Whilst an employee can take a personal or sick day for a break-up or death in the family, we business owners have to motor on through the rough patches for the sake of the business – and that is certainly not the dream the author of ‘4 Hour Work Week’, Tim Ferris, is selling.
While I love his work, Ferris’s book, in my opinion, is not an attainable goal for the vast majority of entrepreneurs and that’s okay. A version of some kind is certainly achievable though and putting in the hard work for the first 1 000 days of a new business initially, investing time and effort in effective systems, will help pave the way for more leverage in your business which will allow you to buy back some time for yourself.
My first 1 000 days were filled with late nights worked instead of family time and long days worked while ill or dealing with emotional setbacks and it took a lot of effort to keep pushing through.
Business owners face a particular challenge when it comes to this matter, as they often find themselves taking on more tasks and responsibilities than initially anticipated.
But simple courses of action can help you accomplish much, while still finding time to enjoy life outside of work in meaningful ways.
Here are six tips that will help you make work-life balance an everyday reality.
Schedule (All) Of Your Time
In the same way you schedule business activities, it’s important to schedule time to both be with loved ones and to engage in pursuits outside of work. It’s all too easy to begin bailing on activities and people unrelated to business tasks that can quickly consume your time. But the practical reality is that you’re shortchanging others and yourself by doing so. Through scheduling recurring date night with your spouse, an hour of each day that your kids know you’re available to them (particularly if you work from home) and other commitments that add dimension and depth to your life.
…And Stick to That Schedule
Hold to each part of your schedule as diligently as you would for work commitments. Treat loved ones like clients and extracurricular pursuits like business meetings. Don’t cancel because you think they’ll understand, or because you’re willing to give up pleasure for business. In the short- and long-term, you’ll benefit from setting clear boundaries between designated times.
Focus on one thing at a time — whatever is right in front of you — and be fully present in that task, person, or moment of relaxation. In other words: no more multi-tasking.
Protect Your Time
If you’re not running your day, then your day is running you! And the result is burnout and missed opportunities for meaningful engagement. It may be tempting to give your all to the business both professionally and personally, but being less than diligent about protecting your time will cost you.
And Your Energy
On any given day, we all only have a finite amount of energy to devote to a multitude of activities. Replenish your personal energy with exercise and other healthy habits and routines that work for you. For me, I found great pleasure in boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Whatever you choose, find time for letting off steam and encouraging the release of endorphins.
Learn to Say No
The powerful two-letter word “no” is the most important thing for protecting both your time and energy. This can be a challenge if you work outside of a traditional office setting, which often leads to less clear boundaries about your availability.
So if your business is overtaking all areas of your life, the message here once more is to devote yourself fully to the moment, to be intentional about your time -all of it – and in doing so to experience both freedom and fulfillment.