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Article Contributed by Andy Heikkila

The rise of technology has revolutionized the way that we work. Smartphones mean that we never have to worry about missing a message or email again, and laptops and tablets allow us to get into spreadsheets and other nitty gritty work apps when and wherever we want to. The cloud allows us to upload documents and files in one location and access them anywhere else there’s an internet connection. It’s a truly amazing time that we live in.

On the other hand, it’d be irresponsible to say that our ability to connect and work anywhere has yielded solely positive results. The “always-on” attitude toward our jobs means that our work-life balance has suffered. PCMA reports that 57 percent of workers think technology has ruined the definition of a family dinner. Even worse than that, they report that 38 percent of workers have missed life events because of bad work-life balance.

Poor work-life balance is not only bad for the personal lives of entrepreneurs and employees, but it’s also bad for business itself. Work that does get completed isn’t always optimal because due to exhaustion and distraction, and overwork can cause burnout. As former CCO and Co-Founder of Artifact Uprising, Katie Thurmes, once said: “You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.”

Separating “Work” From “Life” 

For entrepreneurs, this You’d think that being your own boss means that you automatically have a better work-life balance. However, anybody who’s ever worked for themselves knows that being successful means making sacrifices, struggling to satisfy customers, and meeting tough deadlines. If fact, entrepreneurs may feel they have more at stake than the average company’s employee, because they sometimes see their work as an extension of themselves, further blurring the line between “work” and “life”.

Before entrepreneurs can find work-life balance, they need to understand the separation between the two. Taking time to appreciate and reflect on things outside of your job is essential to the human experience as well as to mental health. Don’t neglect things that “don’t contribute to the bottom line,” because return on investment isn’t always immediately quantifiable. Neglecting sleep today could affect your performance tomorrow. Consistently missing dinner with your family might be alright with you — but what about them? Consider these things before you end up drowning in your work.

Tips for Achieving Balance

Work-life balance isn’t something that just automatically happens — it’s something you have to actively pursue every day. Tammatha Denyes offers five quick tips in her blogpost, “How to Build Work-Life Balance Into the Life of an Entrepreneur”:

  1. It’s okay to say “no”. We’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that turning down work is something akin to failure, for some reason. However, we often forget how easy it is to over-extend ourselves and create stressful environments for ourselves, all because we said yes to one-too-many (or maybe five-too-many) projects. Learning to say “no” can help out with work-life balance a lot, and will help you to set definitive boundaries beyond which you will no longer take on new projects.
  2. Work out, take breaks, and meditate. The law requires we give employees and professionals time to take breaks during the day; why wouldn’t you give yourself the same time? Working out, taking breaks, and meditation all help to lower stress levels, and re-energizes us so that we’re fresh for the rest of the day.
  3. Streamline your workflow with technology and apps. Whatever your profession, there are most certainly apps and tech that can help you streamline your day, be they apps dedicated to time management, or apps that sync your notes so that you can access them on multiple pieces of hardware. Work smarter, not harder.
  4. Take time to pursue achievements unrelated to work. Being a well-rounded person means that you have facets, and you simply can’t have facets if all you do is work. Pushing yourself outside of work helps you prove to yourself that you’re adaptable, and prepares you for anything that comes up in your day-to-day that’s abnormal. Stretch your brain, pursue challenges outside of work, and enjoy the benefits of personal growth that follow.
  5. Build a trustworthy team. There’s only so much time in a day, and there’s only so much of you to go around. If you’re planning on expanding, you’ll need a team anyway — but even if you’re planning on keeping your operations low-key, find out what small tasks you can delegate to family members or  friends of family. With all the help you can get, you’ll be able to get a couple of hours back to yourself, bettering your work-life balance.

Finding work-life balance is imperative to doing the best work you can possibly do. Make sure that you’re not overworking yourself, and that you’re finding yourself constantly growing inside and out. The fact that the times have changed to reflect a world where you can work almost anywhere and everywhere doesn’t necessarily mean you have to — take a minute for you, and see what that turns into.

 

 


 
 
 

 
 

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