Finding time to sit down with your family for dinner at the best of times can be hard to do. There are deadlines to meet, customers to satisfy, and the all-mighty dollar to chase. But does that mean we cannot do it?
Entrepreneurs can, and will, work hard to build their businesses. They will struggle and succeed to build the business of their dreams. But at what cost to themselves, their families, or their health? I'm not saying that you need to only build the business in a 30-hour work week, but finding time for yourself will only benefit you in the long run.
Here are five tips to help you find that balance each day:
1. "No" is not a four-letter word
It's a hard concept to grasp, but it is okay to say "no" to a customer. It's perfectly acceptable to say "no" to a request from a colleague. There are only 24 hours in a day. And the world is not going to stand still because you chose to focus on what is important to you.
It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to overextend themselves. I'm sure everyone can say they have done this at one time or another. Unfortunately, this creates a stressful environment that is not conducive to being healthy if we continue to do so for any length of time. Learning to say no, and not have the guilt of doing so, will be a great starting point.
2. Exercise, meditation, and 5-minute breathers
Focusing half of each day on yourself allows you to find your inner self. Responsibilities are a constant part of the day-to-day life of an entrepreneur. We have employees to monitor, deadlines to meet, a house to build, or a report that needs to be on someone's desk by 5 p.m. Allowing the anxiety to build about dwelling on these tasks doesn't create a focused environment. By taking half of each day to walk your children to school, meditate, or even find that cuppa at the local coffee bar, allows us to re-energize.
3. Streamline your environment using apps
Finding applications that make mundane tasks easier to complete can help to free up some valuable time in our day. By using applications, such as Calendly, to set up customer's appointments, it not only stops the "back and forth" in the conversation, but also allows your customer to choose a time that fits in the schedule that you have created as your working hours.
Another favorite of mine is Evernote. As an entrepreneur, we get these ideas that fly in and out of our heads. Getting them down on paper or post-it notes can only go so far. Evernote syncs across all electronic tools that we use in our day-to-day lives. Jotting down a note on your phone will sync to your laptop or your iPad. It's a great way to keep yourself organized.
4. Find one thing in life you can get excited about
Take time to sit down and envision where it is that you want to be in five, 10, or even 20 years from now. What are you hoping to achieve? What do you want in your personal/work life? Do you want to run a marathon? Is your business the next "Starbucks?" Knowing what you want for the future will help you shape your "here and now." For example, your goal is to run a marathon in the next year or two. This takes hours of training, and you need to build that into your day-to-day life. You also have found something that you are passionate about and you can look forward to each day, with a new passionate outlook.
5. Build a team you can count on
You are not an island in a vast ocean. Entrepreneurs tend to do everything, especially if you are running a business on your own. Enlist the help of family, hire an employee or sub-contract certain tasks of your day to lessen the burden on yourself. Having the right people on your team will allow you to delegate. Of course, building this team will take time, but once they are in place, your office will be more relaxed because you will be less stressed out.
Finding equilibrium between our business passion and our life is a never-ending balancing act. Some days, we will get it right. Other days, not so much. But, if you can lay your head down at night and feel that you have done your best at achieving your goals, then you are getting to where you need to be.