Being an entrepreneur is challenging. It may seem tempting to work all hours of the day to get as much as possible done. You should, nevertheless, stop to have a break and enjoy a little free time too. Failing to do this could negatively impact your mental and physical health. It also negatively affects your productivity and, ultimately, your quality of work. Let’s explore five ways you can find a healthy work-life balance that will help you develop a sustainable long-term work ethic.
Before we begin, are you in need of a little inspiration? Check out our previous article in which a Maltese entrepreneur gives advice to his younger self.
1. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ and get space from work.
Being available 24/7 may initially give off the impression that you care deeply about your business and deadlines. The reality is that it can have a seriously negative impact on your work-life balance.
If you’re constantly available on your mobile phone or laptop, you run the risk of being overloaded with messages from your employees. They may see you as being responsive and available to help them with urgent tasks they have mismanaged.
If you tend to say ‘yes’ to extra tasks without really thinking, you might come to regret it. Learn to give yourself time to think about a response. This can happen frequently when you are running your own business, as you may feel it’s your responsibility to fix all the problems yourself.
Consider empowering your workforce to take less important decisions. Alternatively, appoint a dedicated line manager to deal with their problems, while you take the time off you deserve.
Pro tip: Uninstall all work-related chat applications from your mobile device. In this way, you will regain control over your own time. Your team and clients will become less tempted to email or message you outside of normal hours.
2. Leave work where it belongs: at work.
At the end of your working day, it’s good practice to make a to-do list in preparation for the following day. This is done by many successful entrepreneurs, such as Kenneth Chenault from American Express. Then, turn off the PC, shut your diary and leave your work behind for the evening. Complete your list as soon as possible, so that you can afford to have some well-earned downtime.
The end of the day closure is important to all entrepreneurs. You need to find peace after completing a working day, rather than allowing your mind to be occupied by work-related thoughts. Remember that you are in control of your time outside of work. You need to relax and unwind in the evening to return refreshed and ready to start again the next day.
3. Let your email inbox fill up
Inboxes are there to be filled. You don’t need to treat your emails like they are some kind of RSS news feed. Feel free to check them at intervals throughout the day. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon will suffice.
The average worker checks their emails a staggering 36 times an hour, and it takes them up to 16 minutes to refocus after sending a reply. During your work day, this can be a real time drainer. This causes you to have less time to dedicate to the leisure time in your work-life balance.
Be assertive. Inform your colleagues that you check your emails two to three times a day maximum. They should, therefore, expect a short delay in receiving a reply. After all, if anything is really urgent, they can approach you at your office. During the rest of the day sit back, focus on your tasks and observe how much more productive, rather than busy, you are throughout the day.
4. Take a digital holiday.
A digital holiday, or digital detox, involves taking a break from all devices, computers and social media networks for a set duration of time. This allows you to get some headspace and get back to nature for a holiday or extended weekend.
Digital holidays are proven to improve mental health. They also enable people to build better physical human relationships, increase productivity, and even improve posture. They are a must to achieve a great work-life balance.
You don’t even need to leave your country to have a digital holiday. If your job doesn’t involve technology, you can still inform your friends that you will be off the grid for a week or so, and turn your devices off. Be sure to inform your friends of your plans to avoid any concern.
5. Consider working from home.
Are you, like millions of others out there, considering ditching the rat race altogether to work alone? There are many options available to you that would offer greater flexibility to your life. Whether you’re interested in selling goods or providing professional services online, there is no reason to be stuck in an office.
You could even make your own online store and use it as a platform to showcase what you have to offer. ECommerce businesses are ideal for the balanced entrepreneur. You can automate and outsource a lot of the work using clever tools and apps.
Before you take the drastic step of quitting your job to take your entrepreneurial talents into your own hands, you should take this quiz to see if you’re cut out for remote work before you take the plunge.
While being an entrepreneur is challenging, it can also be very rewarding when you get the work-life balance just right. These tips should put you on the right path to getting a healthy distance from your work. This will provide you with sustainable, long-term, mental and physical health. Don’t forget to take time for yourself to pursue hobbies and exercise. After all, we are more than our careers.