Ways to master your work-life balance as an entrepreneur

The goal is to find a way to stay driven while also making time for your health, interests, and family.

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Thinking back to my career journey within the food and beverage industry, one of the most significant differences between working at Kraft and Pepsi and eventually taking the leap to co-found Rebellious Beverage Company is the mentality to compartmentalize and deliver on so many projects (departments in fortune 50 companies) that are necessary to grow our business. If you ask any other entrepreneur, it takes a great deal of commitment and perseverance to reach success — this often results in working overtime or on weekends and maybe even replying to emails while you’re watching a movie. And with many Americans still working and running a business from home, the term “work-life balance” is buzzing more than ever before. How do you successfully separate your job from your personal life? 

One of the most complex parts of being an entrepreneur is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Naturally, entrepreneurs thrive on the hustle to keep the needle moving forward. But having too much focus on your job and neglecting the necessary time to unwind can lead to mental health issues that can impact your well-being and your job productivity. If you notice that you’re feeling more and more tired or unmotivated, your work-life balance could need some adjustment. The goal is to find a way to stay driven while also making time for your health, interests, and family.

Here are some helpful tips for creating a work-life balance.

1. Create boundaries

As an entrepreneur, you have the luxury to create your work schedule based on what fits with your comfortability and productivity. But as many of us take on multiple roles, we are often stuck thinking that work runs 24/7. And while the typical work week and 9–5 hours may not work for everyone, consider creating boundaries to keep your work life and personal life separate. 

Start by making it a rule to strictly dedicate your preferred work hours just to work. Even something simple as turning off notifications for emails before 7AM or after 7PM can make all the difference. Or, if you choose to work some on the weekend, log off a bit earlier during the week. 

During the past year or so, we’ve all worked from home a lot. What I’ve found is that tools for working smarter from home have gone mainstream. Those tools help me get more done in a given day, so I can be fully present for family activities.

For this to work successfully, be sure to be 100 per cent transparent with your team and extend the same work-life balance experience to your employees.

2. Schedule personal time 

Are you having trouble tearing yourself away from your job? Aside from taking some personal time throughout the day for yourself, try scheduling personal time in your monthly calendar as you would with any work-related tasks and meetings. 

I find that having a visual in your calendar of times blocked for unwinding and quality time with your family gives you something to look forward to and reminds you that personal time is as important as the time you make for work. It also allows you to see how much of your time you’re giving to yourself.

Small things you can do throughout the week to separate your personal life from your work include taking your lunch break away from your desk or grabbing a coffee with a colleague or friend midday to recharge and improve your productivity. This is especially important if you’re currently running a business from your home. 

Something else that’s helped me? Scheduling times for workouts. I’ve found that a mid-day or mid-afternoon workout session recharges and gives me energy for the rest of the day. It’s good for my overall physical and mental health. 

3. Remind yourself that you’re allowed to say no 

As passion and interest typically kick-start an entrepreneurial journey, founders have difficulty saying no to things related to work — whether that’s taking on additional tasks, travelling to a conference, or accepting a last-minute call. Aside from being very emotionally invested in your career, capitalizing on new opportunities can open many doors for your business. But agreeing to work outside of the times and tasks you’re comfortable with (or what you originally signed up for) can easily result in a burn-out if you’re not careful. 

Know your boundaries and get comfortable with saying no. I suggest planning out your work week and listing all the tasks, plans and obligations you have on your plate. This way, you can see if you can take on more work or if it would invoke stress or any other issues. Just because you are growing and managing a successful business doesn’t mean you can’t pass on work.

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