Entrepreneurs seem to believe that they need to work 23 hours a day in order to be productive and
to get rich. I admit I used to feel that way. I started work early, ate in front of my computer, hardly stopped for dinner with the family, worked until late at night and then also worked seven days a week! Whew, I am exhausted just remembering it. I worry that if I hadn’t gotten ahealth wake-up call if I’d still be there… doing all of those hours, missing out on my family until I had an even more life-altering health issue. It’s quite likely that I would have.
Because I have been forced to slow down I’ve come to realize that being busy 24/7 certainly didn’t mean I was productive 24/7. Now that I’ve taken several steps back I realize quite the opposite was true. I was spinning my wheels a lot of the time. What should have taken me an hour was sometimes taking me two… just because I wasn’t focused — I was working too many hours; being “on” all the time eventually leads to burnout.
I’ve realized I need to separate myself from my business and strive for abalance of work and life in order to be truly productive. Being in business for yourself means you wear many hats: salesperson, accountant, receptionist, marketing… the list goes on.
Here are ways that you can take a step back, recharge your batteries, and then move forward with a more balanced life:
- Have clearly defined business goals. Without knowing where you want and need to be on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis, how will you know when you’ve arrived?
- Have clearly defined personal goals. Yes, your personal goals need to be part of your business plan. If you don’t have personal goals (ie, run a marathon, learn to crochet, walk every day, etc.) you need to get some. Having personal goals will help you balance your life and work.
- Lists are your friends. Make a list every morning or at the end of each business day for the next day. A list will keep you focused and the mere task of crossing an item off your To-do list is a mood booster!
- Are you always involved in income producing activities? If you find yourself spinning your wheels on tasks such as mailings, or your own bookkeeping you should find someone to do those tasks for you. As an entrepreneur you need to focus your time and talents on the tasks that make you money and show your expertise.
- Don’t forget to ask for referrals from current clients. The best way to garner new business is through word of mouth.
Prioritize your work and life and you will be more productive and happy in both.