How to Maintain a Life-Work Balance when You Are a Startup Founder

You can say 'yes' to everything that really matters if you are strict about saying 'no' to everything that really doesn't.

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It’s 6 a.m. Eastern and you are up. Actually, you were up an hour ago because you had an important call with potential investors from Asia. It’s not long before your kids get up. It’s a school day, and it’s one of those rare times when you are not a startup founder, but a mother.

After you kiss your kids goodbye, you return home and recall that aside from being a mother and a startup founder, you are also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, a friend, and a member of that book club you joined a month ago.

Then you make yourself a cup of coffee, hug your husband who’s already sitting in front of the screen, and call your co-founder to have a quick chat before the next call with investors.

You are a superwoman with a pretty shitty morning routine and no healthy boundaries. And the worst part of it is that you know it.

Ok, knowing is actually good. But acting on that knowledge is much better.

If you are ready to invest time in quality analysis & planning, then establishing a life-work balance is a matter of days.

Here are five steps that might help you start.

Step 1. Write down everything you do during the day (note: if you are a startup founder, there’s probably no difference between business days and weekends).

Step 2. Prioritize on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 would be the least important and 5 the most.

Step 3. Put all 5’s in one column and prioritize again in a same manner.

Step 4. Consider the result from the point of what you need to do from your side to be able to block the slots on your calendar for your VIT’s (very important tasks). Examples: saying no to X, setting boundaries for X, limiting the time invested in X to X, etc.

Step 5. Determine the days when you can block time just for yourself – it’s your recharge time, & nothing time, it’s also the time when you freely dwell on your life, your goals, and your dreams.

Life-work balance is not something that we know how to create naturally. It comes with practice. It requires time and attention. If you choose to live an imbalanced life, you willingly give control over it to external circumstances. And this is a true path to nowhere.

When you say ‘yes’ to something, you automatically say ‘no’ to something else. Don’t let it be your well-being, your health, your family, or your dreams.

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