Everyone who’s ever been involved in a business startup will recognise the compulsion to work long hours – in fact, becoming a workaholic seems par for the course when you’re an entrepreneur. But while you do need to devote time and energy to your new venture, it’s also important to take a step back now and again and take stock of your work life balance.
It’s not just about building in some all-important leisure time – which is essential for recharging the batteries – but also about replenishing your supplies of creativity and motivation. So what’s the best way to schedule some down time without losing focus on your business?
1. Keep a cool head
If you don’t allow your brain to ‘power down’ from time to time, you won’t be able to tap into its potential for creative problem solving. Good ideas often pop up when we’re relaxing, so make sure you give your brain a bit of space to wander.
2. Go with the flow
You may be an early riser or a night owl – we all perform better at different times of the day and there’s little point trying to change your own pattern. Instead, focus your energies when you’re most productive and you’ll see better results.
3. Keep stress in check
Some stress delivers positive results; we can all achieve more when a deadline looms, for instance. But living with long-term stress can be disastrous for our health and well-being, putting us at risk of stroke and heart failure. Learn to spot the signs and listen to others if they’re telling you to slow down.
4. Learn to delegate
No-one’s expecting you to be superman/woman. Take time to find the right people, then delegate work and leave them to get on with it. If you spend all your time looking over people’s shoulders, you may as well still be doing the job yourself so step back and give others the chance to shine.
5. Take time off
Holidays exist for a reason. You – and your staff – deserve to get away and put all thoughts of the business out of mind for a week or two. A satisfying break can have a positive effect on your mind and body, so you’ll return fresh and ready for new challenges.
6. Stay healthy
When you’re busy, it’s tempting to spend long hours in the office and grab fast food when you’re hungry. If you do, you won’t be operating at optimum efficiency and your health will suffer. Eat sensibly, exercise as often as you can – even if it’s walking to work and back – and get enough sleep.
7. Power down
Try to build in some work-free zones every day. If you really can’t go for long periods without checking email, set aside some fixed times for logging on and leave some time to enjoy a meal or watch a film without work intruding.
It’s important to remember why you started your business in the first place so you don’t lose sight of your goals along the way. Work shouldn’t be an end in itself and spending too much time at the helm of your ship could spell disaster for your personal life. Get the balance right and you’ll not only have a great business but you’ll have the good health and time to enjoy life to the full.
- How to get your work-life balance right in 2015
- Q&A roundup: How business owners can achieve work-life balance