Work life balance is a dream for most entrepreneurs. Unfortunately without mastering time management, achieving the balance is likely not realistic.
Stop Living in a Constant State of Stress
When it comes right down to it, a major contributor to success is the ability to effectively and efficiently leverage available time. Failing to get a handle on this can most surely lead to the inevitable business failure most entrepreneurs will eventually realize. That is, if you believe the statistics of how many businesses will come and go. Yep, less than 5% will make it to the ten year mark.
A while back, I went through a period where I time blocked every minute of every day; but when my family went through a tough time I lost control of my days. In retrospect, their was a life to this 24-hour time blocking anyway, because I had been constantly working against the clock… and constantly under stress.
As I lived through the personal setback I received one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given. At this point I was working like a madman and taking care of my three kids; albeit much of my work was random as I went into survival mode.
Adrenaline Will Only Take You So Far
Enough sleep was not an option, nor was taking care of me. When I was told, “the adrenaline will eventually run out.”, it cut right to my heart. Not only did I re-analyze what I had been doing, but I also thought back to when I had heard Jocko Willink speak and talk about his four non-negotiable hours.
I knew right there something had to give. Over the coming months I struggled to hold everything together. My clarity and my focus were in the dumps and my time management fell by the wayside. Even the simplest tasks became difficult and everything became random.
Not one to give up and knowing my family depended on me I continued to grind and search for the answer. I tried several focus type programs but nothing was working. Eventually I bought a journal put together by John Lee Dumas and I started to get some traction. After a few weeks I realized it wasn’t working either so I abandoned it.
Focus on Results Not Hours
But I did take away the common thread about leveraging shorter durations of focused sessions. This was very similar to what I had heard Jocko Willink talk about. Hmmm, maybe I was on to something.
It was then that a lightbulb finally went off for me. Back when I had everything running like a top I had built out my own custom planner. During that period I was more productive than ever. And happy.
So I dug out some old versions and went back to the drawing board. For the next several weeks I worked the plan, then redlined it. I worked it some more and redlined again. Eventually I got to the version I now use daily. It takes some upfront work to frame out your own success but boy is it worth it.
Start by Fixing the Basics First
It’s not realistic to fix all of your time management problems overnight but you can certainly start with these simple adjustments. I go into much more detail in a YouTube training video.
You can check out the full video here: Work Life Balance Time Management Strategies for Overwhelmed Entrepreneurs
Adjustments You Can Start Making Today
- You have to get over the guilt of working for results and not for number of hours. You will likely work less and achieve more.
- Before you can move forward you have to address and get a handle on your focus.
- Know what your one big thing is every day.
- Plan out your future in macro terms then work backwards to plan out your weeks and your days. This keeps everything in alignment and intentional.
- Work when it makes sense to work, not necessarily when everyone else is working.
- It is vital that you and your significant other get on the same page about your work life balance mindset; and theirs as well.
- You can have more on your plate and feel less busy when you get control back. That is, the things you can control, which isn’t everything.
- Guilt again – If you are spending your time and energy struggling with guilt you should actually be working less.
- Start every day with gratitude.
- Morning routines, and night routines in some cases are huge.
- The true game changer is focusing on results and not hours.
- Plan out your day. Write it down. Work the plan. Adapt and adjust as needed because nothing ever goes exactly as planned.
- A common trait of successful people is they figure out how to get stuff done as quick as possible and then move on to the next thing.
Work life balance will remain merely a pipe dream for most entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The few who make the concerted effort to learn and master time management are in the driver’s seat. You probably already know some of these entrepreneurs. They are the ones who seem to never be working but are always on top of their game. Just don’t forget they made the short term sacrifices to reap the long term rewards; and have built their business around their ideal lifestyle, not the other way around.
If you’d like more information on work life balance and time management check out the resources on the10factor.com.