Work-life balance is the secret sauce for any entrepreneur who wants to accomplish his business goals. The life of an entrepreneur is indeed challenging and full of impediments with a mix of lows and highs. Moreover, if you have just started, the manpower at your disposal is bound to be low and you might have to multitask in many cases. However, that does not mean you should not prioritize your health, family, and social life.
Setting well-defined boundaries in each of these areas help to release the stress of an individual and keep him fresh and active for the upcoming day and bolster the productivity rate. Moreover, spending time with your friends and family helps to de-stress and momentarily distract you from work-related problems and even come up with solutions to combat the challenges faced in business. Not having a proper work-life balance can jeopardize an entrepreneur’s life and business. Overworking and overstressing oneself due to extreme work pressure can take a toll on mental and physical health.
At the end of the day, we all work to gratify from it. The revenues earned from the business will be dud if you cannot maintain a balance between the two. Putting your work before your family can not only be dissatisfying for you, but also your family. Spending time with your family and keeping aside a bit of ‘me time’ is crucial for having a burgeoning business. Maintaining a balance between life and work will not only keep you, but also your family who craves to spend time with you content. “From a personal lens, I would not have reached this stage in my business if I did not know how to balance my life,” said Raj N, Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and Founder of Zaggle & ZikZuk.
So, how does Raj N manage time between work and home, between personal and professional?
“I am a very family-oriented person, I never mix family plus business lives. Therefore, I have my entire day minutely scheduled which I follow religiously. And it works wonders for me! I never let my work-life seep into my personal life. When I am at home, I put all my attention towards my family. Likewise, during my work hours, my business becomes my top priority. One of the things that I follow is that I never carry my work to my home and vice versa. Well, all the troubles begin when you start doing that. The bottom line is, it is, possible to have a clear balance between the two when you know how and when to prioritize these two areas of your life,” said Raj N.
Not having a proper work-life balance can jeopardize an entrepreneur’s life and business. Extreme work pressure can take a toll on mental and physical health.
Working Long hours
A large amount of time spent at work by an entrepreneur will increase the stress level and harm the health of the workers. According to The Organisation of Economic Cooperation Development (OECD), 11% of employees in the OECD work 50 hours or more per week. Across OECD countries, the average time spent on leisure and personal care by full time entrepreneurs ranges from 14- 16.5 hours per day. Full-time men enjoy 30 minutes more leisure and personal care time relative to women, while the young and old spend 50 and 25 minutes more than the middle-aged, respectively.
Turkey is the country with the highest proportion of people working very long hours, with 33%, followed by Mexico with nearly 29% and Colombia with almost 27% of employees. Overall, more men work very long hours; the percentage of male employees working very long hours across OECD countries is over 15%, compared with about 6% for women.
Work-Life Balance is Crucial for Mental Well-being
It is important to make a balance- for mental and emotional well-being, to keep sanity within oneself. As it is known that if you are healthy inside out, then you have the most important thing in the world, because the greatest wealth is your health. Mental and emotional health impacts your thoughts, belief, behavior and emotions. It affects the way you are thinking, how you act and react in different situations, impacts one’s feelings. It is extremely important to develop the emotional balance so that one is in control of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and behavior and can cope with life’s challenges.
This work-life balance is extremely important to cope with the stresses of life, keep one physically and mentally healthy. If an entrepreneur has good healthy relationships within the family, and community, is socially active, then he or she makes meaningful contributions towards them. One therefore, works productively and realises their full potential.
Managing work and life effectively, efficiently can remove stress from your life and improve the quality of life and work of an entrepreneur. This could mean you have to manage your time, plan your activities, prioritize your life, know what gives you ultimate satisfaction and what doesn’t. Creating that value for your family, clients at equal breath.
Across OECD countries, the average time spent on leisure and personal care by full time entrepreneurs ranges from 14- 16.5 hours per day.
Steps to Achieve the Work-Life Balance
Work Life balance is a necessity for the mental physical well-being for Entrepreneurs. Achieving it might seem a task for the ever-busy entrepreneurs, but it is not unattainable, following are the steps one can take to achieve that balance:
Discipline your day, start early
Begin your day early, successful entrepreneurs start their day around 6 a.m. Raj N’s daily routine is to get up at 5 in the morning, go to the gym for around an hour, spend 20 minutes on meditation, read newspaper, have breakfast with family and then reach office by 10. His day ends at 7 in the evening. “I play badminton with my colleagues till around 8.30 pm and reach home by 9 pm. Post that I have a light dinner and hit bed early.”
Schedule your life
Reserve time for any sort of physical activity of your interest- be it Pilates, yoga, aerobics, gymming, swimming, exercise daily to recharge your batteries. Plan vacations twice a year. Have date nights with friends, family and socially. Schedule it so that you look forward to it and not cancel it for everyone’s disappointment including yourself.
If you want to grow your business, start delegating, increase the capacity, start resourcing, it becomes easier rather than donning many hats. Do not enervate by burdening yourself with too much work.
Do not exceed work hours beyond 48 hours a week. Stick to that, even if you can work beyond that time limit. Studies have stated that Indians are the most overworked and laborious population in the world.
Switch off your smartphone
We can’t live without our smartphones, checking emails before going to bed. Entrepreneurs need to keep cellphones at bay at sleep time. Turning off will be a boon to their morning mood, even if the stock market has had a lousy start. Shut off work from your bedroom and see what wonders it does to your work life. Don’t worry about missing out on work, you are your own boss now, you are anyways in-sync with what’s happening when at work, avoid work FOMO or fear of missing out.
Seek help when burned out
If you feel burned out at home, work, then seek help from life coaches who help coach entrepreneurs to seek a quality work life balance. If you feel demotivated, detached, uncontrollable then you must know it’s time to hire a professional to train your body, mind and soul whatever you seek. Listen to your body and mind, rest them when they need one.
Look at the larger picture
Pandemic brought uncertainty to all lives leaving many entrepreneurs to go kaput. So, in these times it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, feel like a loser at a personal and work level. Just sit back, introspect your life at both levels- personal and professional- and plan for a better work life balance in future.
Declutter your life
For all entrepreneurs, it’s stress that keeps them awake at night and deprives them of getting enough sleep. Often, it’s that the mind just won’t stop talking or taking account of the tasks that need to be done. To counter that, many people journal and clean before bed so their brain is cool, calm, and collected when they hit the sack. Good sleep will set you up for success from the moment you open your eyes. A well-rested mind and body are better equipped to tackle each day. It can be hard to put your rest at a high priority, especially with all the work. But, it will be worth it in the long run. In fact, your body, mind and your business will thank you for it.
A sleep schedule is important to ensure a good night’s sleep and afresh early morning for better ideas to pop up while in the shower. To get started, set an alarm at night for a reminder to get ready for bed and one alarm set to help you awake in the morning.
Switch off during work hours
It could be work as usual to reply to official mails, over the weekend or while kids are playing, and you get some free time to sneak out to shoot that mail. It could be all tempting but they soon develop into habits. Now, this habit is something one needs to get rid off. In order to break away from these habits one has to prioritize work. Firstly, complete the most important tasks at hand during the work hours. Planning one’s day, week, month and year as per your goals that you’ve set to achieve is critical for your business and non-business activities. Having said that, staying focused towards your goals will only help you go with the flow of your plan
You need to be an organised entrepreneur, otherwise it will be difficult to strike that balance between personal and business activities. Motivation is key. Motivate yourself, your folks, family, most importantly your employees to help you work as per the routine, plan you’ve set for yourself. These are the people in your life that revolve around you, so motivating them that achieving your goals will ultimately benefit them in the short and long run will augur well. Motivate your family about a great vacation in the next few months, employees can get bonuses, or raise in the next quarter if the business reaches its goals.
Life coaches who coach entrepreneurs often make it clear that a perfect work-life balance is not achievable for the busy entrepreneur whose mind is focused on achieving profitable targets. But one can still strive to make their personal life happy. Keep the family in the know-how of your daily work. Communicate to them, never keep them in the dark, let them know you putting in hard work and extra work hours will yield a great improved lifestyle for them, a holiday, a gift promised. Keeping them in the loop so that they know what and when to expect. If you are not able to keep that promise this time, make sure you do that next time.