This article was written by Anthony Centore PhD, and Taylor Bennett of Thriveworks Counseling.
Starting a new business is exciting. It’s a creative process. You’re inventing something new! You determine what it’s going to look like and feel like; how it’s going to be different from others in the industry. You choose what services your business will and won’t offer. You write down a core mission and company values. You decide on a name, a logo, furniture style, and so much more. And then, after not too long, you realize that your creation is complete. Now, instead of inventing it, you need to run it. And this, for many entrepreneurs, is where the fun stops.
This is the part of the story where many entrepreneurs decide, “I’ll hire an office manager” or “director” or even better, that they will somehow automate the running of their business. I’m here today with bad news: These approaches rarely work. It’s extremely difficult to find a person, or even a team of people, who can execute your vision, or even run your business day-to-day without significant oversight from the owner/founder. There is one major reason for this: Obsessive caring. It is almost impossible to find someone who will run your business with as much dedication, persistence, and care as you. Blood, sweat, and tears are reserved for founders. That said, it’s extremely important to take time for yourself and maintain a healthy work-life balance. The longevity of your health as well as your new business depend on it. And while a healthy work-life balance means something different to everyone, there are a few keys to mastering this lifestyle.
According to Licensed Psychologist Dr. Jesse Matthews, properly juggling work and your personal life means planning ahead, prioritizing, and setting boundaries: “To have a good work-life balance, you need to remember these things, or else you will be flying by the seat of your pants, feeling unproductive, feeling like you can’t keep up, and ultimately you will become unhappy,” he says. Matthews broke these larger categories down into more specific to-dos, which will help you find that sweet spot. Now, all you have to do is put them to good use:
Matthews’ first tip is to disconnect from the virtual work world as soon as you get home. “Put your phone away when you get home from work and put it on do not disturb if possible,” he says. “Try to be present for your family and allow yourself to disengage from work or to enjoy your personal time.”
- Be efficient.
Make your hours at work count. Be productive and manage your time well. “Do your best to be efficient at work, minimizing how much work you might have to take home—because sometimes work being brought home is avoidable,” says Matthews.
- Establish boundaries.
It also helps to openly communicate about necessary boundaries. This way, “they will be more likely to respect your personal time,” according to Matthews. Remember, they’re people too—they have a life outside of work just like you.
- Plan ahead.
If you have a particularly heavy workload and know it will require some extra hours in the coming days or weeks, then outline a plan. “Plan when you can do work at home and it will cause the least amount of disruption. Plan your work day so you can be more productive. Plan your week or month to whatever extent you can, which may allow you to work more efficiently and to get more done,” Matthews says.
- Prioritize personal time.
Remember that work is not the only important thing in your life, and it should not be your only priority. In fact, there are at least a few other things you should put first: your loved ones. “Schedule time for you, your children, your partner, or with friends or other family. If you do this, you’re making it a priority, and are less likely to let things like work interfere,” Matthews explains.
- Give and take.
And finally, make up for the extra hours you put in at work as well as the ones you spend at home. “If you worked late last night, try not to tonight,” Matthews says. “And vice versa, if you blew off work last night to binge watch a show with your wife, tell her you must get some work done tonight. We need to set boundaries with our loved ones too.”