An Outside Perspective
Everyday, there are new articles, videos, and content published on the lives of entrepreneurs in the 21st century. Many focus on the triumphs and tragedies that accompany being an entrepreneurial force within a given industry and we, as the public, are given a particular view of who the entrepreneur may be.
We see, read, and hear that the most successful and ambitious entrepreneurs are working 80 to 100 hours per week barely taking time to eat their meals and spend time with their family. A prime example who continues to come up in the news for his two controversial companies is Elon Musk.
Musk is portrayed as the modern day Iron Man, and rightfully so. He helped found PayPal which was eventually purchased by eBay and now he runs Tesla and SpaceX from two different cities in California.
If one were to simply read and watch the news, they may wonder if entrepreneurs have any sort of work life balance. In this column, I’d like to let you into my entrepreneurial mind and let you know how I currently manage to maintain a healthy work life balance.
So…does the work life balance actually exist?
Simply put, yes. However, it comes at a much different cost than for someone who is working for a company that they do not own. While this is not always the truth, it is common for employees to have the ability to turn off their business mind when they leave their office and return to their home. For entrepreneurs, the lights never turn off unless they make the extra effort to ensure that they do.
The work life balance can exist for an entrepreneur, but only when they are able to mentally commit to it. It takes the will to leave your computer shut, turn your phone off, and switch your mind to think about things that are relevant to your life…not what you are going to be doing tomorrow.
Let’s Take a Look at my Schedule
Being precise with your schedule and developing a routine is key to your work life balance as an entrepreneur. Some of the hardest working and most memorable individuals in history, i.e. Albert Einstein, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Edison, all preached the importance of creating and fulfilling productive habits. It is a goal that I challenge myself to achieve each day…having complete control of your time and using it as productively as possible.
Here is the schedule that I have been maintaining over the past 3 weeks.
6:45 am – Wake, brush teeth, make coffee
7:15 am – Portlight work, emails, meetings
8:15 am – begin eCommetize work, random meetings and phone calls
3:00 pm – begin FreeeUp work
6:00 pm – Exercise
7:00 pm – Make and eat dinner with Lauren
8:00 pm – Plan for the next day, write blog columns, and manage my personal life
9:00 pm – Relax with Lauren
10:30 pm – Read
11:30 pm – Go to sleep
I follow this as closely as possible during the 5 days of the week. On Saturdays and Sundays, I spend more time enjoying life than work, but I do tend to find 2 to 4 hours where I am working in some fashion on one of my endeavors.
How I Maintain a Work Life Balance
I find that one of the best ways to process difficult subjects or problems that were created during the work day is to go for a nice run. I pop in my headphones, put on some music, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Running allows me to relax my mind and focus on using my physical body. Also help you have a good sleeping to keep away from hair loss issue. Feeling exhausted after a long run is one of the best ways to keep work off of my mind.
Scheduling blocks of relaxation
As you saw in my schedule, I actually schedule time in my day and on the weekends where my goal is to relax. I find it extremely important to appreciate the time that you have to enjoy being with your loved ones. No matter how busy work is, I always find blocks of time where I am solely focused on being with others.
One of the things that I love most in life is learning. When I’m reading a new book and learning exciting facts about new places, new people, of new technology, I’m amped up. I offset the times where I am reading and editing new documents for my businesses with reading biographies about the amazing people that have lived before us.
Ignoring emails until later
This one can be difficult with the level of technology that we have at our fingertips, but I make a special note to do this for certain periods of the day after the normal work day has finished. I find it important to develop this habit so that you can really enjoy the time you’ve scheduled to relax. The worst thing that can happen is you check your email really quick and find out about something that happened that requires your attention.
For most of my life, I have always been intrigued by visiting new places, learning about new cultures, and experiencing new traditions. My girlfriend and I both enjoy traveling together and it’s a perfect time to step away from all of the crazyness that normally ensues our lives. I even find traveling to be a time when I come up with my greatest ideas because I am not trying as hard as I normally would.
Taking breaks when needed
Finally, I keep a close track of my sanity while living my routine. After 2 or 3 months of the schedule that I described above, I’m about ready have an escape where I can use my mind in different ways. Going off of the previous bullet point, I like to schedule mini vacations where I can travel, read, think, write, and refresh my brain. It’s makes a serious difference when you replenish 4 or 5 times throughout the year.
The Irony of the Work Life Balance
After writing a column in response to the question, “does a work life balance exist for entrepreneurs?”, I realized that it’s actually quite ironic. Let me explain.
Most entrepreneurs are searching to solve a problem in an industry that they are extremely passionate about. When they think about work and life, they tend to associate the two so closely to each other that there is almost no difference. In fact, I would make the argument that most entrepreneurs would agree that after a certain period of time, what they’re doing everyday actually becomes their life’s work.
Do you see where I’m going with this? A work life balance does indeed exist for entrepreneurs as long as they are working on building their company because, to them, work = life.