I have a problem. I'm a relatively new co-founder and generally a beginner in the startup world. For the last few years that I've been doing startups and starting new businesses, I was in a constant sprint, which pretty much made me abandon my social life and relationships outside work. When I start a new project I don't get off of the computer until I finish with everything related to it. It's like the world stops for a while. Later on, I find that it was running but just without me. It's the following problem I was reflecting on recently. In order to be the best, you have to sacrifice something and avoid things that are in your way of succeeding. On the other hand, being so determined might be emotionally and physically tiring and even damaging. I'd like to hear from successful entrepreneurs, how you managed your work-life balance and what helped you avoid getting into the trap of the no hours workday?
I had my second daughter three weeks after publicly launching my last company. Four months later, I was under so much stress I broke out in hives when attempting to fall asleep, and then proceeded to have such a hard time breathing I had to take benadryl and a cold shower. I woke up the next morning confused, frustrated, and very aware of a need for a change. Here are some lessons I learned - most of which can be summed up with the word "routine:"
1. Schedule just about everything (like Kris said).
2. Establish work hours. By creating a hard stop/start time on your work day, you'll begin to train your brain to stop chewing on incomplete tasks even when away from your work. I'm still bad at this, but getting much better. My brain would much rather work on a task until it's done. This is also why I/we gravitate towards wasting time on lots of small things vs. the important big things. Which leads me to...
3. Complete the hard, intimidating tasks in the morning. Avoid the false sense of accomplishment that comes from busy work.
4. Find something to quit on a monthly, if not weekly, basis.
5. Ask a few friends to call you regularly to hang out. You need people pursuing you.
6. Don't sleep with your phone in your room. Put your phone on a routine - plug it in outside your bedroom in the same place every night.
7. Take a digital "sabbath" - one day a week without your computer or phone.
8. Exercise!!! Even just a walk a day...
9. Pick a night to hang out with friends/spouse/partner every week and stick to it no matter what.
10. Remember very little is actually in your control. You can work your butt off and still see a company fail - it happens all the time.
11. Be happy with your best - even if you don't feel like it's good enough.
12. If you can, establish a specific location where you will work. Again, related to routines, this helps your brain compartmentalize.