Startup Journal: Learning Work Life Balance as an Entrepreneur
Work life balance is an issue for every professional at some point or another. For entrepreneurs in particular, it's an ongoing struggle.
At least until you figure it out.
Being an entrepreneur naturally creates instability and forces you to make sacrifices - to your paycheck, other commitments, and your time.
Building a new business takes time. The more hours you can put towards it every day (theoretically), the faster it will grow. So many entrepreneurs try pouring 100-hour weeks into their business, hoping it'll pay off soon.
But no one can work 15+ hours a day, every day, without eventually burning out.
And if you try, you inevitably miss out on the things that make life worth living - relationships, helping others, reading on the porch as the sun rises, and all those other things that make us feel human.
You're an entrepreneur. You need to build something sustainable fast, but you don't want to lose your humanity.
What do you do?
How do you find work life balance?
How do you build your dreams while make time for yourself and your loved ones?
In other words, how can you have everything?
I've been part of the startup scene for a few years. I also run a boutique marketing agency. Before that I was building my own financial practice.
I can't pretend to be an all-knowing sage, but here's what I've learned about work life balance through all of it.
Here's everything I've learned about work life balance.
There is no work life balance.
You're an entrepreneur, not an employee. You're building a dream, not punching a time card.
The venture you're trying to grow and who you're trying to be are every bit as much a part of your identity as the color of your hair and who you're married to.
You take it with you everywhere.
"Work life balance" is a crock, because each person naturally gives their time to their priorities.
If family is your top priority, you'll spend your time there. If building your company is your top priority, you'll put all your focus into that.
When both are your priorities, you'll find time for both, and everything will meld together as just part of "what you do."
For entrepreneurs, this is ideal.
How does that work?
There is no balance, because work life and home life become one in the same. You'll work at home, exercise in the middle of the day, take an afternoon off for your kids, and make that time up in the evening.
If a person claims to have work life balance - meaning they effectively turn one life off where the other begins - one of those things is not a priority.
In which case, that's not balance. That's just going through the motions.
There's no balance in this situation, because one only takes up space until that person can get to the other thing they actually care about. If a person is passionate about both work and home life, the two sync up.
And at that point it's just living.
Wrap it up.
The idea that you need to find a "balance" between what you do professionally and what you do in your "off-time" is an excuse not to find fulfillment in your work and everything else you do, or to create that kind of life for yourself.
This might seem harsh. After all, everyone doesn't have the option to create their greatest life right this second. That doesn't mean you can't be working towards it.
As an entrepreneur, you should be proud not to have a "work life balance." It means you're putting full effort into your goals, and that you're bringing friends, family, and everything else you love along for the ride. That's the dream!