As any entrepreneur will tell you, running your own business takes a whole lot of time and dedication. You’re in charge of executing the day-to-day tasks, the long-term strategic planning and everything in between.
With all of these responsibilities, on top of your own personal obligations, succumbing to stress and burning out might seem inevitable. But with the right time-management strategies, you can learn to create room on your to-do list for well-deserved rest and relaxation. Small business owners and startup leaders shared their best tips for finding “you” time (and a refreshed perspective) as an entrepreneur.
- Build a great team. “Entrepreneurs work longer and harder hours than anyone else, but if your heart isn’t in it, then trying to make your business a success is going to burn you out. Are you spending time on the aspects you love or are you finding yourself stuck crunching numbers or micromanaging others? Hiring the right people and building the right systems will help others carry your vision, so you can focus on what you love in and outside of the business.” – Eric Casaburi, CEO and founder, Retro Fitness
- Delegate tasks to free up your time. “To be a successful entrepreneur, a person must sacrifice the most valuable asset in life: time. Yet, to avoid burn out … it is crucial to understand time management. Remember, you are not married to the business, and it does not love you back. Try to delegate, and hire a motivated and competent staff. Sometimes, it is hard to let go of micromanaging, but in order to grow and think big, you must learn how to trust and develop talent.” – Elan Katz, CEO, Cure Urgent Care
- Treat your time like a financial budget. “Be fiscally responsible. Budget free time first, much like you would put money into a savings account. Then build a monthly budget around the remainder of your expenses or time spent working. By sticking to your budget, you’re forced to allocate the expenses you can afford and cut unnecessary expenses. For example, you can decline meetings you don’t need to attend, or delegate client questions to team members who are more than capable of handling them on their own. Challenge yourself each day to unplug outside the office and hold yourself accountable to your time budget.” – Yuri Sagalov, co-founder and CEO, AeroFS
- Try a different tech tool. “Take a week away from your computer and try running everything from your [mobile device]. It’ll force you to communicate and get closer with your team.”– Konrad Billetz, founder, Frameri
- Unchain yourself from your desk. “There is nothing like a change of scenery to get creative juices flowing in ways they wouldn’t otherwise. Take time out of the office and use that time to think creatively about the business. [This] sends a message to the team that unconventional thinking is good, rewarded and something to constantly seek out.” – Sandra Ponce de Leon, co-founder, Lifetime Memori, Inc., creators of Trunx
- Pursue a nonwork hobby you’re passionate about. “Pick one thing you really love doing that has nothing to do with work, whether it’s reading, dancing or singing. Take some time to do … that nonwork-related [activity] and make it a routine.”– Katherine Niefeld, president and CEO, BlinkPR
- Play as hard as you work. “You have to find the one thing that makes you happiest and do it, and for me, that’s golf. I play when I am home at least four times a week, because I can still do business on the course. I apply the same passion in my work as my play, and they both give me the same thrill and challenges.” – Dan Brinton, CEO, Fractured Prune Doughnuts
- Stick to your routine, no matter what. “My business requires so much traveling, so I try hard to stay grounded and healthy no matter where I am. I keep my routine and eat as well as I can to take care of myself. Every day, I try to meditate in the morning, and I do yoga at the end of the day as often as I can. I have very challenging and exhausting days, but when you do what you love, it’s easy to get re-energized and start in again the next day.” – Jennifer Adams, CEO, Jennifer Adams Worldwide
- Actively make time for yourself.“I need euphoria, peace and tranquility — aka, the expensive luxury of doing nothing. These things have to be incorporated in your daily living. I always find time to meditate at least 20 minutes a day. I find the time to get in the car and drive an hour to a place unknown, because the ride is silent and peaceful. You have the time, [but] you also have to make the time. Learn how to create time for yourself. There is nothing wrong with stepping away from the desk or computer and saying, ‘Enough is enough. I am taking a break.'” – Jimmy Gilchrist, founder, Rock N Dade