When you are a budding entrepreneur or the CEO of a startup, work tends to take precedence over everything else in your life. Your drive to ensure your company’s growth and success pushes you to work overtime and put personal hobbies and relationships on the back burner. After all, being a leader can be tough. Does that make the concept of work-life balance a myth or reality in our age of corporate hustling? Let us find out.
What is work-life balance? It refers to the ability to adjust your work life and personal life to correlate with each other in harmony. A few entrepreneurs believe that there is no such thing as a work-life balance, as the needs of your company always come first. Of course, the vast majority disagree and state that while achieving this balance can be difficult at first, it is certainly not impossible.
As an entrepreneur, everything you do centres around the well-being of your company, but is a lack of work-life balance beneficial for the same? According to several entrepreneurs and research published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and the European Heart Journal, working overtime can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health. It also causes creative burnout and impedes your ability to be productive in the long run.
Here are a few tips on how you can turn the seemingly impossible work-life balance into a reality for yourself:
- Set Boundaries
Creating fixed work timings helps ensure that you don’t have to bring your work home with you. Switching off your work phone after office hours gives you the much-needed opportunity to rejuvenate and unwind. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella always turns off his phone during his daughter’s lacrosse game and ensures he has a good work-life balance.
Another important step to enforce your boundaries is to learn how to say no and put your foot down about certain things. Don’t take on more work than you can handle and don’t repeatedly work during holidays or the weekend. During your occasional work emergencies, it might be tough to adhere to the boundaries and schedule that you have set up for yourself, but it is important to know the difference between an actual work emergency and something that just seems like an emergency.
2. Create Work Goals
The best way to create an effective work-life balance is by optimizing your working hours. Break up your to-do list into sections and prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. Schedule the most important and time-consuming work during the hours when you feel most productive.
John Doherty, Founder and CEO of Credo, tracks his time and productivity to ensure that he makes the most of his office hours. Cut out tasks that have no value and take up extra time and most importantly, be realistic about your abilities and outsource extra work to your employees.
3. Take A Break
The moment your productivity reduces so does the calibre of your work and thereby the quality of your company. According to research conducted by CEO and author Kevin Kruse, studies have shown that the speed of your thinking slows down when you are tired and overworked.
The best way to avoid this is by scheduling a mini-vacation at regular intervals and getting your vital 7 hours of sleep per night. Blocking personal time on your calendar for something as simple as lunch out with your family and friends, or even taking a break to go for a walk in the park or to a cafe for a cup of joe, is a great way to recharge your energy and productivity.
There is nothing more rewarding than being your own boss and spending every day doing something you love. That being said, it is essential for leaders to be mindful and master the skills of time management. Setting up and maintaining a new work-life balance can be frustrating at first, but finding the harmony between both will help you become a better leader.