For many professionals across the greater Middle East, entrepreneurship has provided an opportunity to both expand their career horizons and share their most innovative ideas to advance the regional economy. As thrilling as it is to operate your own startup, however, it can also be fraught with challenges. All entrepreneurs typically anticipate that they will come up against difficult situations such as financial roadblocks, but fewer consider the ways this career path can have a negative effect on their personal lives.
In its “Work-Life Balance in the MENA” poll, Bayt.com found that about 27 percent of professionals struggled to maintain a balance between their work and home lives. These individuals felt that their happiness and mental health had begun to deteriorate as a result. Even more respondents (43.3 percent) admitted that they had not been able to achieve the work-life balance that they desired. Despite this, 89.3 percent of all those who participated in the poll said they believe that balancing their personal lives with their business responsibilities was a feasible goal.
This can be true for anyone, even entrepreneurs who are working tirelessly to get their startups off the ground and on a pathway to success. Let’s take a look at the best ways that budding entrepreneurs can work toward a better work-life balance.
Be more productive while at work.
The more you get done throughout the workday, the less you will need to make up during your personal time. More than 22 percent of respondents to Bayt.com’s poll agree that enhancing your productivity is the single most important thing you can do to help balance your work and personal life more effectively.
It’s important to remember that your productivity isn’t always based around the volume of work you do, but the efficiency with which you do it. If you’re finding it difficult to complete your daily work, start with eliminating distractions such as social media. Don’t be afraid to give yourself breaks throughout the day; taking the time to meditate or simply step away from your work will increase your focus and enable you to work that much smarter when you return.
Block out your time accordingly.
As an entrepreneur, you may feel like you need to be on the clock all the time. In reality, you should be blocking out your days to accommodate both your work and personal time. This can be as simple as devising a schedule that includes work shifts similar to those you would have at a conventional job. However, you don’t have to work the typical 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. if that doesn’t appeal to you; choose your hours based on your own preferences, taking into account when you’re most productive and when you need to be available for clients and colleagues.
Adhering to this schedule means you will be cutting off your work at a certain point each day. Once your shift is over, spend your personal time away from all work responsibilities, unless it’s an absolute emergency that demands your attention. Not only does this create more separation between your work and the rest of your life, but it can also help give your life more structure.
Schedule activities in your personal life.
It isn’t enough to devise a schedule for work responsibilities; you should also plan time for activities in your personal life. Busy entrepreneurs often feel pressed to spend their personal time taking care of household chores and errands that aren’t related to their business, but still constitute a form of work. That’s why it’s important to set some time aside to go to the park with your family, meet your friends for dinner, or take a vacation. Whatever you do with your free time, add these activities to your schedule ahead of time and make sure to stick to it. This will ensure you’ll be using at least some of your non-work time to actually do fun things with those you love.
Don’t be afraid to blend your two lives somewhat.
Though some separation is important, many people find it difficult to keep their work and personal life 100% mutually exclusive. That’s okay—it’s possible to blur the lines between them and still achieve that sense of harmony.
For instance, it is perfectly alright to bring talk of your startup into your home. Including your family in all your triumphs and failures will help ease your own mind and allow them to support your work. By the same token, don’t be afraid to share stories from your personal life at the office. This will help you connect with your team. Of course, you don’t want to divulge too much, and some subjects—like politics, your health, relationship troubles, and money, for example—are often better left at home.
Lean on your team.
As tempting as it may be to try and do absolutely everything for your startup, you can’t always take charge of every task. You must learn how to delegate certain workloads to your staff and trust that they will be able to complete them up to your standards. Don’t let excuses hold you back from relinquishing some of your responsibilities to your team. You may think it’s easier to do everything yourself, but hopefully, you hired everyone on your staff because they are smart and capable. Give them something to do—they may surprise you!
Don’t chase perfection.
As an entrepreneur, you need to realize that there is no such thing as a “perfect” work-life balance. Don’t waste your time trying to achieve absolute equilibrium, and don’t worry if sometimes your work or your personal life consumes all your time. This will inevitably happen once in a while. Follow the advice here and do your best to achieve the balance that’s right for you.