Ask any business owner or company head what their biggest struggle is right now, and you’re likely to get an answer that sounds something like “finding work-life balance” or “I work ALL. The. Time.”
Finding balance is a struggle for all of us… but it is a relentless day-to-day battle for a business owner or someone in leadership. Throw working out, a few kids, and actually showing up to a family gathering into the mix, and it’s just overwhelming at times.
It’s time to actually find that balance.
Think Output NOT Input.
My first tip for you is to think about output NOT input. We all know that working long hours, working into the wee hours of the morning, rarely creates your best work. Working this way rarely, if ever, allows for more productivity. If you are working like this, your brain is not working at an optimal level. And it doesn’t matter how many espressos or red bulls you chug.
Fundable.com CEO Wil Schroter, who has founded nine startups in the last two decades, agrees. “The only reason to work harder is to get more output,” Schroter says. “If you’re crashing all the time, you’re wasting that.”
After years of “running at full sprint,” the dad of a 20-month-old daughter recently decided to slow down to a trot. By logging how he was spending his 16-hour workdays, Schroter realized he was operating at peak performance just four hours a day. By the time Friday rolled around, he was running on fumes. “It’s not that I’m not productive,” he says. “It’s just that as a human being, I can only be so productive.”
Schroter now paces himself throughout the week, stepping away from the desk to recharge when his energy dips, rather than scrolling Facebook. To encourage Fundable’s 22-person staff to do the same, Schroter has implemented a 3 pm company-wide “recess,” where employees are encouraged to take a walk, play sports, read a book, or otherwise disengage for 30 to 45 minutes. This oasis is still a work-in-progress at the year-old Columbus, Ohio, startup – staffers sometimes find it hard to tear themselves away, Schroter admits – but those who do partake say it helps them stave off the dreaded afternoon slump.
Growing a business is like running a marathon. Your pace and self-care will directly correspond to the type of work you produce.
Here are some other tips that will help you find that balance:
1.) Use a Planner.
Be consistent in using something that keeps you straight. Whether this is a paper planner or a digital one, start a habit of writing everything down or you will forget! This is just part of running a business…
Think about how many times you made yourself coffee only to find it sitting cold on the counter two hours later. Then you go heat it up, only to find it sitting in the microwave the next morning.
Prepare, knowing that you will forget. Set yourself up for success.
2.) Delegate or Outsource.
We all know the advantages of delegation. It will benefit your life and your business to hire someone that can do some of these things for you so that you can concentrate on more important areas and keep stress levels low and creativity (and productivity) high.
Don’t feel guilty about needing help. It will make you and your business better!
3.) Know What You Do Best.
Business owners wear so many hats, and many of these are things that you either don’t enjoy doing or know that someone else could do substantially better. Be honest with yourself and find help where you need it.
I have often found marketing is something that business owners enjoy doing but don’t have the time to actually do.
Consider looking at an expert in areas that are important for your business, but at the end of the day, you simply don’t have time to get to.
4.) Commit to a Schedule.
Don’t assume that, as a business owner, you need to be available every moment of the day. You need to create some margin in your life.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of the popular book Lean In, has stated, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.”
She says women and men just need to find a way to make it all work. Sandberg commits to only being in the office from 9 am to 5:30 pm every workday. She then goes home to have dinner with her husband and kids.
Set a schedule that includes shutting down work and focusing on the other important aspects of your life.
Don’t be discouraged! It will take some time to see what works best for you. Keep plugging things in and sooner or later you will find the balance you desire!