From Bill Gates to the one-person law firm, it’s imperative to have a work-life balance.

Are you living the dream, or are you living in a controlled chaos nightmare?

Many entrepreneurs love what they do, but they struggle with achieving work-life balance.  Everything from not having enough hours in the day to achieve what you set out to accomplish, having free time to spend with loved ones and on personally fulfilling activities, and, on top of all that, getting enough sleep, healthy meals and exercise to maintain a  well-rounded life.

Being overworked isn’t healthy for anyone. It can lead to a number of health problems, most notably stress-induced issues like insomnia and heart disease.  A lack of sleep can also lead to accidents and the inability to function at your best during the day.

Beyond health issues, however, is the fact that many entrepreneurs simply want to spend more time with their family.  After all, many people start their own businesses to escape the rat race and create their own reality, one that includes determining their own schedule and spending ample time doing the things they love.

For small business owners, work life balance isn’t so straightforward.  Especially as their business is growing, many owners find themselves immersed in the day-to-day needs of their company.  From finding and hiring talent to marketing the opportunities.  It’s hard to break away even for an hour, much less take a vacation.

But it’s not an entirely impossible task.  over the years, many high-profile entrepreneurs have shared their secrets for how they juggle their ultra-busy professional lives with their personal and social lives.  Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says the keys to maintaining balance for him are flexibility, delegating work and prioritizing time for fun.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” told MBA students in 2012 that his decision to stay in Nebraska rather than move to New York City, where life is a constant rush and expensive, has helped him maintain a more balanced life. “You may need to do fifty things a day in New York, but I’d rather to do some reading in my office and do one to two things a day and do them well,” he said, according to the website Market Folly.

So, What’s the magic sauce

Outsourcing Key Tasks

If you are a small firm, the first step is to invest in you.  The main focus of time management is to hire out all non-revenue generating tasks, including administrative work, website maintenance and social media posts, etc.   Simply put, your time is more valuable.

Outsourcing will  afford you the time to focus on growing your business and keep a manageable schedule that allows you to have a personal life.

Hiring the Right People

Don’t hire just anyone.  If the person does not see the vision of the company and more over your vision, they will become a time vampire.  Don’t hire people for what you can teach them, hire them for what they can bring to the table.  For example, if you need someone to organize your office, and maintain a proper time management agenda.  Find someone that has mastered that in a similar company or industry.  They either have or don’t.

Prioritizing Life – Time management

There are only two choices when it comes to time.  You manage it, or it will certainly manage you. 

Our lives as businesspeople are broken down into three categories.  The art of time management is to embrace the concept and manage the three categories proactively, deliberately and on a recurring basis.

The three categories can be broken down as follows:

“A” Time – The time you spend when people are buying you.

No matter what you do in life people are buying you.  They are not buying a product or a service before they buy you.  This is the time that you are on the top of your game.  Showing what you are made of.  Clearly illustrating how you can benefit the person sitting in front of you. 

Three simple rules:

•        Allocate set times, on a recurring basis, that you are going to allow people to buy you.

•        Determine the circumstance that will prevent you from keeping that appointment.

•        If the time needs to be moved, move the time box to the new time, do not simply ignore it.

“B” Time – The time you use preparing for “A” time. 

This is the time you gather all the data needed in order to prepare for the time people are buying you.  Gathering background information on the prospect.  Identifying industry connections to the prospect.  Conceptualizing the obvious needs of the prospect.

In addition, this time is also used to create a culture of proactive accountability for your staff.   Share your calendar with your immediate staff.  This allows them to know that this is the time you have allocated for them to come to you, with the results of what they are tasked with. For them to always be prepared, so they can report to you as progress is being made or the desired results are achieved.  This is done on a regular basis.  Reversing the accountability to them to come to you proactively, rather than you having to ask for information and results each time. 

“C” Time – The time you designate as your personal time. 

Without having the time to enjoy your life and setting time aside for this you will not understand your “WHY”.  Why work as hard as you do if you can’t reap the reward?   If you are counting the days to your vacation, you are not in tune with your “WHY”.   As boring as this may sound, you MUST make time for yourself and have it set in your calendar on a recurring basis. 

Some examples are:

•        Gym time – Work on your health and fitness.

•        Self-improvement – Reading… Retreats… Reflection.

•        Vacations – With family, friends or alone.

•        Date night – Time to go out on a regular basis with your significate other or friends.

Although you will have designated times for each of these activates it does not preclude you from doing these activities more often.  

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