When it comes to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, we can all agree it’s anything but easy.
It requires strength, perseverance, and sacrifice. And more often than not, the thing being sacrificed is personal life.
For the past decade, there’s been a prevailing trend of glorifying long work hours. Many entrepreneurs now agree that 12-hour workdays are the norm. Yet, although working harder than anyone else brings results, it comes with its downsides as well. Being “ON” all the time isn’t just exhausting – it’s detrimental to one’s physical and mental health.
And the thing is, investing energy into maintaining a healthy work-life balance isn’t a time-waster. On the contrary, it could be the thing that helps entrepreneurs achieve more while losing less.
So, whether it’s just you or an entire team behind your back, it’s safe to say that taking care of yourself is equally important to taking care of your company.
If you’re still unconvinced, here are the top five reasons you should better all aspects of your life, not just the professional one.
Running a business, big or small, is a huge responsibility. And entrepreneurs often don’t have the infrastructure that would take some of the pressure off of their backs.
While it’s a topic that’s still mainly taboo, business owners pay a psychological price for the sake of success. Furthermore, things get even worse when business success becomes synonymous with one’s value as an individual, and the basis of one’s identity.
The stress that we all feel at some point in our lives makes for a daily occurrence for most entrepreneurs. Stuck in the famous “fight or flight” mode, they reap the short-term benefits of cortisol. Yet, running a business isn’t something you do a couple of times per year. It’s, more or less, a lifestyle. And this chronic stress exposure comes with health risks.
A healthy work-life balance does not alleviate the pressures of leadership. However, it does allow for a better way to manage stress by providing enough time to focus on health, rest, and social interactions.
Productivity and Decisionmaking
The laws of physics clearly state that matter cannot be created or destroyed. And the same goes for results. If you want returns, you have to make an investment.
Nonetheless, it’s equally good to remember that ensuring productivity isn’t as simple as doubling your work hours. On the contrary, experiments have shown time and again that taking time off could actually boost productivity. There is strong scientific evidence suggesting that lack of sleep negatively affects decision making. Furthermore, vitamin deficiency may impair cognitive performance, while physical activity plays a significant role in boosting creativity.
A lifestyle that emphasizes physical wellbeing, thus, isn’t just about health. It’s also about productivity, sharpness, and the potential to do excellent work.
Motivation vs. Discipline
Businesses take years to develop. And no matter how passionate you are about your company, there will be times when you lack motivation. This is why developing discipline plays such a crucial role in achieving success.
And yes, discipline is about work. But just as much, it’s about rest and self-care.
A well-developed morning routine, an exercise regime, or being strict about bedtime can all contribute to productivity. And some psychologists even point out that taking a work break could lead to a boost in motivation. This is particularly beneficial for those with long-term goals.
A poor work-life balance tends to favor professional development over physical wellbeing. But one thing that’s good to remember is that it has significant influence over mental health as well.
Not having the time (or energy) to fill one’s personal life with meaningful experiences can lead to depression and loneliness. Both of these are common among entrepreneurs. And in addition to wreaking havoc on one’s mental health, they also pose the risk of undoing a lot of hard work.
For this reason, entrepreneurs need to give importance to everything that makes them happy outside of work. That can be spending time with family, nurturing social interactions, or pursuing a hobby. Even seemingly insignificant self-care rituals such as taking a hot bath can have positive effects on physical health and stress management.
And, going back to discipline, incorporating these habits is more than doable, as long as you have the right approach to planning and prioritization.
While you may be all about work right now, there will be times in life when you’ll want to take things slow. You may need time to focus on other projects, spend time with loved ones, or recharge your batteries.
But the thing is, if you train yourself to do all the work now, there’ll be no room for rest down the line. Yes, entrepreneurial life comes with risk, responsibility, and lots of hard work. But it does not negate the fact that you’re only human.
It doesn’t matter if your company is just you, or 50 more people. Know that there are always ways to set up a support system.
Take the time to train and educate employees. Encourage them to work without any hand-holding on your part. Eliminate time-wasters by outsourcing low-priority tasks. Accept the fact that having full control isn’t just draining. It’s also detrimental to your personal and professional future. Ask for help when you need it.
And most importantly, allow yourself to take things slow when you need to do so.
There are many reasons to prioritize a healthy work-life balance over unsustainable growth. Your health, of course, is number one. But remember, having a wholesome approach to work can also positively influence your results.
What are your experiences when it comes to work vs. free time? Are you happy with the downtime you get, or do you feel like you need more? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image credit: Unsplash.com
Sarah Kaminski is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She works with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.