Entrepreneurs know that their success relies heavily on hard work, grit, and perhaps a little bit of luck. To stay in the game and ahead of the competition, entrepreneurs clock in far more hours than the average 9-5 worker, sacrificing their self-care, mental health, and social life.
A survey conducted by New York Enterprise Report found that 33% of small business owners said they worked more than 50 hours per week. As much as 25% said they worked over 60 hours per week.
Is Work-Life Balance A Myth?
Launching and running a new business is not for the faint-hearted. There is a massive amount of sweat equity that must be put in before you see any real and long-lasting results.
Between juggling employees (or going solo), struggling to get new customers and sales, and just keeping the lights on, it is no wonder that most entrepreneurs simply do not come up for air.
So is achieving a work-life balance even possible?
There is no question that finding a balance between running your own enterprise and taking time to refresh and unwind is challenging, but it can be done.
The Dangers Of Work-Life Imbalance
But before we explore the ways that you can achieve work-life balance as an entrepreneur, let’s look at the dangers of not seeking any type of work-life balance.
As remote work has become more mainstream, the term “work-life balance” has become a type of buzzword that has gained a lot of interest and has become the top-of-mind topic for both remote workers and employers alike.
And for good reason.
Work-life imbalance has some serious consequences tied to it. Let’s explore some.
The European Heart Journal published a study that investigated the risk of suffering from atrial fibrillation in individuals who worked in excess of 55 hours per week, as opposed to those who worked between 35-40 hours per week.
In a span of over 10 years and 85,000 men and women around 43 years of age, it was found that over 1,000 people developed atrial fibrillation.
So the conclusion derived was that people who worked more than 55 hours a week were 1.4 times more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than those who worked lesser hours.
Atrial fibrillation is a common heart disease that has been tied to producing stroke, certain types of dementia, and even heart failure.
A study conducted by the Journal of Personnel Psychology tracked a group of more than 2,000 high school students all through their lives. They were interviewed regularly about their education, emotional experiences, and their professional lives.
Those who worked in stressful work environments were more than 15% more likely to have died than those who felt they had more of a “sense of control” at their workplace.
The Best Ways To Achieve Work-Life Balance
Remember that you run your business. Don’t let your business run you. Here are some more helpful tips to help you stay in a safe equilibrium to continue to succeed in both business and life.
1. Establish boundaries
It’s important to make a work schedule for yourself and stick to it. Create a schedule that works best for you, where your energy level is at its highest. If you are an early bird, don’t schedule meetings during the afternoon slump, when your mental alertness is at its lowest. Once your work day is done, don’t check e-mails, take calls, or start a new project. Wrap things up and begin anew tomorrow.
2. Just say no
It’s important that you learn to say no. Whether you are just starting out or have been in the game for a while, it’s tempting to accept every opportunity that comes your way.
However, this is only a ticket to disaster. Burnout is a common occurrence among entrepreneurs. Take into account what is already on your schedule and your prior commitments.
If you do have a little bit of extra time and it won’t rob you of your energy or sleep, then go ahead and take on that extra task. If just the idea stresses you out, then it is best to decline.
3. Put You on the calendar
You are the most important asset for your business. Without you, your business will falter and fade away. In order to protect its most important asset, you will need to schedule self-care during your day.
During your lunch break, take an invigorating walk outdoors, amongst nature. This not only grants you much-needed fresh air and oxygen for your brain, but it also energizes you. Artificial light and being sedentary all day only lead to heart disease and a host of other health consequences.
Being an entrepreneur can also be extremely lonely and isolating. Consider joining a group of fellow entrepreneurs to swap stories and tips to survive the rollercoaster of running your own enterprise. Also, spend time with friends and family. Remember, if it’s not on the calendar, it does not get done.
When an entrepreneur launches their own business, they will be responsible for wearing many hats, at least in the very beginning. However, in order to grow, this tactic is not conducive to a long-term plan. The fact is, very few are adept at every single aspect of their business. You don’t have to be. It is best to operate in your zone of genius and hire others to do the tasks that are not your strengths. If you are running a solo operation, you can delegate these tasks by outsourcing them to contractors on a per project basis.
Make Self-Care A Priority
Although entrepreneurs must make enormous sacrifices to get their businesses off the ground, it should never be at the cost of their physical and or mental health. Take time to make yourself a priority by scheduling it on your calendar and sticking to it.