Looking for Balance as a Small Business Owner

That feeling when "personal time" almost equals "panic attack"...

That feeling when "personal time" almost equals "panic attack"...

Many “9-to-5” workers think a work and personal life balance is the key to their happiness. 

For small business owners and entrepreneurs who leave this traditional 40-hour a week schedule behind, finding happiness outside of work through relaxation can be a task.

That said, founder burnout is a real problem. Below I will touch on a few strategies for avoiding burnout and staying sane while working the hours required for entrepreneurship.

1. Stop thinking of your downtime as wasting time or harmful to your business. For example, it’s important to draw lines between your work hours and personal hours. This might require you to commit to being “done for the day” to spend meaningful time with family and friends. Studies have shown this relaxation leads to more productivity in the future, as your brain has time to decompress and gear up for the coming day.

2. Prioritize work by choosing the Top 3 things to accomplish every day and complete them rather than 10 or 20 things you don’t finish. Furthermore, take that mindset to all things you encounter during your work day. You need to learn not to stress out over the million other things going on in your work and simply let go. Getting ill (a possibility with unbalanced living) over it will only make matters worse.

3. Adapt to the capabilities of your smartphone to set the work/personal life divisions mentioned in #1. With calls, emails, texting, and social media, among many other features, smartphones are our second office (first for many remote workers). 

On the other hand, we often ignore their abilities to do so much more for balancing our lives like email auto-reply, scheduling times to send/receive emails, and a “Do Not Disturb” that even turns off notifications for social media that may tempt you from focusing on non-work matters.

4. Finally, consider hiring help. If you work 80 hours a week, the time and stress freed by having reliable back-up will be better not just for your business but for you. Studies have also shown that working more than 60 hours per week has diminishing returns, so save yourself the heartache and start working on managing your employees as well as your own time. 


This article was contributed by Jacob Smith, he runs an illustration studio in Chicago in addition to being a professional illustrator.