Your business is important to you. It takes tremendous initiative, determination, persistence, and heart to even get started as an entrepreneur. It only makes sense that you will give a lot of effort and time to help your business succeed. You care about your clients and a job well done. Sometimes, though, you may forget to care for yourself. Maybe you find yourself wishing you were spending more time with family and friends. Maybe you are chronically sleep deprived. Perhaps you are eating poorly and wish you had time to exercise more. Of course you love your work and your business, but you need balance.
The hard truth is that you have to make time for each of these things. At least 25% of small business owners work more than 60 hours a week. We understand it is just you or perhaps a small team running the whole show. It may seem impossible to consider finding time for anything else, but the consequences of continuing to work 60+ hours a week are dangerous. The good news is that people who achieve a healthy work/life balance are not only happier, they are more productive. Could it be possible you could work less and get the same amount - or more - done? It seems so! For proper motivation, here are some of the consequences of working too many hours.
- Sleep deprivation. You may think you are functioning fine on little sleep, but the vast majority of adults need 7-9 hours each night. If you are getting less than that consistently, you are putting yourself at risk for a wide variety of serious problems from cancer and heart disease to car wrecks and depression.
- Stress. Relaxing with family and friends and getting proper sleep gives you the opportunity to release stress. Otherwise it will continue to build up causing further physical and mental health problems.
- Family issues. Working long hours can put significant strain on a marriage. If you are married, you probably already knew that. Couples where one partner is considered a workaholic are twice as likely to get divorced. Children who spend quality time with parents each week are less likely to have discipline issues and more likely to do well in school. It has significant benefits for you too. People who spend time with friends and family are less likely to become depressed.
- Unhealthy habits. If you are working 60+ hours each week, chances are good you are not eating healthy or getting sufficient exercise. Eating fast food and eating while driving or working are terrible for your digestion. Of course we all know the consequences of not getting enough exercise.
It is useful to remember that when you are tired, stressed, or sick, you are definitely less productive and may be unable to work at all. Now that you have some idea of the consequences of working too much, here are some ways you can bring more balance to your life without sacrificing your business.
- Make a commitment to leave the office at a certain time each day, and stick with it. There will always be more work to do. Just remind yourself that a happy, balanced, well-rested entrepreneur will be more productive tomorrow than an exhausted and stressed one. Outsourcing a few things can make this easier. Paying someone to write your blog, manage your social media or keep your books may be well worth the money. If you can outsource your least favorite task, that will free up a lot of time.
- Ensure you are getting enough sleep. You know what time you need to get up, so set yourself a bedtime. Thirty minutes before bed, turn off all the devices. Take that time to connect with your spouse or kids, or read a book. Relaxing away from screens helps signal to your body that you are ready to sleep.
- Commit to family dinners and evenings with friends. If you have children, take the time to connect with them and have fun together. If you have a significant other, weekly date nights can genuinely save your marriage. If you find yourself worrying about your business when you are out, try our Brainiac Pro service. We will alert you via text with any disruption to your network so you can relax and focus on loved ones.
- Even fifteen minutes of exercise each day can make a big difference. Pick a time of day that works for you. Morning exercise will give you good energy throughout the morning, but if you are not a morning person, there is no need to push it. Evening walks or midday bike rides are just as beneficial to your body.
- Take the time to eat well. If you are eating at the office, bring healthy food from home that you can heat up easily. Most importantly, do not work while you eat. Relax, chat with employees, watch a show, anything. Thirty minutes away will not hurt anyone and will be of great benefit to your body. If you are out, avoid eating and driving. If you must get fast food, choose something healthy.
Finding a work/life balance will improve your health and relationships, and it will probably make you more productive as well. So make the leap to take some time to take care of yourself. You can rest easy knowing our Braniac Pro service is keeping an eye on your network.