Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint-hearted. While it’s common to glorify the highs and glamourize the hard-charging nature, not many acknowledge the toll it can take on your physical and mental health. If you don’t nurture those aspects of your life, you will most likely fail as an entrepreneur.
I understood this very early in my decades-long entrepreneurial journey and made it a point to prioritize work-life balance. I knew that the mental frame needed to grow my ventures requires motivation and commitment and unglamorous stuff like staying late in the office and working on weekends.
Decompression is not a luxury I would always have. But, without it, I knew burnout – and even mental health problems – was a real possibility.
Here are three things that worked for me and which, I believe, can work for everyone:
Draw a line: Create work boundaries. For instance, let it be sacrosanct that you won’t check your emails before 7.30 am and after 8 pm. Try to maintain a consistent daily schedule – get to work at a fixed time, set aside 45 minutes for lunch, and then 15 minutes for a coffee break.
Let nothing crowd that out. If you’ve worked very late one day, allow yourself to get to the office a little later the following day. Let your colleagues know these rules and encourage them to create some for themselves.
Create ‘me’ time: If you’re the kind of person who can’t tear yourself from their work, you urgently need to schedule some personal time. Meet friends, spend time with your family, play with your dogs, read books, and watch whatever works for you. That would be great if you could get out of the office in the middle of the workday for an hour or so. It’s a great way to recharge.
Just say no: I’ve come across many founders who can’t get themselves to refuse additional work burdens. This is a sure-fire recipe for burnout. You’re human, and there is only so much you can do. Delegate as much as you can and push back when needed. This will ensure your mind is working at an optimum level, making you a better entrepreneur. It will show in the decisions you make and in your overall performance.
Founding and running a business is an incredible experience and full of challenges. While you need many skills for it – financial, strategic, people management, etc. – it’s also critical to establish a work-life balance. It is, in fact, the key to success.
So, while you’re immersed in work, your mind working on various things, don’t forget to come up for air.