No question the most interesting statement from the interview I posted earlier today with Jun Loayza was when he said:
“As a young entrepreneur, you will have NO work/life balance. I am very serious about this. If you want to succeed, you need to be working 24/7 every day of the week.”
That’s why I wrote such a long response prior to asking my next question:
“It’s easy to be happy for a year or two working all day, every day. In my opinion, it’s hard to be happy doing that for a lifetime – one day you’ll wake up at age 50 and realize that you’ve missed out on love and relationships and wonderful experiences because you were obsessed with your company.”
That’s why Anthony took the time to write such a long comment:
“Adam – You’ve spent a lot of time on this blog advocating the fact that this is not true, and that entrepreneurs need to try as hard as possible to sidestep that misconception. I am with you on that. A true entrepreneur, and one who is on a path to success, may reach a peak of high workload, but for the most part, should constantly be on a steady decline of hours per day/week being worked. If you’re doing things right, you’re finding more and more ways to automate, delegate, etc.“
Work/life balance is a very touchy subject for anyone who runs a business. You clearly love your company, but happiness is rarely (if ever) achieved by loving one thing and neglecting your mental/physical health or your relationships with others.
As Adam Gilbert says, the way that you find out what is truly important to someone is by how they spend their time:
“In a world where people are moving a million miles per minute how can you actually tell what someone really cares about? Look at their calendar! It’s that simple. Your calendar never lies. All we have is our time. The way we spend our time is our priorities, is our strategy. Your calendar knows what you really care about. Do you?”
I’ll take that a step further. When it comes solely to the business owner and their work/life balance, take a look at how they spend their weekends. Do they use them to recoup and recover, or do they work just as much (or more) than they do during the week?
Why weekends? Because that’s the time the rest of the world takes off to rest. You can argue whether 2 days off for every 5 too little or too much, but it’s the way the world works and those are the only 2 days you get to really spend a legitimate amount of time with people in the rest of the world who have jobs.
So go ahead, ask me how I spend my weekends? Glad you asked.
To be honest, in 2006 and 2007 I worked most of my weekends. Probably 75% as much time as a weekday, but I’d have less distractions so I’d get the same amount done. Then again, my social life sucked. I justified it (and in retrospect I learned things a lot faster by having my entrepreneurial journey be 7 days/week as opposed to 5) but sacrificing my hobbies, friends, family, and dating life were things that wore on me increasingly. Those who knew me well often would wonder how I did it (half in amazement, half worried about my sanity). I always knew that at some point I’d have to balance things out a bit more. Sacrifice isn’t always admirable – sometimes it’s just plain stupid.
Earlier this year we moved into our warehouse. Sales continued to grow. We became more efficient. We gave ourselves raises. There was no longer a fear that one wrong move could cripple us. At that point – as hard as it was, even for someone cognizant of overworking themselves – I took a step back and made a conscious decision to work less. Every night I started doing something fun that was non work related. I started saying “yes” every time I got invited to a family party that I would have previously turned down. I tried to hang out with my friends more. Most importantly, I started treating my weekends as a time to rejuvenate myself for the coming weeks. Not to push myself closer to burn out.
Last weekend I went to a wedding. This coming weekend consists of camping for a night, my fantasy football draft, a full day of watching college football, a family dinner (yours truly is turning 26), and a massive party at my apartment on Sunday night. Very little work will be done. That’s OK. Because come Tuesday morning I’ll wake up and be ready to kick ass again. Taking time for myself doesn’t mean I don’t love what I do as much as I did before. If anything, the balance leaves me less stressful and more productive when I’m working. I’m more eager to work when I have a day or two away from it. Sure, I’ll still block out a weekend here and there to work on a side project because I enjoy those, but the majority of weekends now are for the other people and things in my life that aren’t related to Pure Adapt. I still have plenty of hours left in the week for my entrepreneurial fix.