5 tips for managing work-life balance as a founder
So…. If you’re reading this, I’m under the assumption you’ve managed to make it through the minefield that comes with starting your own business. Or perhaps you haven’t got that far yet and you want to make absolutely sure that the work load won’t mean you have to sacrifice the entirety of your free time and sanity.
Reading this article won’t make running a business magically easier. All the stars won’t suddenly align. You won’t finally be living your dream of lying on a beach while your business runs itself. But check out the tips below from a serial entrepreneur who might be able to help.
Brady Simpson is the founder and CEO of Simtek, a California based start-up creating
motion sensors that monitor valuables. He shared with me the following tips for managing
work- life balance when starting your own business:
1. Don’t be afraid to delegate.
Running a business is hard. When you’re trying to fit with the market, grow your company
and do big things - there’s a lot to do. It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all to succeed.
But, in order to accomplish your goals, you’re going to need to delegate. Trust other people.
Not micromanage. Clone yourself. This allows you to focus on what’s essential, instead of
spreading yourself too thin and accomplishing nothing. However, the key is to balance
delegation properly, because too much delegation early on can be difficult to control quality
2. Set a clock-off time or create boundaries.
Answering emails at 4am is not healthy. But your business won’t grow unless you push it
forward. It’s just as important to manage your routine to include daily mental breaks or
specific times that allow you to step away from work, as it is to grind and hustle. It’s difficult
when it’s likely your main focus in life at the moment. Therefore, you need specific action to
step away, and create space physically and mentally. You’ll be more productive, have better
ideas, and feel more energized.
3. Set goals
Creating goals around what you want to accomplish and when, seems obvious. But it can be
all too easy to let the day take over itself, answer the inbox and go with the flow. This isn’t
productive when that’s all you do, and it won’t help push your business forward in the long
term. Creating a daily checklist that flows into larger weekly/monthly/annual checklists can
be a great mood booster. When you’re able to complete those tasks and see progress, it’s
much easier to clock off for the night feeling a sense of accomplishment.
4. Take a holiday or vacation.
It might seem counter-intuitive to take time off from your business to lay on a beach or
explore a new city, but it’s vitally important. First, it helps you step back and recharge your
batteries, bringing you a new focus and energy. Second, it can help you think differently
about your business when you’re exposed to new cultures, new people, new ways of doing
things. If you’re running a start-up, chances are you’re spending long hours in an office or
alone, and not getting out that much. Being exposed to new things without pressure - for
example taking a vacation- can reduce stress and allow you to fully take-in your
surroundings. Note: make sure you’re able to be “present” mentally. Don’t go and cheat by
working the entire trip.
5. Stay healthy.
Managing a start-up is like running a really long stressful marathon. You need to be in the
best possible shape mentally and physically to tackle it and win the race. Eating healthy,
exercising and staying focused, are key baselines to help you do some of your best work. If
you’ve got to worry about health problems, your energy levels are low, you’re hungry all the
time, or gaining weight - you won’t last. Exercising for an hour a day is incredibly beneficial. I
find that I’m able to focus more after a long bike-ride.
I hope you found those tips useful. Remember running your own business is different for
everyone- but sometimes it’s nice to know that others are going through the same thing!
Rachael Whittle, part time Musician, part time Communications Manager