At some point in your entrepreneurial journey, you will begin to realize that if you don’t get away from the office and live life, you will not only resent the business you’re building, you will slowly begin to hurt it.
As the CEO and Co-Founder of Web Talent Marketing, I tried to maintain a certain level of perspective as I was building my business. There often would come a time where I had just put in a large number of hours and stood on the precipice of doing more or taking some time to myself. I knew in those moments that if I knocked out more billable hours, spent more time on business development or focused more attention on our own marketing that the company would be that much further ahead because of it.
I also knew, however, that if I wasn’t reaping some of the enjoyment that comes from all that hard work, there really was no point to doing it in the first place. I discovered that if I forced myself to get away from work, the ensuing departure reinforced the love I had for what I was doing. Absence, as the saying goes, really does make the heart grow fonder.
I realized something else, too: having a life outside the business allowed me to be more effective at growing it.
So, how did I do it?
- By automating as much as much as possible. One of the great entrepreneurial arts is leveraging time effectively and eliminating wasted effort. Efficiency is critical to the formative period of a business. If you find yourself doing similar tasks repeatedly, find a way to automate them. Whether this is streamlining communication, automating your workflow or simply establishing an approval hierarchy, you’ll find time to do some of the important things.
- By blocking personal time. Not everyone understands that the key to happiness is making others happy. However, your life (and your business) will improve greatly if you can identify what your friends and family need and find ways to give it to them. If this means meeting your friends for Happy Hour every Thursday after work, do it. If it means having dinner with your family every night at 6 p.m., find a way to make it happen. This structured personal time will give you a mental break and give you something to look forward to consistently.
- By committing to having fun. My company is well known for its laughter. Prospects are aware of it, clients are aware of it, and of course, our employees are aware of it, too. This is no accident. A little levity can break up the day and provide some respite for those intense weeks. Fun also translates into enjoyment, and when people see you enjoying your work, they naturally want to be a part of it. That’s good for attracting and recruiting talented teammates, as well as future clients.
Good leaders empower the people they manage, and they build trust with the people they serve. Taking time to enjoy life provides a frame of reference that helps foster both these goals.