There is a common notion that entrepreneurs are restless and fun-less people -- mainly because they spend all their time building their brand and business. The life of a typical entrepreneur is quite hectic and a bit scary as the urge to work around the clock is inherent.
Most entrepreneurs believe that being a business owner is equivalent to being a workaholic. They feel the only thing that deserves their time is their business. To that end, they seldom have time to relax and have fun. But smart entrepreneurs understand that time should be set aside for fun and recreation. It should not be about work all the time. Growing up, I committed this cliché to memory -- “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” With time, I realized that it also makes Jack a sick boy. As an entrepreneur, continuing on this path will be doing a great disservice to your life expectancy.
I have been an entrepreneur for quite a while, and I have had to learn from other smart entrepreneurs that it is not about work all the time. As a matter of fact, one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, said, “If you’re spending most of your life at work, it should not be a chore, and it should be fun.”
He strongly recommends that entrepreneurs find time to have a life outside their work or businesses. He even suggests that a sense of play should be imbibed in the workplace, even though it should not be overt to avoid loss of focus on the goal. Entrepreneurs should really have a fun-filled life and approach to what they do.
I want to share a few things that I believe will make you a fun loving, unstressed and productive entrepreneur.
1. Make your work a part of your life.
It is important that as an entrepreneur you understand that you work to live -- you do not live for work alone. Your work is a part of your life -- not your life. So as an entrepreneur, you need to make conscious effort to have a great life that your work will seamlessly integrate into. Your life must not be about work all the time.
Find a way to separate work life from your personal life. Make a conscious effort to keep doing this until it becomes a part of you. This will help you function properly so that no aspects of your life will suffer as a result of another.
2. Manage expectations.
Of course by now, you know there are expectations of you. These expectations are not only from clients; they are expectations from your family, friends and most importantly, yourself. Yes, yourself! If you make it about clients alone, you will have a lopsided life. I am not saying that client expectations should not be taken seriously, but your life is not only about them.
Clients often forget that you are a human being, just like them. Remind them. It is important to let your friends and family understand your goals and aspirations as well. It will help them understand when you aren't around. It can also make them feel less neglected and can lead to better time spent outside of work. Most importantly, you need to manage your personal expectations. Too often we think we can fill our buckets without anything splashing over the sides, which is just not possible.
It is necessary to understand what you can do in a day and what is unreasonable to expect from yourself. It will make you more productive, relaxed and less stressed.
3. Get a not-so-work-related hobby.
It is important to have hobbies that you find relaxing and that make your downtime entertaining and fun. While putting your nose to the figurative grindstone is necessary, I would strongly recommend that you still make time for your hobbies.
Not only is “all work and no play” incredibly draining, but it does not allow for much creativity, which is essential when it comes to smart and exceptional entrepreneurship. I like to take time off my tight schedule to play games and do some exercise. I am a soccer fan, and I take out time occasionally to play a game of soccer with friends. I am also subscribed to virtual game sites. When I’m not playing games, I’m riding my Vortex Spin Bike. My hobbies might sound weird to you, but that's what keeps me sane most times.
4. Deliberately take vacations.
Vacations have been proven to be a great avenue for re-invigoration, re-strategizing and creativity. A change from your usual work environment gives you the opportunity to see things differently and better.
I deliberately force myself to take a one week vacation once every two months. During that week, I automate every aspect of my business, travel to someplace new, and for a while, I will literally forget I'm an entreprenuer. I tell you, this helps me relax, and it definitely lowers stress.