Balancing your work with everything else in your life isn’t an easy task, but you’re going to need to do it if you want to make it as an entrepreneur. You may find your work fulfilling, but all that time spent at the office can cost you your relationships – if you’re not careful. Fortunately there are ways of making sure your start-up doesn’t take over your life.
Learn to Prioritize
As an entrepreneur, your work will come in ebbs and flows. Sometimes you’ll be swamped by orders and product development, and on other days you’ll be sitting on your office wondering what to do next. The same can be said of your personal life. One day people can’t seem to get enough of you, other times you’ll find that everyone’s too busy to meet up.
Learning to read and expect those ebbs and flows will let you predict how your schedule will work. That will let you figure out how to prioritize where you spend your time in the coming weeks and let people know whether you’ll be available or not.
Lay Down Boundaries
If you don’t have boundaries for both work and everything else, you’re going to have problems. Customers are going to call you directly over the weekend or into the wee hours of the morning if you don’t make sure that everyone is clear when you’re on the clock and when you’re off it. Setting boundaries will clearly delineate, to both your office and your mind, when you’re relaxing and when you should be working.
This will also help prevent misunderstandings with your friends and family. Disappointments come from unmet expectations, if and they’re clear that at certain times of the day or month you’re completely unavailable, it’ll keep those expectations under control. An open door policy can be tempting, but it’s going to cost you in the long run.
Conquer Your Fears
Fear is good. Fear keeps you on your toes and keeps you sharp. The problem is when you let it dominate your decision making process. You skip meetups with friends because you’re afraid of what will happen to your company while you’re away. You skip meetings because you’re afraid your friends will stop inviting you out or forget about you.
Don’t let fear dominate your decisions. Think practically. Do you need to be at work because you have things to do or you’re afraid of things going wrong without you? Are you hanging out with your friends to secure your friendship or because you miss them? Do things because you want or need to, not because you’re afraid.
Make a Schedule
You want your ducks in a row when you’re an entrepreneur. That means scheduling all the tasks that need doing, both work-related and otherwise. If you don’t schedule your tasks, you run the risk of forgetting about them in the hustle and bustle of running a start-up.
Anniversaries, meet-ups with friends, and board meetings – all of these are important and deserve a place in your schedule. Scheduling your tasks will also make sure you don’t accidentally set a meeting at the same time and date as your best friend’s birthday.
Take Vacation Days
Being an entrepreneur is stressful and there’s a lot to do, but there’s always room for a vacation. If you spend all your time working and never get rest, you’ll find yourself burning out, possibly before you close your first deal or customer. You don’t need to go overseas for a good vacation – all you need is time away from work.
Giving yourself time away from work has a lot of benefits. On the work side of things, it lets you rest and come back to work with fresh eyes. On the non-work related side of things, it gives you an opportunity to spend time with your friends and family.
If you find that you can’t afford to leave work, not even for a day, you may need more help at the office. Hire more people and delegate some of your responsibilities to free yourself up to rest and spend time doing things unrelated to the start-up.
Being an entrepreneur is not always about being the smartest or being the bravest. It’s also about being able to balance your start-up with everything else. Take vacation days so you get rest and get more free time to spend with family. Schedule everything so you don’t miss out on anything. Do what’s best for your company and for you instead of because you’re afraid. Do these and you’ll help make sure that you have a good balance between work and the rest of the world.