Work-Life Balance Is Simple. To Succeed at Work, Get a Life.

With the right balance of health and business, entrepreneurs can maximize productivity.

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By Brendan M. Egan

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently conducted a study to determine which countries offered workers the best work-life balance. Researchers considered a number of factors when compiling the list, including average working hours, personal time and the employment rate of working mothers. In the end, the Netherlands came out on top with 9.3 score while the United States was one of the countries that offered employees the worst work-life balance.

Failing to find a balance between work and your personal life could put your health in jeopardy. In fact, numerous studies have shown that people who work long hours and leave little time for themselves have a 33 percent greater risk of stroke and a 13 percent greater risk of heart disease. Fortunately, there are ways to balance your personal life and business in order to protect your health.

Related: Is Work-Life Balance Even Possible?

Follow these life-changing tips:

1. Cut out low-value activities.

Many entrepreneurs are working longer hours than they should be simply because they are wasting time on low-value activities. Find out if this is your problem by keeping track of every minute of your time for a few days. Then, review your time sheet to identify low-value or no-value activities.

Eliminate distracting activities such as visiting social media sites or taking personal calls. These activities may only take a few minutes, but these minutes can quickly add up. You should also determine if you are wasting too much time on low-value activities that could be outsourced. For example, if you are wasting an hour a week on shopping for groceries, it may be best to outsource this activity to a grocery delivery service.

Making the most out of every minute in your schedule is the key to finding a balance between work and your personal life. By cutting out low-value activities such as distractions and errands, you may be able to work shorter hours and take care of yourself.

2. Schedule recurring social activities.

Studies have shown that having an active social life is crucial to your health. People who isolate themselves from others could increase their risk of death by about 50 percent. But, it can be difficult to make time for social activities while you are trying to grow your business. One way to overcome this obstacle is to schedule recurring social activities with your closest friends.

Related: 35 Successful Entrepreneurs Share What Work-Life Balance Means to Them

For example, plan on having a monthly dinner with a group of your closest friends. Put this monthly activity on your calendar in advance. Now, you can plan your work schedule around your social calendar instead of the other way around. This strategy is effective because it forces you to carve out time to unwind and have fun with your friends. Think of the recurring social activity as a meeting with an important client that you cannot cancel regardless of how swamped with work you may be.

3. Learn healthy ways to cope with stress.

Being an entrepreneur is stressful. It doesn't matter how many low-value activities you eliminate from your schedule or how often you see your friends -- you can't escape stress. Chronic stress can negatively impact your mind and body, leading to dangerous health conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. But, this doesn't mean that being under stress is a surefire way of shortening your life. The key to finding the balance between work and health is learning how to cope with stress.

Get in the habit of stepping away from the stressful situation for a few moments to calm down and collect your thoughts. For example, let's say a client sends an email demanding a nearly impossible turnaround time. If you feel your heart start to pound and your blood pressure rise, step away from the computer. Spend a few minutes walking outside to slow down the thoughts racing through your mind. Taking a walk outdoors -- even if it is just for a few minutes -- can reduce stress and calm the mind.

Dr. Michael Galitzer, a best-selling author and medical doctor, recommends entrepreneurs practice deep breathing to help relieve stress. Put one hand on your stomach and another on your chest. Begin to breathe in deeply from the abdomen to fill your lungs with your air. As you slowly inhale and exhale, focus on the rise and fall of your abdomen. This will take your mind off of the stressful situation and make it easier to quickly calm down. Inhale to the count of four, hold it for four seconds, then exhale to the count of four. Using one of these coping methods can clear your mind so you are more prepared to handle the stressful situation.

Related: 4 Strategies to Survive the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster

As an entrepreneur, you are probably not used to putting yourself first. But, it's important to understand that putting yourself first does not mean neglecting your business. By following these tips, you can finally find the perfect balance between your work and health and succeed more than ever in the business world.

Brendan M. Egan

Founder & CEO of Simple SEO Group

Brendan Egan is an entrepreneur involved in more than a dozen startup companies. His primary focus is running Simple SEO Group, a digital marketing and web development company he founded nearly a decade ago. He published his first book, "101 Tips From The Marketing Masters," in early 2020.

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