As an entrepreneur, there’s no denying that you care deeply about your new business. If you were not fueled with the intrinsic drive and dedication, you would likely not have taken the plunge and incorporate a company in the first place. Unfortunately, the gung-ho attitude that most entrepreneurs exhibit is a blessing and a curse, especially when it comes to a work-life balance.
That’s because entrepreneurs tend to dedicate themselves entirely to their new company and their business goals. While this can help a new company succeed, it often comes at the expense of others, such as the business owner’s friends and family. The success of the business is critical, but it should never come at the cost of your family. It’s important for burgeoning business owners to write down their three priorities in life and make sure that business is either second or third, as a constant daily reminder of what’s really important in life.
Entrepreneurs should be sure that they work toward accomplishing their business goals, but not at the sacrifice of their family. If you find that you are struggling to find a work-life balance, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem for many entrepreneurs.
Recent studies show that more than 90 percent of working professionals report working more than 50 hours per week, while more than 50 percent of those surveyed said they work more than 60 hours per week. Fortunately, we’ve provided tips below to help you achieve a work-life balance that allows you to pay attention to your business goals and your family.
Accept That You’re Not Perfect
Arguably one of the most significant character flaws of entrepreneurs is that they are perfectionists. They want every aspect of their new business to be perfect and will work tirelessly to ensure that it is so. However, this is not a sustainable model for success. In time, it will only serve to distract entrepreneurs from their business goals and loved ones.
This belief is backed by Dr. Marilyn Puder-York, author of “The Office Survival Guide.” She said that when unaddressed, perfectionism can quickly evolve into destructive behavior. However, she also says that she understands why so many young professionals are perfectionists, as they practiced these habits as children where their requirements were much more minimal.
Marilyn Puder-York suggests that instead of striving for perfectionism, young professionals should instead aim for excellence. Having a standard of excellence in your company will still help your new endeavor to be successful. However, admitting that there may be flaws, and accepting to let them go or table them for another time, could afford you more of a work-life balance. In fact, Harvard Business Review recently published an article showing how the most “innovative workplace cultures” absolutely must be a nesting ground for failure. Tolerating failure is imperative in being able to allow yourself and employees to experiment, push boundaries without risk of facing dire consequences. However, with tolerance for failure must come intolerance for incompetence, which is a crucial aspect in the hiring process.
Find Time To Unplug
Another significant problem for young entrepreneurs is the fact that they continuously take their work with them. Thanks to technology such as smartphones and tablets, it’s now easier than ever for people to work at all hours of the day. We’ve spoken with too many entrepreneurs who report answering work emails at 9 or 10 o’clock at night when they would much rather be winding down or spending time with family.
Today’s precedent in the professional world is constant accessibility. Young entrepreneurs should work to overcome this notion, setting the expectation that this will not be the case in their company. The sooner they do so, the easier it will be to maintain in the future. The fact of the matter is, working around the clock is not sustainable for anyone. The entrepreneurs eventually burn out and without a break to process and reassess, there is no way for the business to successful evolve. As entrepreneurs set boundaries and effectively create down time, the culture becomes more appealing for the top talent and communication improves. This way, as your business grows, it’s easy to let your employees know that you do not expect them to be accessible 24/7 and that you want them to enjoy time with their families.
If you feel that this will be a struggle, one of the best ways to begin is by turning your electronics off. As Harvard Medical School professor of psychology Robert Brooks states, there should be times when you enjoy the moment because you’ve powered down your electronics. He also says notifications on our phone, and our propensity to check them continually takes us away from “the moment.”
Try turning your phone off at night and on weekends. If you are going to work on the weekends, limit yourself to a few hours a day that you’ve allocated explicitly toward work. After that, ignore all work-related matters. There are also plenty of built-in features on your smartphone that allow you to filter calls or text messages to ensure that you are only receiving incoming calls from contacts of your choosing. The more you restrict yourself, the more habitual the time spent “unplugged” will feel. Over time, Brooks says that you’ll establish a habit of resilience, which, in turn, could give you greater control over your life and allow you to spend more quality time with your family. Meaning the time spent off-the-clock with family and/or friends won’t simply increase in quantity, but quality as well, leaving you content, refreshed and more ready than ever to plunge back into the grind.
Maximize Your Work Time
Many young entrepreneurs find themselves pulled away from their families because they spend too much time working. However, they fail to recognize that they are inefficient when they work. Instead of working for eight to ten hours per day at 90 to 100 percent, they instead work for 12 to 14 hours a day at 60 to 70 percent.
Try paying careful attention to your work habits. Are you working as efficiently as you can? If so, what is distracting you from work? Should you delete social media from your phone? Should you consider installing an app on your web browser that prevents you from visiting certain websites during work hours?
Another thing that you should evaluate is your sleep patterns. Scientists recommend we get eight hours of sleep per night. When we fail to do so, our concentration suffers. Instead of burning yourself out working, try the opposite approach of cutting work off and getting to bed at a certain hour. Pay attention to how much more alert you are the next day. Your brain relies heavily on sleep to absorb the day’s events and allow your system to learn. If you omit those crucial hours you are stressing your brain out and prohibiting yourself from learning.
To many entrepreneurs, their new company is their “baby.” They want to have a hand in every decision, and they are very fearful to delegate tasks. However, delegating tasks could help prevent new business owners from becoming overwhelmed. This could allow them to better allocate their time toward achieving their business goals. It could also afford them more time to be with their families.
Delegating tasks does not have to come at the expense of hiring employees, either. For instance, one of the quickest ways entrepreneurs could clear room in their schedule is by hiring a professional third-party company, such as DoMyLLC, to handle many of their administrative needs. For instance, DoMyLLC can assist with filing Annual Reports and other similar paperwork.
DoMyLLC will make sure that you not only file this paperwork correctly but that you submit it promptly as well. Removing tedious paperwork from your docket could allow you to dedicate yourself to your business goals, which would then let you put more time into your work-life balance.