Being an entrepreneur often means choices; Choices such as leaving on time to put the kids to bed, or waiting in the office until midnight for the trans-Atlantic phone call to confirm a sale. Choices such as taking a holiday, or going to the office as really there is no one else that is able to do what you do… Being business leaders, we have an insatiable urge to create something as we know we can do it better. But should this be at the risk of our health, family and friends?

With the advancement of technology, we are able to work any time and anywhere.   In fact, the Harvard School of Business reported that 94% or working people spend more than 50 hours a week at work, with nearly half of these reporting they worked for 65 hours a week plus.  These work rates, with the additional stress of a never ending work day is damaging to say the least, and will affect all relationships, health and eventually take out all the enjoyment you had for your business.

Meditate and Exercise

Meditation is cited as a great way to start the day.  So much so, that Ray Dalio, Founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates – as reported by New York Magazine has built it into his companies culture – as has former Monsanto CEO Rob Shapiro who discovered meditation whilst at Harvard.

Meditation and exercise (a.k.a mindfulness), has many benefits, from allowing you to view challenges from a different perspective, to building confidence, reducing stress and increasing creativity.

A great app, especially for those who have limited time (and one that I am personally trying out as we speak), is the 5k app.  This will take you from the couch to running 5km in only 20 minutes a day.  For a more gentle approach, the best app available is the Headspace app that says, “10 minutes could change your whole day”.

Stop Being a Perfectionist

The one thing I have heard when interviewing business leaders of multinational national companies, all the way to your one-man consultant, is that they have learnt the hard way to stop being a perfectionist.  Being a perfectionist when at school was OK; you only had to focus on school, sports and how you looked.  But now your life is far more complicated then it was at 16.  Allowing your high standards to slip is not a bad thing.  You need to strive for excellence – not perfection!

Learn When to Stop

Having access to our work from home around the clock is great, but it also means that we will use it. In order to have a good nights sleep, so we can feel refreshed for the following morning, we need to learn to unplug at a reasonable hour, with suggestions ranging anything from 2 to 1 hour before sleep.  There is a good reason for this, studies shows that the light from smart devices and computer screens can delay your sleep.  Whilst “delay your sleep” may not sound ominous at first, when you counter that with your time being so precious that you don’t have enough hours in the day to spend with friends or family, would you really want to spend an hour or so trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep, when you could have spent it with your nearest and dearest?

Shutting the Door

I know everyone wants a boss who has an open door policy where by your employees feel welcome into your office at all times, but for entrepreneurs and business leaders, this often isn’t feasible.  There are plenty of things you can be doing rather than hearing about your cleaner’s Facebook timeline for 15 minutes.  Just think; you could have called three people to chase their contracts in this time.  It isn’t that you are being rude, it is prioritising.  By closing the door when you know you need to focus, you won’t be needlessly interrupted, as everyone will know that you are working.  If they really need you, they will knock and ask if they can chat.  Another CEO suggested removing chairs opposite your desk to remove the suggestion that they can sit and talk.  If you want them to stay, pull in a chair from outside to invite them in – Then remove it as soon they leave.  This isn’t being rude or selfish.  It is getting the job done so you can focus on the other important areas in your life…

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