When starting a business, it’s not unusual to feel like it’s consuming you. It takes a lot to get a company up and running. And sometimes, the work you
have to do trickles into your personal life. From checking email at dinner to canceling weekend plans with friends for work, it’s all too common to put your personal and social life on the back burner to nurture your young business. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how you can create a work-life balance that actually works.
How Much Do We Work?
According to data from Hamermesh and Stancanelli, the average American works 41 hours per week. This number seems standard at first, however, when compared to other countries, like Spain, whose workforce clocks in for an average of 34.6 hours per week or the Netherlands with a 32.7-hour workweek, our long hours seem excessive. Additionally, American employees are more likely to work weekends and nights.
A study from the nonprofit Families and Work Institute shows that one in three U.S. employees are chronically overworked. Americans work a lot. Why? Our cellphones may be to blame. It’s too easy to check our work inboxes during non-work hours and skim through to-do lists when we’re out of the office. Today the lines between work life and personal life are blurred due to the 24/7 accessibility of technology. The study also found that 44 percent of people who had contact with the office outside of working hours reported being highly overworked. Powering off at 6 p.m. might just be the simple solution to leading a happier, healthier more productive life. This way you can enjoy time spent with your family and friends without the interruption of email notifications or business calls. It can wait until morning.
Pick Up A Hobby
You life cannot consist of all work. It’s unhealthy. Having a hobby can not only help you pass the time during non-working hours, but having outside-of-work activities can make you more productive at work. In addition to making you more productive, hobbies can ignite creativity, boost confidence, connect you to new social circles and help you clear your mind and relax. Take up running, find DIY projects on Pinterest or adopt a new hobby like beer brewing.
Take A Vacation
Sure, it might sound crazy to step away from your startup in its infancy, but research has shown that vacation time leads to increased productivity. According to a study from Oxford Economics, more than 40 percent of American employees who receive paid time off don’t use all of their vacation hours. The unused vacation hours total up to a whopping 429 million unused vacation days. Additionally, the study found that vacation time has a myriad of benefits including stronger workplace morale, increased employee retention, higher productivity levels and vacation time can even benefit your health. In today’s technology-driven world you’re never too far from your business. While on vacation it’s easy to check in with your employees via Skype or email. So go ahead, take a vacation.