Category: Brand · 4 min read
Don’t Become Your Business
on February 27, 2020
on February 27, 2020
Elon Musk famously said that he works 120 hours per week.1 To put that in perspective, there are a total of 168 hours in a week.
What about you? How many hours do you log each week at work?
It can be easy to overdo it and go beyond the standard 40 hours because work is your primary passion. It’s your income, your life.
When you’re focused on your business, especially if you’re working 120 hours a week, everything else can seem less important. Your home life, hobbies, and family or free time can suffer. Your time away from work can start to seem like a waste, and can even lead to you using your time out of the office for more work.
Here are some ways to help make sure you detach every once in a while, so you don’t become consumed by your business.
Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
The first thing to go when work consumes your life is your life. Your social life, your family life, and your fun life all take a backseat. And that’s okay for short periods of time, but if that becomes the norm, it can quickly become unhealthy. Your friends might find new friends. Your family might start to expect to be disappointed. Your hobbies might start to collect dust.
You need a good balance of work and life, so that it doesn’t spin out of control one way or the other. Having a good work ethic and working hard is a great thing, but work isn’t the point of life. It’s one piece of the bigger puzzle. Your family and friends are just as big a piece of your life. This is a good reminder that you are more than just your job title, more than your business or achievements. You are more than your work. So, treat it that way. Put work in its rightful place, as a necessary but single part of many parts. Here are a few ways to do that practically.
Having a good work ethic and working hard is a great thing, but work isn’t the point of life. It’s one piece of the bigger puzzle.
Take a Lunch Break
How can you actually maintain a healthy work-life balance that resists the urge to work more, do more, and be more? It starts by taking breaks every day. Get up from your desk. Leave the office. Give yourself a mental break. You’ll be surprised at how helpful getting outside and going somewhere else can be for your mental energy and health. Grab lunch or coffee and slow down. Enjoy your food and drink, and relax. It’s easy to get consumed with the day-to-day work so much that you forget to give yourself space. You can end up so close to your work that you don’t realize your own needs. Taking breaks gives you the freedom to put a little energy towards yourself, not just your work.
Have a Hobby
What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hang out with friends? Try new restaurants? Paint? Read? Write? Play video games? Having a hobby or passion can help your work-life balance stay balanced. It gives you the desire to do something outside of work, something else to look forward to after the day is done. What is your thing? Find it and practice it. Get really good at it. This not only makes your time away from work more exciting, but it gives you more reason to work hard, so you can spend more time on your passion projects.
Turn Your Phone Off
It’s not a secret: we are addicted to our phones. Now we can always be connected to our work, even when we’re driving, in a meeting, or at home. We’re always available. Because of our mini-computers in our pocket, the work day doesn’t have to stop when we leave the office. Our phone keeps buzzing all hours of the night. It can be easy to quickly reply back to an email or send that follow-up you had been meaning to send during the day. On one hand, it’s nice that you are able to respond after hours, but soon, you’ve spent most of the night emailing back and forth about work things. In other words, you’re always on (at least until you close your eyes).
But being more connected isn’t always the best thing. I’ve found that when you truly take a break, put down your phone, and leave the office, the solutions to your problems often hit you. That cognitive break can clear your head and help you identify a creative solution that you hadn’t thought of before.
Being always available can lead to burnout and fatigue. Working from your phone can do more harm than good to your work-life balance. So, set boundaries. Don’t reply to that email, it can wait until the morning. If you need to, turn off your phone and put it somewhere else. By limiting your “on” time, you can free up your free time.
Talk to Someone About It
I’m a big believer in mentors. They’ve helped me throughout my life, and kept me going in the right direction. They can do the same for you. Finding someone that can give you the honest truth, even when it’s not what you want to hear, is invaluable. It can help expose the weaknesses and bad habits you didn’t know were there, and it’s a great avenue you can use to ask for advice and guidance. Want to keep your work-life balance intact and not become your business? Have a mentor or friend help keep you in check.
By limiting your “on” time, you can free up your free time.
It’s all too easy to put all of your time and energy into your business. Your motives may even be good, such as wanting to grow your business and helping more clients, but the cost can be high. You might lose more than you gain. Don’t become off balance. Work on keeping work at work, and be present when you’re home. Your life will benefit.
What helps keep your work-life balance balanced?
1. Business Insider. “Elon Musk says he works 120 hours a week, so we did the math to figure out exactly how much his time is work.” Aug. 21, 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-works-120-hours-a-week-this-is-how-much-his-time-is-worth-2018-8/?IR=T
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