Being an entrepreneur can be extremely rewarding. After all, you get to build something of your own — and possibly watch it grow. However, when you are an entrepreneur you have a great deal to do. Personal time for entrepreneurs is constantly in short supply. When you are your own boss, you can’t take vacation days, and there is always something to do, especially when you are just starting your business. While some of these pressures may ease as your business expands, allowing you a little more breathing room, you will find that, at the beginning, you are pressed for time.
It is important to realize, though, that personal time is essential to your health and wellness. You need time to relax and recharge in order to be a good entrepreneur, as well as to keep up with the important relationships in your life. Without some personal time, you will find that the stress in your life can quickly become overwhelming.
Making Time for Yourself as an Entrepreneur
Personal time does not just magically appear. You need to go out and find it. Here are some things you can do to ensure that you get some healthy personal time, even as you get your business under way:
- Schedule in some personal time: This is the most basic thing you can do to ensure that you get some personal time. Look over your schedule and insert some time for yourself. This can be an hour and a half for lunch with your significant other, three hours to take your kids to the zoo, or half an hour to read a book for pleasure. Make personal time with yourself and your family part of your daily routine. I like to take a long, 45-minute lunch every day, eating slowly while reading a book.
- Take a break: When you reach a good stopping point, take a break. This can include taking a 15-minute power nap, or taking 30 minutes to play a game with your children. Step away from your work at a convenient place. Recharging yourself will help you approach your next block of time with a fresh perspective and perhaps more energy. I find that taking a 10 minute meditation break twice a day helps me re-focus for my next stretch of work.
- Prioritize tasks: Sometimes, something can wait until tomorrow. Look ahead and figure out when you need to get things done. Prioritize your tasks so that most important items are done first. Then, if you need to take some personal time at the end of the day, you can because you have got the necessities out of the way. I make a list in my calendar of everything that has to be done that day, and then list items that I can work on when those most important items are done. I work my way through the list, ensuring that all deadlines are met. During the summer, this is especially important, since my schedule is turned upside down by my son’s presence for most of the day. I try start on the most important things first, and then take some time out to play with my son, or take him to summer activities, before continuing my work.
- Start the day with personal time: Go to the gym, go for a run, meditate or do some other activity first thing in the morning. You can even just take your time over a family breakfast. Start the day with a 30 to 60 minute activity that allows you to enjoy yourself or improve yourself, and find a store of optimism and energy that might make you more productive, and possibly get your creative juices flowing. I like to go swimming right after I drop my son off at school. I enjoy the activity; it’s something I look forward to each day. And, because I take care of myself first thing, it reduces feelings of burnout later, and provides me with vigor for the rest of day. Making sure I am taken care of first also puts me in a fit emotional state to take care of my loved ones.
You will be a better entrepreneur if you can take some time for yourself on a regular basis. It’s hard sometimes to stop working when you don’t have set hours and a traditional place to go to work. However, you need to learn to say “no”, and learn to quit for the day. I make it a point to be mostly done with work when my son gets home from school. While I may still have a few things to finish up for later, it is important to me to include time for family. As an entrepreneur, it’s not always easy to stop a project and take care of family obligations, but I find I am rewarded when I do.
What do you do to make personal time?
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.