In a survey by Forbes.com, a number of successful entrepreneurs were asked how many hours they worked per week. Not one respondent said less than 50.
Most hovered closer to 70 or 80 hours, with a few 100s thrown in from the hardcore workaholics.
But that’s what you have to do to win whether you own your own business or just want to get ahead at your job, right? In the short term, yes. It’s the best way to get things moving.
But in the long run, it can actually hinder your goals by damaging your health, your career and your family. So how do you prevent burnout when there is so much that needs to be done?
Here are three ways to bring some balance into your life:
1. Be Intentional
A balanced life doesn’t occur randomly. You have to be deliberate about setting goals in all areas—career, financial, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family and social. Dave believes it is so important that he has included it as a major part of a lesson in EntreLeadership.
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Quick Tip: Get everything you do down on a calendar—not just work tasks. Want to lose some weight? Schedule time for workouts. Need to improve relationships with your spouse and family? Put those activities and time blocks on your calendar too.
“So many people work crazy hours and ignore their family, and before they know it, their spouse and kids are gone,” Dave says. “Sharon and I manage our lives very clearly by a calendar and intentionally make time for each other and our family.”
2. Ask for Help
It’s a fact. Even Superman with all of his super powers couldn’t accomplish all he set out to do. And he never had to wait in traffic, meet a deadline, and get dinner on the table. To be able to successfully juggle all the demands life throws your way, you have to prioritize and let go of the unimportant.
Quick Tip: If it’s within your budget, are there chores that you can hire someone to do, like mow the lawn or clean the house? If not, can you make it a family affair with your spouse and kids pitching in? And remember, if you go with the latter, it doesn’t have to be perfect. If a bed isn’t made correctly, no one will end up in intensive care from rumpledsheetitis. The same holds true at work. You don’t have to do it all. Can you delegate some tasks or outsource projects, allowing you to leave your job at a reasonable hour?
3. Get in Shape
It might seem odd to recommend spending time at the gym, running, hiking or doing other activities as a way to save time, but we are doing just that. Why? Because exercise boosts your energy level, reduces stress, and helps you stay healthy, happy and focused, which leads to better productivity at work and at home.
Quick Tip: If you are really crunched for time, try working out at your desk. There are a number of products now available to tone you up and energize you. Dumbbells are a great option. And an exercise ball used as a chair strengthens your core. Executives at Google are such fans of stand-up desks that they are provided as a wellness benefit. If you don’t want to invest a lot into equipment, old-school works just as well. Use part of your lunch hour to walk outside or at a local mall.
Trying to maintain a work-life balance can be like walking on a tightrope, where at any moment you need to lean one way or the other to maintain balance. There will be days that are work-heavy and others that are primarily family. But if you keep them equal in the long run, you won’t fall. Everyone will be happier, and your career and life will reap the rewards.
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