but my focus is efficiency. I have different days devoted to different things. Some days are devoted to video and phone calls only, others are for face to face meetings. I also make sure to have one day a week devoted to staff. Fridays are my admin days, no people allowed. I need the structure to keep things in balance. Being a virtual company we have the luxury to work from anywhere so creating my own boundaries and structure is vital. At The Selah Way Foundation and Selah Freedom we live by our core values and one of them is balance. It’s important to make time for business but to also make time for the things that completely fill you up. Such as loved ones, fun and exercise. Work hard, play hard and sleep more.
Thanks to Elizabeth Melendez Fisher, Selah Freedom!
#8- Not checking emails on weekends
I make sure I do not check my email on weekends. Sounds like a very small thing to do, but it has such a ripple effect. Most times even replying to an email can start a chain of events in our minds and get thoughts in there which are impossible to ignore. Simply not checking my emails over the weekend allows me to fully recharge
Thanks to Fab Giovanetti, Health Bloggers Community!
#9- Set time for two things
Each day is different in my business, with lots of variables and unknowns. But, I make certain that I carve out a set time for two things – exercise and family time. If you don’t have a set time for each, they will constantly get steamrolled, so I end my day almost always a little earlier than norm because I start my day earlier than norm, allowing me by 3:30 on the dot (most days) to be hitting the treadmill. After, I’m relaxed, work is behind me and that is family time. You have to set times and days and stick to it. On no one’s gravestone will it read wow, that guy worked hard, and frankly, no one will remember it. Make time. Designate time and make sure you’re making time for you and for those you care about. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when something doesn’t fit within that. One less committee, one less meeting, one meeting or conference moved to the time you have designated as work time is worth every penny.
Thanks to Rodger Roeser. The Eisen Agency!
#10- Stephen Covey’s organization principles
I balance everything as a CEO by sticking to Stephen Covey’s organization principles. I prioritize things that fit into my long-term goals as a husband, father, community participant and CEO, sometimes at the expense of tasks that seem to be urgent, but that are not as important and can be placed for a while on the backburner or scheduled later. In terms of organizing my time, I schedule big important things first, and then fit in little important things and events in between. Then I repeat with things and events that are less important. Every week I create mini goals furthering my long-term goals in each of my roles, and I organize my week based on those. Finally, I delegate lots of things that can be done just as well by someone else. When I delegate, however, I do not delegate tasks per se, but rather focus on benchmarkable results. All this allows me to be much more effective in each of my family, community and business roles.
Thanks to Ilya Aronovich, MedaDoc!
I believe that entrepreneurship is one of the hardest things you can do. And trust me, entrepreneur’s life isn’t for everyone. When my business partner, Anton Skarlatov and I launched Fantastic Services, we spent 80-90 hours working every week. Our menu included fast food and energy drinks. My sleeping patterns were all messed up. Worst of all, I didn’t have any time for friends, family, and relationships. However, once the company got on its feet, I started outsourcing. I had a person for everything. Having someone to take care of small tasks helps me to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Looking back, I wish I had been given this advice earlier so I could change a thing or two, like taking better care of myself and asking for help more.
Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!
Delegation of tasks is extremely important. Being the founder of my company, it is always tempting to take on everything myself because I like things to be done a certain way. However, I have learnt to assign tasks to the relevant departments to handle. Thereafter, I will work through my own task list based on priority. This way, I am better able to cope with the workload while encouraging a conducive learning environment for my employees.
Thanks to Charlotte Ang, Rentalorry!
#13- Private time doing what I’m passionate about
It’s important to have structure, balance and trust the people around you. I know what I’m doing most days: Monday’s – Tuesday’s are team meetings, Tuesday-Thursday is sales marketing and business development and Friday’s I’m usually with investors or customers. To be fully effective every day you need to be happy and healthy, that means to take private time to do what you’re passionate about to take your mind of the business. Some of my best ideas come when I’m surfing! You need to trust the people around you to execute, hire well and don’t waste your time micromanaging them.
Thanks to David Broomhead, Trade Hounds!
#14- Two keys
My two keys to maintaining balance as a CEO are daily routines and task lists. Having a daily routine allows you to optimize how you navigate not only your personal, self-care time but also your work as well. When writing a task list, it is essential to assign time blocks to each task to create accountability and realistic expectations for each day. Build your breaks, lunches, and even some open availability for same-day meetings in your daily calendar as well. Doing these things effectively will help ease some of the stresses of being CEO.
Thanks to Tiffiney Cornish, TC Creatives!
#15- Knowing when to stop
Being a CEO is not only busy, but also needs to think far enough for the company. As a CEO myself, I work more than working hours, and always be available online just in case. Although it may look like I’m a workaholic, the fact is – I am, but I know when to stop and rest. I always go back to home on time to have dinner with my family, and space out the entire Sunday for my family. Family is the core that keeps me powered all day long.
Without the balance, anyone would burn out easily.
Thanks to Albert Tan, SoothOil!
#16- Distinguishing between “should” do and “must” do
As a CEO, learning to distinguish between the things that you “should” do versus the things that you “must” do is critical to feeling a sense of balance. When you allow the “must-do” priorities drive how you spend your time, your level of motivation, energy and satisfaction increases. This is because you believe it is for the greater good—and you tend to satisfy these priorities with laser sharp focus and creativity. On the other hand, when you focus on the things you “should” do, you tend to feel drained, frustrated and exhausted quicker, which inevitably lessens one’s sense of balance. In other words, focusing on creating balance tends to create conflict when it is not achieved. Instead, work on getting crystal clear about your priorities and that will naturally encourage the level of balance that is required specifically for you.
Thanks to Rita Devassy, Deva Seed!
As a productive Mom, real estate broker, and business coach it can be easy for life to swing out of balance. The best thing I’ve learned to keep things in check is awareness. I’ve worked hard over the past few years to get really clear and who I am and what my goals are. This makes decision making easier and gives me the ability to say no to things that may not be serving me well. Now I use a journal daily to record my must do tasks, write my goals and see how I’m tracking in each of the areas of my life. I also work to catch myself when things are getting unbalanced and have a specific game plan for getting on track! Having a coach helps me see blind spots or things I’m missing. With all of these tools, I’m leading a pretty balanced life!
Thanks to Kelly Kilmer, Hero Nation!
#18- Plan out my day
On the outside, I must look super busy. I lead Tunedly, one of the most recognized brands for songwriters, I just went back to college to finish a degree I started ten years ago and I’m training for a pilot license. The way I manage all of this: a rigorous schedule. I plan out my entire day. Wake up at 9, emails from 9.30 until 11. 30, school from noon until 2, and so forth. Every minute of every day is planned out, shower time, eating, wake up time, sleep time, workout time, plus about three hours of freestyle time to either do nothing or catch up on things I’m behind on. Following that plan, you can get more done in 24 hours than you think.
Thanks to Chris Erhardt, Tunedly!