September 12, 2014
There is one iconic image that comes to mind when people think of the successful entrepreneur. It’s the tired and disheveled work-horse who clocks 80 hours a week and has more frequent flyer miles than he could ever use. He has his own business, he has fortune, but he has no life. Rather, his business IS his life. He may be facing a burnout. We all want his success (and his money), but can it be done without becoming a workoholic?
If you want everything that entrepreneurial success can bring but want to still have time for a life, follow these few bits of sage advice:
Expand your horizons – Keep your eyes wide open. Many entrepreneurs tend to get too focused on putting out fires and miss opportunities because they fail to see the big picture. When our lives are focused and narrow, we can’t see the forest because of the trees. If we have a wide range of life experiences thanks to pursuing hobbies and interests OUTSIDE of our calling, we have a larger arsenal of problem-solving skills. These skills can help us see problems to solutions that others may overlook. Solutions that lead to new product and offerings you can monetize. Push yourself toward new things.
Action item: Schedule one activity each month outside of your comfort zone. Do an activity that you normally wouldn’t do. Take a dance lesson, or find a local group on meetup that looks like fun.
Share the load – Most successful people got where they are because they are excellent team builders. One person never succeeded at anything. Surround yourself with people you can learn from. Seek out opportunities where you are not the smartest or most experienced person in the room. It will challenge you in new ways. Build your team of people with skills you do not have. If you are not a natural born salesman hire one. If you need to get more organized hire someone that can help you. Try to do it all by yourself is a recipe for failure. If you study rockstar CEOs, you will find that they would be nowhere without a loyal team of people.
Action item: Outsource the most repetitive task you do. Even if you only spend a few hours a week on simple repetitive tasks it adds up. You could spend that time on more valuable tasks.
Attend to the details – More productivity is lost to ignoring the finer points of business than just about anything else. Forgetting to make an important phone call, losing a potential investor’s contact info, or losing important documents can all set you back days, if not weeks. Keeping a to-do list and maintaining a well-organized calendar and filing system may not sound sexy, but it’s something you have to do.
Action item: Sign up to use a tool like Trello or something similar. It will help you stay focused on the details.
Take time off – Many entrepreneurs feel guilty about taking time away from the business. It is not only fun to take time to yourself, it is also necessary. It’s actually counter productive to be glued to your business. Psychologists have established that vacations have real benefits. Vacations are necessary to revitalize your mind and body, distancing you from the everyday stress and worries about your business.
There are several ways you can take more time off:
- Take time to meditate to help prevent stress. Mediation helps you both prevent and release stress from the body.
- Take short play breaks. Take time to either play a game, learn a language, or do some physical activity.
- Instead of vacationing once a year, take more frequent vacations.
- Dedicate time to yourself. Take a morning or afternoon off at least once a week. It will help you be more productive.
Action item: Schedule a getaway for sometime in the next 60-days. It’s OK if you are not comfortable going on a longer vacation yet. Make it a short vacation. Schedule it today.
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