The Story Exchange

Column One
Get a Life: Making Me Time
by Riva Richmond / July 21, 2015

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Well, maybe not if you own a business…

Entrepreneurs are famously hardworking, dedicated and passionate. But like everyone else, they need time off to relax, recharge and see friends and family.

Many women entrepreneurs have told us over the course of our 1,000 Stories project that a desire for flexibility, especially to be with young children, led them to start businesses. Many also include family life and the achievement of personal goals in their definitions of success as entrepreneurs.

For this special “Get a Life” series, we assembled an impressive group of experts and entrepreneurs to share their best advice for having a successful business as well as a personal life. Read on to see how they answered our first question:

What’s the best way for a busy entrepreneur with tight resources (or a busy employee) to control her work hours and take personal or family time — and maybe even a summer vacation?

Anne Weisberg, Families and Work Institute, follow @weisberganne

A feeling of being starved for time pervades our lives, with 60 percent of employees in the U.S. saying they don’t have enough time for themselves, according to our research. Many of us respond by trying to work even longer hours — trying to get all the work done so we can have time to ourselves. To turn this vicious cycle into a virtuous one, make these mindset shifts:

Accept that work life “balance” is a myth. Balance is static, but life is not. Accept that every day is different, and anchor your day-to-day in your overall priorities in all aspects of your life. Write them down and make decisions based on what is important, not what is urgent.

Don’t do it alone. Most of us work in teams, yet we struggle with work overload by ourselves. Harvard Business School Professor Leslie Perlow has shown that, when we think of work life as a team sport, everyone wins. Make sure everyone on the team knows what is important to each member and helps each other have time for what’s important.

As any competitive athlete will tell you, rest and recovery is essential to sustaining high performance. Making time for yourself shouldn’t be something you do when everything else is done. It should be woven into the way you live and work in today’s world.

To read the full story, click here.

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