Starting and/or running a business is an exciting challenging endeavor. In a business’ infancy the last thing you may think about or know how to do is create work-life balance for yourself. Making time to take a break and enjoy the process may prove difficult when your business is in the startup phase, usually in the first five years, but can be critical to your success. Over are the days of no sleep and no relaxation.
As a single women and business owner, I often forget to take the time to enjoy life. I am always thinking about the next idea to pursue or the next project I have to work on. Over a dinner conversation, the person I was speaking with asked me what I do for myself. When I began to answer, she said, “No. You have to take time for yourself.” It sounds easy to do when you hear that. Of course, you should take time to relax and celebrate your business victories both small and large. But the reality is not a lot of us are doing so.
It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings.
“Entrepreneurs work a few years like no one will so that they can live the rest of their life like most people cannot.”
I understand this quote and respect it. But does that mean that we cannot have balance in our lives? What does it look like for us to have work-life balance? I do not have one answer, but I do know that I am striving for this balance using the following five ways:
5 ways to introduce work-life balance
- Quiet Time. Set aside at least 15 minutes a day when you do absolutely nothing related to business or work. Don’t think about work or any other stressors you may have. This is a good time to take a quick nap or meditate.
- Do Something Fun! – Spend a few hours a week doing something you enjoy. You can walk on the beach, get a massage, or have drinks with the girlfriends. However, if you do go out with other people do not discuss business. This time is solely for relaxation.
- Learn to Say No. It is easy as the Owner/CEO to engulf yourself in your business and very tempting to seize every opportunity that comes your way. Truly evaluate whether these opportunities will make or break your business and learn to say, NO. Saying “no” to the certain opportunities will allow you to say “yes” to the ones that matter most.
- Set Goals. Setting goals is key to success whether in business or your personal life. I encourage you to create goals in both of these areas. What is important to the success of your business? What do you want to achieve in your personal life? When you outline these goals, it will allow you to eliminate the unnecessary. A great goal setting tool for creative entrepreneurs are the Powersheets by Lara Casey.
- Enjoy life. Find something that you can do, not related to your business or work that excites you. Painting? Wine Tasting? Traveling? Take time out with family and friends as often as you can because there is more to life than just business. Enjoy life and the people around you while creating a successful business.
For the really OCD entrepreneurs, creating a schedule that includes breaks may be a good idea. Especially since many early entrepreneurs work from home, the schedule provides the opportunity for a hard stop from work activities. The breaks give you something to look forward to while the time limits allow you to say "I worked successfully for xxx hours today." Sometimes we need that little pat on the back.
If you are working from home, working from a certain area in your house may be a good idea also. In that way your home doesn't equate work and it's easier to relax in your living room, when that room is associated with relaxation.
As Crystal-Marie said, "me-time" is a must! Schedule it in if you have to and make it non-negotiable!!