Work-Life Balance: 6 Tips for Entrepreneurs
Are you an entrepreneur struggling to find work-life balance?
Do you feel like sometimes your day-time brain gets stuck in a tug-of-war match?
Does your attention get yanked back and forth between computer time and playtime, leaving you a little frazzled and pondering where your focus needs to be?
On one hand, you know you could be typing away at your desk, wrapping up a new lead-gen piece, or polishing your latest blog post.
But, the weather is beautiful and flip flops are calling your name.
It’s the energy drain that happens when your otherwise productive mind-muscles are spent juggling what you should be doing and what you want to do.
Bouncing between tasks slurps down your mental juice, and your physical energy, too.
And that hungry distraction monster leaves you accomplishing less, while you feed it more of your valuable time.
I get it, I’m naturally prone to feeding my distraction monster. I call it “squirrel brain.”
This means I can be flexible, creative, and improvise when needed.
But – the downside is my squirrel brain makes it hard to sit down with a project for long. And sometimes, that’s what’s needed to fully enjoy my off-time too.
An entrepreneur’s mindset shift for work-life balance
So…how to avoid wander-brain when working at home?
I use a handful of time management techniques throughout my day.
These are exponentially more important for me as an entrepreneur and a divorced mom.
Don’t let the work-life balance get you down!
Instead, embrace time-management and make it your best friend.
Here is my list of recommendations for focusing on what matters in the moment, and getting the most from a masterful and purposeful work-life balance.
My 6 Tips for Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs
1. Define your work hours
Choose when and where you’ll work from home, and when you’ll hop into “life” mode.
I recommend setting hard-stops for the work day, no matter what you’re working on. When the timer goes off, you’re done. That’s it.
Communicate these office hours to your team and/or clients, so they can know when to expect responses from you.
When you answer emails at 11pm, you set a precedent for being available during that time.
If you want to keep your working hours to 8-4pm, stick to it. If you want to dedicate 5-10pm as family time, stick to that, too.
2. Build in cushion times
Remember that there will also be times when you’re simply needed elsewhere. Or you need to feed your distraction monster in order for it to go away.
Build-in cushions of “free time” for the extras: email catch-up, cleaning your office, creative time, Instagram scrolling, playing with your kids, etc.
These cushions can be in the form of days (“Friday is catch up day”), or hours in the workday (“4-5 pm is wrap up time”).
Build in your flexibility, so that you’re not trying to juggle it all day.
Give it a home. Give it a time slot.
3. Be “in-destractible”
Become X-Men’s Cyclops and use your laser-focus.
Choose one thing to work on at a time. That’s it.
Start by making a list of your priorities for the day.
Then pick your top 2-3 and set aside chunks of time during which you will do NOTHING except give that priority your attention. Maybe it’s 30 minutes, maybe an hour.
Complete that one, single task during the chunk of time. Do nothing else until you’ve finished.
No Facebooking. No scrolling. No emails.
4. Let go of the fear that you will fail
Obsessively checking your email for the next lead/inquiry/etc. is a huge suck of time.
Have faith in your marketing systems. Give yourself credit for creating automations that are working as they should.
Stop worrying about things out of your control. Keep your fear alligator in check.
And give yourself a pat on the back for finishing tasks on your to-do list. Celebrate small victories, and let them propel you to the next thing on your to-do list.
Hold that fear-paralysis at bay, and keep the all-day-long, worry-induced check-ins to a minimum.
5. Schedule personal activities
Just like scheduling your work hours, make time for non-work events.
Maybe it’s moving your body in some way, stretching, picnicking with kids, catching up with your partner…
These activities deserve to be just as much (if not more) a part of your calendar.
Work-life balance means setting aside time for BOTH.
There’s plenty of research that shows your brain functions better when you’ve spent time giving your body exercise and rest.
So plug some down-time into your calendar, and stick to it.
6. Remember your “Why”
Remember why you’re an entrepreneur in the first place.
Maybe you do it to feed your passion. You do it to help people. You do it because it helps you live the lifestyle you want.
Write your “why” on a sticky note, and put it on your computer/desk/calendar/window.
Or set a daily reminder pop-up on your phone.
Include a motivational message to get you going again.
When your mind is playing tug-of-war, your “why” will help you reestablish your set point.
It will get you out of the manic email-checking-and-staring-out-the-window mode, and back into “let’s do this the right way” mode.
Entrepreneur: make work-life balance a priority
Take care of YOU. After all, you are your business #1 asset.
Get some sleep. Eat well.
Do something that delights you.
Come back fresh.
Get your work-life balance in check.
You can’t deliver to your clients or customers when you’re drained, so use your time-management skills to conserve (and bolster) your prized energy.
Avoid the burn out that so many WFH people are experiencing.
Remember your “why.”
Finish a project, and move on.
Schedule in fun.
And remember to make time for the “life” part of work-life balance.