I've been navigating the entrepreneurial life for about 30 years now, with four businesses and a fifth about to be launched.
This entrepreneurial life continues to be fun, exciting, exhausting, scary, and overwhelming, all at the same time.
There are times when a "normal" 9-5 job seems awfully good, but those moments are fleeting, and so quickly I'm once again caught up in the excitement of my 10-, 12-, even 15-hour workdays.
Over the years I've developed more than a few life hacks that help me keep multiple plates spinning while allowing me to maintain a healthy work-life balance. In spite of all the entrepreneurial obligations, I'm able to seize these life hacks to make balancing it all possible.
Here are a few that work for me:
Life Hack #1:
I wake up early and stick to a routine. My internal alarm clock may not always have been set for 5AM, but nowadays it sure is. I wake up early so I can enjoy the hours of the morning when most of the world around me is quiet, when emails are not flying back and forth and I have time to stay focused on a single important task. By 7AM most of the other "early birds" are getting their day started while I've spent two productive hours working in undisturbed comfort.
Life Hack #2
It's better to do something than nothing. This may not sit well with all people, but waiting for the "perfect moment" to take action is just not my style. Work or play, I tend be action-driven and take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. I find that early response leads to decisive action.
Life Hack #3
Carve out time for friends and family. Being an entrepreneur may involve long hours, irregular schedules, and impromptu obligations, and it may require extra effort to find time to spend with the important people in your life. Be creative and seize the moments when you can. For example, when my children were very young I used to take them on select business trips. Some may find this impossible or unwise; in hindsight, it was a much better idea than leaving them behind for a week at a time. Arranging for childcare was pretty simple when compared with missing them for an entire week.
Life Hack #4
Be organized and stay organized. I don't mean that your desk is kept spotless and your email inbox completely empty. I'm referring to a more practical, realistic sense of organization, such as how to keep a schedule or how to accomplish a To-Do list. I keep copious notes, use two calendars (manual and electronic), and review both multiple times per day. If my way doesn't work for you, you should develop an organizational system that suits your personal style.
Life Hack #5
Take vacations when you need them. It's important to be able to clear your day and give yourself an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. You don't have to go to an exotic, faraway destination; you can have a "staycation" in which you remove yourself from the day-to-day responsibilities of your job and occupy a more relaxed reality for a short period of time.
Consider applying these life hacks to your own entrepreneurial life. They've worked for me and could ensure you a 30+ year career.