Entrepreneurship: Work and Life Balance
Entrepreneurs expect to work long and hard – there are dangers involved in this so understand how to minimize them.
I began this series of articles on entrepreneurship by pointing out that entrepreneurs, successful entrepreneurs anyway, are likely to be driven people who see all relationships in terms of their commercial potential and all activities and events as possible inputs into future ventures. Since we live in a capitalist system and entrepreneurs wish to be successful, this is a perfectly acceptable way to behave but it is also personally dangerous. Entrepreneurs who behave in this way risk losing their friends and family members (because of the way they view those relationships), their personal health (through over-work) and, perhaps of most concern to the entrepreneur herself, the ability to work because of burn out. Is it necessary to do something about this?
Clearly, there is such a need – life can be long and hard and there is a need to be productive throughout the whole length of it. Exactly what to do about it is going to be dependent on individual and personal factors which are hard to predict here. However, there are some principles which might be appropriate for everyone and those will be discussed here.
First is the need to designate some particular period of time focused on something else other than entrepreneurial opportunities and the hurly-burly of the daily grind. How much time is required is one of those personal factors which it is up to the individual to determine – probably a little bit more than the entrepreneur thinks and a bit less than her family members think.
Third, entrepreneurs should always have in their mind the goals for which they are working and the objectives they are seeking. Since you expect to work hard over an extended period, there must be times of success when the objectives have been achieved and the fruits of success enjoyed. Resorting to the same stereotype (which, like all such stereotypes, has a grain of truth embedded within it), entrepreneurs in the west have the idea of personal consumption on a spectacular level while those in the east have a longer-term perspective involving reinvestment and family development. Whatever it is, make sure that milestones to success are properly plotted and, when they are achieved, they are properly marked.Second, the means of switching the mind to something else will also vary. Many people in western countries, too many probably, resort to the use of substances or stimulants which are addictive and ultimately health-threatening. Alternatives, especially here in Asia, include meditation, while there are proponents of gardening (zen style), sex, golf and artistic endeavours. It is better to find something which helps the mind and consciousness to be developed in different but complementary ways to the normal mode of operation.