How to maintain a balance as an entrepreneur

Juggling between private and professional life is a challenge faced by a great many people. Entrepreneurs in particular tend to get carried away by their passion, making that balance a real challenge or even Mission Impossible!

A sustainable approach to your business endeavour as an entrepreneur means preserving your energy (don’t forget, you are your company’s greatest resource!), which can involve merely a few small adjustments to your daily life.

The analysis

Now, before we move on to our tips and actions for striking that delicate balance, let’s tackle the question “what is a good private/pro balance anyway?” You need to be able to reconcile work and the other aspects of your life. Becoming an entrepreneur has inevitable repercussions on your private life and social environment: your company may very well occupy your thoughts 24/7. Learning to deal with your workload, surprises, stress, etc. can help you protect both your friends and family and your mental health. According to research, it is an essential factor for your professional success1: which is why you need to give it some serious thought, maybe even make it a priority!

A closer look reveals that the issue is closely linked to the notion of time management. Time is a precious and yet limited resource. Deciding to allocate your time between your different occupations/lifestyles and to prioritize/hierarchize them (work, leisure, family, friends, training, meditation, etc.) is a choice that’s profoundly tied to who you are as a person (your "why"2), but the most common healthy principles that should influence this decision are:

  • Not working to the point of hating your job or your company,
  • Taking care of your health and well-being,
  • Taking enough time for the activities you really enjoy,
  • Spending enough time with the people most important to you.
Illustration de l'équilibre nécessaire dans la vie d'un entrepreneur(e)

Our tips

 

Set limits

There is a blurry line between your two worlds, and it tends to fade over time… you surely enjoy being an entrepreneur and want to grow, even become the best. But you do need to acknowledge and accept the fact that pursuing your goal ceaselessly is not a possibility! Keep control by setting clear limits and guardrails:

  • Forbid yourself from doing work-related tasks after a certain time (this includes not going through the troubles from your workday over dinner),
  • Give yourself the right to disconnect completely (block professional notifications on your phone when you’re on personal time – better yet, turn it off),
  • Set breaks through the day to decompress/resource,
  • Devote weekends to your private life: your family, friends, favorite hobbies, etc.,
  • Define your workspace, do not spread out all over the place (in your home or elsewhere).

 

Plan and prioritize

When you’re an entrepreneur in a sort of “one-man/woman-show,” there is a risk of getting overwhelmed by the number of tasks to handle, which can lead to working in a constant urgency-mode. To remedy that, it is extremely important to be able to objectively determine which tasks require immediate attention and are also crucial. Once you are able to do so, you can set up routines, draw up relevant to-do lists (for now, for tomorrow, for later) focusing on your real priorities… in short, rationalize your time to improve your organization3.

Learn to delegate and trust by surrounding yourself with the right people

Reading the previous paragraphs may have made you realize you won’t be able to do it all on your own, even if you feel capable or feel it’s your only option as an entrepreneur and business leader. Nonetheless, delegating is an ideal way to lessen your workload and keep moving forward. Less pressure without failing in your responsibilities. Obviously enough, it takes trust (or even losing grip) and a true desire to share (with partners or collaborators). We’ll say it again: focus on the key tasks4.

 

Become more efficient and productive

Globally speaking, the goal here is to help you understand you can save time by making sure you’re more:

  • Efficient, by being more organized and getting equipping with essential digital tools (Trello, Evernote, etc.)5
  • Productive, by reducing potential distractions, meaning anything that does not contribute to you focusing on your tasks and disturb you in your work. The dilemma is that distractions are more present than ever in today’s digital world (emails, social networks, notifications of all types) and can sometimes be closely tied to professional aspects. Establish strict discipline in this area, and don’t forget that distractions can also disturb your “off” time, your breaks.
Illustration de l'équilibre vie privée / vie professionnelle dans la vie d'un entrepreneur(e)

Anima sana in corpore sano

A healthy spirit in a healthy body. You need to take care of yourself. Good physical and mental health will help you be a better version of you. Feeling good about who you are sends a better image to your collaborators/customers/partners. So:

  • Stay positive! Easier said than done, but… keep your spirits up at all costs. Having a vision, a direction for your project can help you with this. Always work and live in line with your profound values (this is key to your really prospering),
  • Don’t neglect yourself. This, of course, does not only mean your appearance. Take time for yourself, give importance to the things you do, what you eat, etc.,
  • Getting ample sleep and even taking real vacations are not a waste of time if you come back revitalized.

 

So, are you willing to accept the challenge of equitably sharing your time and energy between your business and your private life? Here is one final resource6 to help you gain perspective: the rocks, pebbles and dans metaphor for insight into the notion of big and small priorities.

Pour aller plus loin :

1 :  votre bonheur contribue au succès de votre entreprise (FR) / 2 : 10 good reasons to be an entrepreneur / 3 : The Eisenhower Matrix can help you gain perspective on your situation to better anticipate and prepare / 4 : Another helpful tool for managing time, priorities and delegating is the 80/20 Rule / 5 : Tools to make your life easier as an entrepreneur / 6 : Rocks, Pebbles and Sand Story

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