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“What is something you would be proud to fail on, if you had the courage to attempt it?” – James Clear

 

Harmonizing Life and Work: The Unconventional Path

So you’ve grown your business to the point where things are humming along but you’re chained to the day-to-day operations, holding it together with your own blood sweat, and tears.

I’m (mostly) excited for you.

You’re at a point where there’s one thing you need to prepare for and it might be the most important of all.

Maintaining your sanity.

Part of being an entrepreneur means finding a healthy way to operate your business while living and enjoying an intentional life.

Working yourself to unhappiness is a real risk when you’re going it alone.

Even without a bunch of employees or bosses, finding life-work harmony can be a bit trickier than you might expect.

It’s your sole responsibility to figure out how to create a more efficient business that allows you the free time you want. And if you don’t, you run the very real risk of burnout, health challenges, and dwindling inspiration.

But don’t worry. I’ve got you.

Here are 5 tips for achieving more lifestyle freedom as an entrepreneur.

5 Strategies for Achieving Life-Work Harmony as an Entrepreneur

1) Set Clear Boundaries

It’s important for me to establish clear boundaries between my work and my personal life.

For example, between 6:00 am until 8:00 am, you’ll find me doing what I call ‘Vision Building’ work. This is work that advances my business over the long-term.

It’s work that is important but not urgent. It’s not client work and it’s not passive learning. It’s action-focused work that will move levers in my business 6-12 months in the future.

When 9:00 am rolls around, I shift to client work.

Client work continues until noon and then I get outside to take the dogs for a walk.

On most weekdays, I resume doing some client work in the afternoon and then wrap up by 4:00 pm.

But when 4:00 rolls around, I step away from my computer and go to the gym or get outside. You won’t find me online and I’m not answering texts or emails.

It’s ME time. And you should define your ME time too.

Determine your work hours, communicate your boundaries with anyone you work with, and stick to your guns.

Don’t be afraid to say no to protect your ‘ME time.’

2) Prioritize Self-Care

I notice a lot of entrepreneurs neglecting their health at a high cost to their overall well-being.

They sit in front of their computer and/or phone from 8 am until 8 pm, believing that every email, text, or DM is urgent and critical.

Newsflash: They aren’t.

A 100% immediate response rate doesn’t scale. So stop trying.

You have to make time to take care of yourself if you have hopes of being a successful entrepreneur.

Your entire business depends on your mental, emotional, and physical health to be strong to support it.

There are 3 key elements to boost your self-care:

  1. What you eat (food)
  2. Moving your body every day (exercise)
  3. The quality of your rest (sleep)

This is not rocket science but I’m shocked at how many entrepreneurs are ignoring one or more of these.

Block time in your calendar for daily exercise. Better yet, hire a personal trainer to be accountable to.

Eat healthy and find a few meals that you enjoy preparing at home. This time of year I enjoy going to the farmers market and getting fresh veggies and meats to grill. Simple and healthy.

Prioritize good sleep. This is your recharge time and most entrepreneurs aren’t getting enough of it.

Outside of those 3 things, schedule time to enjoy hobbies and socialize with people who lift you up. And allow yourself time to just relax.

Most Thursdays, my wife Jill and I go out for an early dinner at a fun brewery or one of our favorite pizza places.

Could I get more done by working? Sure.

But why? I’m working for myself so I can enjoy Thursdays like that.

Get out of the office and off of your phone. Go enjoy life.

3) Delegate

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean taking on every task yourself.

So please don’t try to do everything on your own.

Instead, delegate certain aspects of your business so that you can focus on your core strengths.

Michael Michalowicz, author of Clockwork, refers to this as prioritizing your Queen Bee Role (QBR). Simply put, the QBR is the single most important activity within your business that allows you to deliver on your brand promise.

Your job as an entrepreneur is to identify your QBR and focus on that instead of all the other day-to-day tasks that pull you away from your most valuable work.

Take this article for example. I wrote it and my part-time virtual assistant formats it, publishes it to my email list, turns it into a blog post, publishes it on LinkedIn, and uses snippets of it to create and schedule social media posts..

I have no idea how much time it takes her to do all this. All I know is that she can do it way better and much faster than I can.

And I’ve got more time and freedom to work on strategic projects, serve clients, and enjoy life.

4) Leverage Tools and Technology

No matter what stage you’re at in your business journey, the right tools can:

  • Save you dozens of hours per week and a whole lotta stress (more time to do what you love = a HUGE win!)
  • Automate key marketing activities like email marketing, list building, and showing up on social media.
  • Save you thousands of dollars on the time you would spend doing things the hard way.

Here are some examples:

  • Social media scheduling tools help you save time and prevent you from needing to be at your computer at publishing time. Use a tool like Sked to schedule everything in advance.
  • Use tools like ChatGPT-4 or Claude.ai to brainstorm ideas, generate text and code, help you understand subjects, coach you through difficult situations, and help simplify your busywork so you can focus on what matters most.
  • Using a tool like AirManual can help with systemizing processes and delegating even the most complex tasks to freelancers or team members.

The tools and apps that are available today are true game changers and allow even the most novice entrepreneurs to compete at a level that was unthinkable even a few short years ago.

Many of these tools come with a learning curve but can be well worth the up-front time investment to learn.

5) Embrace Freedom and Flexibility

One of the greatest benefits of being an entrepreneur should be freedom and flexibility.

I say “should” because entrepreneurship can also be like having another job – a job that doesn’t guarantee you a salary or benefits.

This is why it’s so important to think about creating leverage in your business as soon as possible.

Creating flexibility to spend time with your family and friends, to enjoy a mid-day lunch with your partner, to ski on a Monday, to be present for events your kids are involved with …this is why many of us became entrepreneurs in the first place.

But none of these freedoms are possible unless you can step away from the computer and phone from time-to-time.

So I recommend treating your schedule like this:

  • Rigid start and stop times: Define start and stop times for your work ahead of time. No cheating.
  • Give yourself 60-120 minutes of flex-time every day: This is time that I use to go for a walk, grab lunch or coffee, get the dogs out, or read a chapter. If you don’t build it in, it will never happen.
  • Work towards taking a weekday off: It took me several years, but I eventually started easing into Mondays and wrapping up work by midday on Fridays. My next goal is to move to a 4-day workweek. This doesn’t mean I don’t do a few things on my off days, but I’m certainly not chained to my computer or phone.

I live in the Pacific Northwest for a reason and I consider it my mission to explore nature on my days off.

And funny enough, I end up getting a lot of great business ideas on long walks, ski days, or trips to the river with the dogs.

It’s completely possible to adapt your schedule to accommodate your personal desires while still achieving your business goals.

To Summarize

Achieving life-work harmony is essential for entrepreneurs.

If you set clear boundaries, prioritize self-care, delegate tasks, leverage tools and technology, and embrace freedom and flexibility – you can create more harmony and joy in your personal and professional life.

And this is exactly what will help you stay focused, engaged, and ready to embrace the endless challenges that come with the entrepreneurial journey.

If you’re ready to lay the groundwork for this journey, start by exploring how coaching and business design can get you there quicker and with less stress.

That’s all for today.

Live bravely,
Michael

 

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