Nobody looks back on their life and thinks they should have spent more time working.
In a sense, this is true. But then again most people are looking back on a life of working for others on projects they aren’t passionate about.
As an entrepreneur, you are not most people. You’re choosing to put your efforts and talents into ventures that fire you up. You’re realizing ideas that excite your mind and your heart. Entrepreneurship is not traditional work. Yet you should still make time for a life.
Here are some basic ways to find more space in that big-entrepreneurial heart of yours:
Set a date. Put aside time for your family, your friends, your community, a love interest and, perhaps most importantly, yourself. If your business ideas are closely correlated with your personal passions, that’s fantastic. But you still have to work to allocate periods for socialization. You owe it to yourself, the people around you and even your business.
Get out of your comfort zone. It’s simple to separate your work life from your personal life when you have a job. You punch out, go to the local bar, chat with friends, watch the game, whatever strikes your fancy. But when you’re working for yourself, it’s another story. There is no “off” switch.
Still, even if you can’t turn off completely, you’re going to have to find a way to at least enter “sleep” mode. After all, you’ll find that time away from your business can help you detach -- and refresh -- personally and professionally.
Consider the example of a professional basketball player practicing free throws. Maybe an extra hour a day before and after practice will put him on top of his game. But practicing excessively will result in training when he’s too tired, not focused and not able to maintain proper form. Similarly, over-working on your business is counterproductive to your cause. If you’re working when you’re too stressed, exhausted or out of form, you’re not performing optimally -- and you’re probably doing your business a disservice.
Stay in touch. Constantly canceling plans to work on your business? Of course, people around you will annoyed. Most people simply don’t know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. They haven’t made that leap. They don’t appreciate the initial sacrifice, the financial insecurity that often accompanies startups, the anxiety and even fear that starting a business may bring.
But don’t get angry. Do you best to articulate your position and understand theirs. Make time when you can and do your best to keep your personal appointments. You may find yourself hanging out with more and more entrepreneurs with whom you share a like mind. This is great. New people and new experiences are an essential part of life. But don’t forget about your old friends and where you came from.
Make a commitment. Finding time to date can be particularly frustrating as a young entrepreneur. You can’t jump full bore into a new relationship and partake in a whirlwind romance. Even worse, if you already have a partner, they may start to feel neglected and unappreciated by all the time you spend on work. Once again, the key is open communication. Let people know you care and set aside time for them. Schedule your personal life with the same importance as your business life. After all, in the long run, it’s just as valuable.
How do you balance a personal life with running your business? Let us know with a comment.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.