Here are 10 tips to help you on your way.
Achieving the perfect work-life balance is difficult for any entrepreneur because it can often feel like you are in a no win position. After all, you are working on your business in order to provide the best life for your family and yourself and that takes long hours and much effort. The downside is that if you are always working, it can be hard to focus on the needs of your family and yourself. You can’t be in two or three places at once. Something has to give!
Many Latino entrepreneurs especially struggle with this conundrum. Family life is important to everyone, of course, but Latino culture in particular is very family focused. Maintaining close relationships and being present at family events is extremely important to all of us, but this means it can be impossible to balance family commitments with work commitments, let alone grab some “me time.”
In addition, if you are an entrepreneur your working hours are generally long. According to some sources, the average entrepreneur can put in upwards of 70 hours a week. Carry on like this for too long and you risk burnout, which will have a detrimental effect on your business as well as your health.
The answer to achieving a sustainable work life balance is to lay down some ground rules at the outset so that you maximize your available time as productively as possible.
Here are 10 tips to help you on your way:
1. Stay off social media while you are supposed to be working because it eats up time. Don’t answer work emails or respond to work messages after business hours and if you can work from home on occasion, you can be with your family even if you are occupied with business.
2. If you are running a family business, getting everyone on board will help them see that it is their business too. You may be able to share some of the workload. Even if this is not appropriate for your business, family support will help you through difficult times and rough patches. It is important that your close family understands your business so that they can provide support and cut you some slack when you need it.
3. Limit the number of times you check your emails daily. Schedule a time for responding to emails so that your workflow is not disrupted. You don’t always need to respond to everything immediately so leave this task until it is convenient for you. The same goes for personal emails, calls from family and friends and other distractions which can derail your working day.
4. Schedule some time off for yourself for exercise or hobbies. Yes you have a hundred things to do but if you don’t add some “me time” to your to-do list, you risk suffering burnout. Your mental and physical health is important so taking some time off for self-care is essential. The best way to do this is to mark your time out on your calendar and stick to it. Self-care is as important as everything else on your calendar.
5. Set time limits on your working day. You may have had a busy day already and it’s getting late, yet there is still a long list of tasks to accomplish. It is important to push yourself when you are an entrepreneur, but the quality of your service and your personal health is important too. You can often do a better job when you feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep or a break.
6. Adopt a flexible structure if you can. We all work best at certain times so whether you are an early bird or a night owl, try to use your most productive time for working on your business. As long as you structure this so that you are not working round the clock, it will increase productivity. In addition, using any dead time productively will help. For example if you are meeting a client at the airport, why not use the waiting time to answer those emails?
7. Self-discipline is crucial to success. One of the issues with working for yourself is that you are the boss so you are only answerable to yourself. In order to accomplish what you need to do, you have to be focused and disciplined during work time. Avoid distractions and try to resist the temptation to use work time for anything else.
There are also great tools for entrepreneurs that help you keep track of your to-dos, prioritize them and, more importantly, not forget about them!
8. Don’t be afraid to delegate. Many successful CEOs delegate and automate the business as soon as possible and although it can be hard to let go in the early days of a startup, it is the only way you can build on success and manage your work-life balance. Hiring good professionals is essential, whether you need copywriters, marketing experts, designers or an office manager.
9. Remind yourself why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. Everyone is different but you probably chose this path because you wanted to succeed financially and become independent. Never lose sight of this ambition and maintain your direction and focus so that you can achieve this goal.
There is much freedom and creativity in the entrepreneurial lifestyle, but it does require guts, determination and commitment especially in the early days. This means that you have to work hard in order to factor in any time for yourself and your family. Most successful entrepreneurs struggle with achieving a work life balance but, in most cases, it does become easier once your business becomes established.
10. Finally, don’t beat yourself up about your work-life balance. Feeling guilty because you are not at work or not with your family, is very corrosive and damaging. This can be easily avoided if you add family time to your calendar as one of your basic life requirements. By creating very clear boundaries for yourself you can avoid the guilt. So decide what is important to you and stick to it!