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How To Create Balance In Your Life As A Busy Entrepreneur – 5 Top Tips

Written by: Alice Dartnell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Busy entrepreneur, is this you? You love your business, but you also love to do other things with your time. And as much as you love what you are doing and it is your passion, you’re currently finding that your focus is always on the business, and it is getting to the point where the other important values in your life (maybe friends, family, your health, etc.) are starting to be neglected.

Origami on laptop in office for work life balance.

If so, let me help you. As a coach specialising in time management and energy management for busy business owners, this is something I see all too often, and I want you to reclaim the balance in your life and with your time with these five top tips.


Before you read any further, though, let me add a little caveat here because this article is not going to contain your usual tips such as ‘don’t take your work home with you' or things like ‘put your laptop away when you are not working.’ I trust you already know this, and maybe you are already implementing these tips yet are still struggling with the balance.


1. Define what balance means to you in the first place …


Balance in the traditional sense means 50/50, but I don’t think this works when it comes to balancing running a business and the other things in your life. It is highly unlikely you are going to be splitting your waking hours with 50% work and 50% non-work.


Furthermore, we are all different and are going to need ‘balance’ in different areas of our life, depending on what matters to us. Balance might mean spending quality time with the kids after school and hitting the gym once a week for someone, but to another person training for a marathon, balance is found in 5 hours of training a week.


This question of “what does balance mean for me?” also might trigger another, and maybe even more complex, question… what does ‘work’ mean?!


There is often a blurred line in entrepreneurship between working from home or coffee shops, working with friends, enjoying what you do, or doing work outside of conventional hours or parameters as an entrepreneur. This was certainly something I struggled with when I first started my business. I had to define what work meant, as I didn’t know if things like networking, writing articles, or connecting over social media were ‘work’ (by the way, there is no right or wrong answer, it is totally up to you!)


2. Define how much time you want to dedicate to each area of your life

If I asked anyone, “do you spend enough time on [insert something they love or value, like time with family, reading, hobbies, etc.],the answer is always likely to be a big fat “no.” We all want MORE. Therefore, looking at this as a criterion to determine whether you have balance with your business is the wrong approach.


Instead, define how much time you want to dedicate to each area of your life outside of work and business, and use that as a guideline and benchmark to aim for. This will also help you determine if you really can achieve that balance. For example, if you are aiming for ‘balance’ with doing three hours of reading a day but that physically can’t happen with business, kids, and demands of daily life, then you are not going to achieve that ‘balance’ ever!


3. Plan your downtime


As an entrepreneur, I have no doubt you are great at strategy and planning in your business but are you applying this to your downtime too? As Laura Vanderkam writes in her excellent book ‘168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think’, “these days, when most of us have an hour to go lie in the grass, we turn on the TV, check email or peruse Facebook instead. Then we complain of having no time to think. In a distracted world full, even fallow hours take discipline”


I am a big on this one – the only way to achieve balance in your life is to schedule your downtime in your diary! Plan in the workouts, reading, time with family, drinks with friends, that exhibition you want to go see etc. As I always say, if you want to have time for something, you need to MAKE the time – you will never find the time!


4. Diarise everything


Most busy business owners are great at keeping an organised diary when it comes to their appointments and meetings but don’t stop there. One of the ways to find balance in your busy life is to diarise everything! This helps with tip 3 of planning your downtime. Don’t just diarise your work, appointments and meetings but also diarise your workouts, time with family, personal admin time, your commute time into the city or office, when you are taking a break… I mean everything!


This helps you on SO many levels, including:

  • Being in control of how you use your time, so you own your day rather than the day controlling you!

  • You have a great visual of how you are spending your time in the days and weeks ahead

  • You can be realistic if you can fit it all in – there is no point just “aiming” for balance without taking proactive action to achieve it

As Emily Aborn explains in her Brianz Magazine article Don't Manage Your Time – Befriend It!, you need to go through each thing and ask yourself why you’re doing it. She recommends taking a good hard look and being honest with yourself. What on that list do you really love and value? She also suggests that there might be items you can delegate to someone else and things that you might be able to part ways with altogether.


5. Be aware of the mental energy that you are spending on work


This might be a harsh truth to hear if this is you but if you are not in the workplace, but you are still thinking about work, you technically are still working! Getting the balance right for you will mean you also take into consideration your mental energy too! Balance won’t be found if you are on a family day out or you’re playing golf with friends… but you are mental “not in the room.” You have to be present at the moment to really achieve balance. Be focused and in ‘work mode’ when you are working, and don’t be fretting and worrying about work when you are using your time for the other stuff!


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

 

Alice Dartnell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Alice Dartnell is a time management and energy management coach, trainer, speaker, and author, who is passionate about empowering people to create a life by design, not by default! Known as an expert in time management and energy management, Alice doesn’t teach time management in the traditional sense. Instead, she focuses on the importance of energy management and mindset as the way to improve time management. Alice believes that time management actually isn’t about managing time! Instead, it is about managing you, other people, your tasks and most importantly, your energy! She works with individuals on a 121 basis, as well as through programmes, workshops, and courses. Additionally, she delivers training to org

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