If we’re not careful, entrepreneurs sacrifice a lot to see our businesses grow. There are many strengths common to small business owners and startup founders, but maintaining a work-life balance isn’t always one of them. With a never-ending to-do list and boundless ideas and ambitions, it can be hard for entrepreneurs to “turn off”.
It turns out that this tireless, non-stop approach to business may actually be limiting entrepreneurs’ success. Time away from work could actually be the key to boosting productivity, creative problem solving, and managing a business’s most important stakeholders.
Even knowing this, it can be hard to shut down the laptop, close up the shop, or hand the reigns over to a fill-in manager while you’re on vacation. For all of our strengths and ability to go full-speed with our work, most of us tend to half-ass our time off. Here are our top tips for entrepreneurs who work 7-day weeks:
Don’t work 7 Day Weeks
It’s an obvious, but important message. If your business isn’t facing an immediate emergency (like your store is on fire), you’ll find that it still stands after 48 hours away from you.
Have you ever found yourself thinking or talking in circles around a single business challenge that you couldn’t address? Have you ever been so overwhelmed that simple mental math becomes difficult? What about staring blankly at a computer screen when you’re supposed to be completing a task you’ve done a thousand times before? Of course you have!
While these are moments all business owners face, they can often be the result of overworking yourself. Stepping away from your business for even a day can help you build back your energy, be inspired with a new insight or business idea, and even give you a fresh approach to business challenges when you return.
If You Must Work Weekends, Do It In The Morning
Nothing breeds burnout quite like missing your friends’ events or feeling incapable of joining family on a day out. If you cannot escape working on the weekends, commit to getting your work done in the mornings.
By working in the mornings, you capitalize on the most productive hours of the day (even if you’re not a morning person). You can start your work with a clear mind, free of the feeling that you’ve had to cut short an event or gathering.
Be sure to also set a deadline. Deadlines may naturally make themselves clear (like when your body tells you it’s lunchtime), but other times, you may want to set a “hard stop” time. At StartBlox, our stop-time for Saturday work is 12:00. This allows our team to move on with their day, read a book, or make plans with family while still having accomplished something in the morning.
Learn to Prioritize, and Understand Urgency
As an entrepreneur, you already know that some tasks are more urgent and important than others. Make a rule for yourself that only the highly urgent and important work can take place on your time off.
The fundamental principle of this suggestion is that your own health and well-being should be prioritized over the majority of your work. Have a new marketing idea? Want to try out a new software? Those things can wait. In fact, when it comes to your time off, it the work can wait, it should wait.
If you truly have trouble prioritizing your time off, make a list of activities you want and need to get done. From cleaning your home to binge-watching Netflix, your list can include anything and everything you want. Once you have it, use your “Time Off To-Do List” in the same way you approach your work one. The feeling of crossing something off will give you the same buzz as if you were at work, and you may feel more justified in doing it.
What To Do If You’re Still Unconvinced
If you’re still struggling to take time away from your work, it’s time to bring in your friends and family. As the people who most want to spend time with you, these are perfect candidates to help bring you away from your work. Ask them to hold you to certain plans or specific stop-times, or suggest plans with them that will make it difficult for you to multitask.
Fundamentally, your time off will help your business improve. Don’t underestimate the power of a refreshed mind, a new perspective, or an inspiring day off.