Work-Life Balance: Fact or Fiction for Entrepreneurs
For Entrepreneurs the bleed between work and home, work and life, work and anything can be extreme. Even in the job world these days there is rarely the clarity of boundaries afforded by 9 – 5. Everyone is connected all the time. Employees struggle to leave work at work. Some bosses take advantage of teams that are accessible 24/7.
But the job world is not our arena. We are entrepreneurs and for us the bleed of work into every moment and aspect of our lives can be extreme and detrimental on all fronts. Entrepreneurs often create their businesses from a place of passion and when you are passionate about something you tend to think about it, dream about it, organize it and develop it during many of your waking hours. There is a beauty to this deep level of engagement. It is in fact what all inventors, world changer , impact makers have in common.
“Just one more email.”
“I have to write this before tomorrow – it will only take a few minutes.”
“ I can’t think as clearly during the day – I have to work at night to be creative.”
“I’m doing this for my family and my future. A few years of 100% focus is worth the reward at the end. “
“My kids won’t remember and when they are older I’ll have plenty of time to show up at their games and performances.”
“My spouse knows I’m doing this for us. She/He understands if I’m not really available most of the time.”
I’m sure you have some of your own as well. So how do you Determine the tipping point in your work life balance for Entrepreneurs?
Where is the line between what’s healthy, beneficial and appropriate when developing or running an entrepreneurial business and what is unhealthy, destructive and counter-productive?
The E-Myth by Michael Gerber dives into this conundrum and is certainly recommended reading for all entrepreneurs. Many articles have been written on this topic filled with much we already know – at least intellectually. Prioritize. Plan. Turn off the electronics after 8 PM. Focus on one thing at time.
Yes, mulitasking is a myth too. We can never really concentrate on two things fully at one time, though we can shift attention quickly from one to the other thus appearing to mulitask. The tipping point in your work life balance is that time when your family and friends are noticing you are never fully present. It’s when you eat too many carbs, skip the gym and work regularly into the wee hours. Or you go to the gym and reply to emails the entire time you are there. The tipping point is the place where your choices have negative outcomes in the part of your life that is not work.
Here’s the thing. If your family, friendships and health suffer over too long of a time while you build your dream – when you finally get there you’ll be too ill and lonely to enjoy it. The fine balance is found being fully present in each moment – giving it the attention it deserves and then moving on to the next. When someone is in your presence talking to you, focus your eyes on there eyes. When you are eating dinner with friends, turn off all the phones. When you go out for a run, listen to music and clear your mind. When you’ve been working for 10 hours, embrace the accomplishments of the day and acknowledge that your brain is not at it’s best any longer and it’s time to go home and be home.
Launching a business and hustling to keep it growing strong and in the right direction, requires great focus, commitment and time. We know that. For each individual the tipping point in your work life balance for Entrepreneurs will be different. The bottom line is that we create and nurture our businesses for something more than just money. Usually our “why” sits at home waiting for us to return. Even when deep in the thick of a new launch, keep in mind the tipping point in your work life balance. When you feel yourself standing on the point – take a break. Meditate more. Exercise more. Spend quality fully focused moments with your loved ones. Then go back to hustling!
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Don Purdum says
I listen very closely to what my wife has to say. She is awesome at letting me know when my priorities are getting out of balance and for that I’m extremely grateful!
I have seen way to many businesses go under because of divorce. A few years ago an SBA rep in Dallas told me that they believe at least 50% of all business closures are related in some way to divorce.
I know entrepreneurs feel the pressure to feel like they are accomplishing something; but the truth is much past 50 hours they are accomplishing little as over time they tire, become physically exhausted, emotionally drained and spiritually spent.
We all have to make time for our family and friends. It’s where we recharge, regroup and enjoy life. While we all love to create as entrepreneurs we also need to be creating in ourselves and loved ones.
Thanks for the great reminder!
~ Don Purdum
Don Purdum recently posted…Why “How To” Marketing Articles and Blogs May Be a Waste of Your Time
Deborah Tutnauer says
Thank you for this great comment Don. You are so right, “While we all love to create as entrepreneurs we also need to be creating in ourselves and loved ones”. For in fact, if we don’t have that we have lost the reason why we work so hard in the first place!
Enjoy your week my friend.
Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Failure Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs
Sue Anne Dunlevie says
I needed to hear this today.
I am good at stopping work at 6 pm but half the time I pick up my phone or tablet after dinner when I get my second wind.
Still a work in progress!
Sue Anne Dunlevie recently posted…5 Great People Who Inspired Me To Start Blogging
Deborah Tutnauer says
I totally understand that Sue Anne. I do the same!
For a long time I fought against it. Then I began to recognize my own rhythms better and realized that I work really creatively late at night. Some would say this is not healthy. I say that we all must find our own path in all kinds of manners, including rhythm. I tend to spend the daylight hours doing better outdoors, or even doing Mom and household type things. I work with my clients during the day and with my JV partners. I clear early morning and after school/dinner time for my family But I write best at night. It’s my time. It’s dark and quiet with no distractions. .
Find your own rhythm and honor it – creating balance in a manner that works best for you!
Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Now What? – Entrepreneurs Must Expect the Unexpected
Sue Anne Dunlevie says
Did you hear that? It was me sighing in relief!
That helps me so much! I can honor my flow – I always relax in the afternoon and put my feet up and read. So I do get some creative time after dinner and that’s OK.
Sue Anne Dunlevie recently posted…How to Create Compelling Articles That Will Catch Readers’ Eyes and Get Shared on Social Media