Entrepreneurs sacrifice a lot for their businesses. Money, time, social life --all of these tend to go out the window. What I didn’t expect to lose, however, were my weekends.
Business owners don’t procrastinate; we are constantly firing on all cylinders. I thought I’d get my work done during the week, and then I’d have my two days off. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and after my third or fourth lost Saturday, I had to ask myself why this was happening. Why does running a business necessitate losing your weekends? And I found out that it doesn’t have to. I just had to change the way I work.
Delegate throughout the week.
I typically start my weeks with a set to-do list and, as the days tick by, tasks get added to that list. That’s perfectly fine, as long as my original to-do list gets done. But, as most business owners will attest, urgent meetings and jobs take us away from that list. I would end up adding so much to it that my weekends ended up being catch-up days. Delegation solved that.
I have an amazing team that I trust implicitly. I simply had to learn to use them more effectively. When something urgent pops up, ask yourself if you have time to take care of it, and if someone else could possibly handle it for you. There are going to be problems that only you can solve, but most of the time another member of your management staff is more than capable of dealing with whatever issues crop up, allowing you to focus on the work that needs to be done.
Don’t just waste your weekend vegging.
Nearly every business owner I know is constantly on the move. We spend our careers juggling a ton of work, and most of us are most comfortable when we are active. So if you spend your weekend vegging in front of the TV, you’ll feel unproductive.
Related: The Benefits of Taking a Break
I have found that if I spent my weekends lying on the couch or staring at the TV, I felt this tingling restlessness build up. And then, before I knew it, I was thinking of all the work I still had to do and I was right back in my office. Re-claiming your weekends doesn’t mean doing nothing, it just means focusing on the parts of your life that aren’t related to your career.
Plan "weekend appointments."
I know how weird that sounds, but trust me, planning your weekend around ‘appointments’ lets you ease into change. Figure out a few things that you want to do. Want to visit the in-laws? Go hiking? Take your kids to the park? Awesome—give them a slot in your schedule like you would with any other appointment. You shouldn’t plan every hour of every day like this, but prioritizing larger, recreational activities will ensure that, even if you do have to do some work on the weekend, you’ll still have some of your weekend to relax. And as time goes on, you’ll be more comfortable pursuing recreation over work.
Before I took over MyCorp, I never imagined that I’d have to re-learn how to spend my weekends. But running a business is full of surprises, and that was just one of them. I quickly found that, without some downtime, I was really burning out. Detaching yourself from your business can be rough, but working straight through the week without any time to unwind or relax is not healthy. Look at your weekends and see if you’re happy with how you spend them. If not, then maybe a change is in order.