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As a small business owner, is your company your biggest passion, making it really tempting to work nearly around the clock and let everything else in your life slide? If you answered yes, you’re not alone.
In a survey by Forbes.com, a number of successful entrepreneurs were asked how many hours they worked per week. Not one respondent said less than 50. Most hovered closer to 70 or 80 hours with a few 100s thrown in by the hardcore workaholics.
But that’s what you have to do to win, right? In the short term, yes. It’s the best way to get things moving. But in the long run, it can actually create the opposite effect, damaging your company, your team and your family. So how do you prevent burnout when there is so much that needs to be done? Here are three ways to bring some balance into your life.
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1. Get Intentional and Get on the Calendar
A balanced life doesn’t occur randomly. You have to be intentional about it, setting goals in all areas—career, financial, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family and social. Dave believes it is so important, he has included it as a major part of a lesson at each EntreLeadership Master Series.
“So many people work crazy hours, ignore their family, and before they know it, their spouse and kids are gone,” Dave says. “Sharon and I manage our lives very clearly by a calendar and intentionally make time for each other and our family. We put down Dave and Sharon date nights, getaways and family vacations.”
2. Hire Help
It’s a fact. Even Superman with all of his super powers couldn’t accomplish all he set out to do. And he never had to wait in traffic or make a payroll. To be able to successfully juggle all the demands life throws your way, you have to prioritize and let go of the unimportant. At home, are there errands that you can hire someone to do? At work, can you delegate some tasks or outsource projects? Hiring an assistant, who can do some administrative work and organize your schedule, can also lead to huge jumps in productivity, allowing you to leave work at a reasonable hour.
That’s exactly what leadership expert and best-selling author Lisa Earle McLeod did. As her mother lay dying, she told Lisa her biggest regret was trying to do everything on her own. It was advice Lisa took to heart.
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“I decided to hire out the smaller tasks so that I could focus on what really mattered,” Lisa says. “I paid someone else to do my website so that I could focus on business development, and I hired a cleaning person so I could spend time with my kids.”
3. Keep in Shape
It might seem odd to recommend spending time at the gym, running, hiking or other activities as a way to save time, but we are doing just that. Why? Because exercise boosts your energy level and helps you stay healthy and focused, which leads to better productivity at work and at home.
Daniel Tardy, vice president of EntreLeadership, is a huge proponent of working out. But with a wife and two children under five, it’s sometimes tough to fit it into his schedule. So he gets up at 5 a.m. to complete his workout before an eye opens.
“It just makes me feel better and keep my focus throughout the day,” he says. “And it’s not taking time away from my wife, kids or work. I also process a lot of leadership challenges early in the morning. After 30 miles on the bike, I’m not only one step closer to my physical goals but also my mind is clear and ready to get to work.”
Trying to maintain a work-life balance can be like walking on a tightrope, where at any moment you need to lean one way or the other to maintain. There will be days that are work heavy and others that are primarily family. But if you keep them equal in the long run, you won’t fall. Everyone will be happier, and your business and life will reap the rewards.