Note: This article originally appeared in Emily’s Inc.com column, Own It.
You’re running a successful business, but you can’t seem to leverage enough time to scale it, let alone enjoy enough freedom away from it. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. While most articles will lead you to believe the key to having it all is balance, even top leaders and experts agree, it’s not realistic.
A better analogy for finding success in life as a modern business owner is running a marathon. There are times when you have to work hard, keep your head down, and just sprint. Then there are times when you can slow your pace, jog for a bit, and enjoy the scenery.
Forget the endless pursuit of balance. Follow these 3 steps of successful entrepreneurs instead to set a good pace for your business and your life.
Set Clear Boundaries
The idea of setting boundaries between different areas of your life has been around forever but has even more merit today as the lines between those areas fade more and more. Take some time to determine what your personal boundaries are in terms of when you plan to be readily available for work and when you might not be. Likewise, determine what personal or family times you are absolutely not willing to miss and which ones might be able to occasionally take a backseat if a work issue comes up.
Once you set them, share them with the closest people to you on your team and in your family so they can help you follow them.
Make Technology Work for You
There are many tools on the market that can help you create a great life rhythm for yourself. Your email scheduler is a great place to start. This allows you to respond to messages whenever is most convenient for you, while still following a set schedule with clients.
Apart from email, make sure you’re tracking the time that you spend working. It’s valuable information to have, not just to ensure you’re profitable on projects, but also to understand how you’re allocating your work time. This will help you to plan better once you know what you’re spending the most time on, where you’re wasting time, and where you need to devote more time. There are a number of good time-tracking apps that make it easy.
Some of the world’s top-performing entrepreneurs make sleep, health, and spirituality their biggest priorities. Tony Robbins is known for an extensive self-care routine that includes cold plunges, cryotherapy, and jumping on a rebounder. You don’t have to get that fancy, but the saying, “what gets scheduled gets done,” is true for taking care of yourself, too.
Block out time for the obvious things that contribute to an overall healthy self, like working out, meal planning and grocery shopping. But don’t forget to add other essential elements to your calendar too, like time for practicing your faith, meditation or sufficient downtime to unwind. The elusive work-life balance doesn’t mean a thing without you in it, so take self-care as seriously as you do taking care of your biggest clients and projects