How do you manage work-life balance as a startup?
We have all heard the term ‘work-life balance’ – the goal of maintaining equal harmony between our professional and personal lives. However, when you first launch and grow a startup business, there is often lots to accomplish. In fact, you could easily fill up 24 hours a day with work. So how do you find that sweet spot where neither your business nor personal life suffers? This blog provides tips on how to manage work-life balance as a startup and why it is so important.
What is work-life balance and why is it so important?
As self-explanatory as ‘work-life balance’ may seem, it is hard for many entrepreneurs to achieve in reality. In the simplest of terms, having a good work-life balance is when a person equally prioritizes their career and personal/family life, with neither one consistently being put on the backburner.
Being a driven startup business owner can lead to fantastic things, but focusing too heavily on work can cause some negative effects such as:
- Feeling burnt out and stressed.
Maintaining good mental health for entrepreneurs is so important, and often it is not prioritized.
- Creating tension at home.
If you live with a partner or spouse, or have children, devoting minimal time to being at home and spending time together can lead to problems.
- Dropping hobbies or interests.
When you are working hard to ensure your startup succeeds, things like hobbies or interests tend to easily fall to the wayside.
Having hobbies actually makes you more productive and energized for when you are focused on work, and keeping them in your life is just as important as working on the next partnership or product launch.
- Distancing yourself from friends
Having a support system around you is really important, but if you stop putting effort into relationships, that support system you once had may begin to dwindle.
3 Tips on How to Improve Work-life Balance
- Set strict work hours
As an entrepreneur, it is easy to go down a work rabbit hole. One more hour turns into four more hours, and before you know it it’s 1:00 a.m. Setting strict working hours will lead to many benefits, including making you happier and more creative.
Remember that those emails will always be there when you come back. Often taking a much-needed 5, 10, or 30-minute break will lead to a better response.
Setting strict working hours also means learning how to implement better time management skills, so the hours you do work are meaningful and productive.
- Schedule time for loved ones
Balancing work life and home life is important. Making sure you schedule time with family and friends will allow you to not only maintain healthy relationships, but it will naturally make you feel a higher sense of work-life balance.
Remember to use this time to have FUN! When we take life too seriously, we forget to enjoy ourselves and our loved ones. By sharing time purposefully with others we reinvigorate our confidence and can feel recharged to work hard on that pending project.
- Practice self-care
Every person finds relaxation in different ways. Common activities include exercising, reading, meditation, gardening, a hobby, or simply having quiet time alone. Prioritizing time for yourself may seem irrelevant when you have a million items on your to-do list, but in the end having time for yourself will prove to be beneficial at work and for your overall well-being.
Working more hours does not lead to greater success
Putting in long hours may seem like the logical thing to do when you are really busy, but this extra time and energy is not putting you any further ahead.
Stanford University economics professor, John Pencavel, conducted a study that found that productivity per hour heavily declines after a person works 50 hours a week. In fact, he found that those who work up to 70 hours are equally productive as those who work 55 hours.
How do you start implementing a work-life balance?
Overall, our message is simple: Do your best. We know juggling being an entrepreneur and perhaps also being a spouse or a parent can be very challenging, but making an effort to balance all areas of your life will not only make you a better entrepreneur, but it will make you happier.
It is always about progress rather than perfection. Don’t expect to find this balance right away if this is your first time trying to implement these tips. It is about consistency and exploring what works for you, what feels GOOD. Enjoy the journey of finding your balance. You will not regret it!
Joining a startup incubator is an effective way to see progress and organize your workload. Startup incubators mentor and guide you on how to best operate your business, prioritize goals, and manage the challenges that are unique to entrepreneurship.
For more information and tips on how to achieve a work-life balance, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association.