3 years into my Entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder at ChefXChange, the Online Destination for Culinary Experiences, I have been asked countless times if there is such a thing as work-life balance for an Entrepreneur. This prompted me to ask myself that same question repeatedly. For those who know me, ie. team members, investors, friends and family, they would answer without any hesitation “No”. At the expense of killing the suspense and you not continuing reading my post, I will answer by simply saying that the question itself is formulated incorrectly: what you should ask yourself or your entrepreneur friends is “are you passionate about what you are doing?” If you get “Yes” as an answer, your/their journey is your/their life’s work, and you should support them in it.
In this post, I would like to share what my usual day looks like as well as sharing tips on how to make sure you will last in what is going to be a marathon and not a sprint.
Is there such a thing as work-life balance for an Entrepreneur?
A day in my life.
My days start early, waking up by 6:30am (worth noting I do not drink caffeine), checking my emails and then heading to the gym or outdoors for a 45min work out. I then start my working day by 8:30am, catching up on urgent transactional tasks and anything administrative that needs to be done. I then connect with members of my team, and start handling the day to day. When in the office, I will cook my own lunch, giving me a 30min lunch break to resource myself. In the afternoon I usually schedule my meetings, and by 6:30pm when most of the team and the outside world leaves the office, this is when I hit the peak of my productivity with no interruptions. I will spend the next 3 hours or so working on more strategic topics, connecting with my co-founder, doing market research, etc… I usually end my day by 10pm, leaving me an hour to disconnect – watch a movie or TV series, read the news – before going to bed by 11pm.
I would now like to emphasize on 4 of the habits, briefly touched upon above, I recommend to each and everyone of you, which will allow you to be at your peak for as long as possible.
There is no “right” amount of sleep and each one of us have different needs, but one thing’s for sure, sleep deprivation prevents our immune system from building up its forces and leads to chronic illnesses. A minimum of 6 hours and a maximum of 8 hours is recommended. Additionally, you need to make sure you keep the same rhythm and sleeping pattern, ie set a time you need to go to bed and wake up during the week and stick to it. Once that discipline is set, you won’t need an alarm to wake up and your biological clock will take care of the rest.
In our modern life, we now spend an average of 10 hours sitting at a desk or couch and staring at a computer screen or TV. This is leading to the biggest health problems in human history: back pain and obesity. Also, since we evolved from a hunting to a farming society we barely move on an average day compared to our grandparents or even our parents. It is primordial for your brain to function properly – and most importantly for your body – to exercise daily, 30 to 45min a day, no matter the time of day. When you exercise, your body releases several different chemicals in your brain (neurotransmitters), making you more productive. I prefer the mornings to get my blood flowing and hit the ground running at work. I would strongly recommend reading “The 4-hour body” by Tim Ferriss.
In a day and age where junk food (and health enemy number 1 SUGAR) are available at the tip of a finger with apps such as Deliveroo or UberEats and on every supermarket shelves, it is very easy to succumb to temptation and eat foods (I shouldn’t even call them that) that give you immediate satisfaction and fill you up, especially when having a stressful day. This will lead to an insulin spike and huge crash of your immune system, making you feel tired and shutting down your brain. Instead, and whenever possible, take this time to feed and resource yourself with nutritious and fresh ingredients, and in an ideal world cook for yourself (the evening before) or get home cooked food. This is also one of the reasons we at ChefXChange, launched our home cooked meal delivery service so that busy people get to still eat hearty and homey meals in the office, dishes that their grandma or mother used to do when they were kids.
Surround yourself with other Entrepreneurs
We often hear “you are who you frequent”. I can assure you that these days, my surroundings are very different from my banking days, in terms of who I hang out with and where. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will help you in many ways: getting advice, learning from others success and failures, good sparing partners, and most importantly they “get” you. You are all in the same boat and you won’t have to justify why you don’t have time to call or see them often. I always make it a point to meet once a month with some fellow entrepreneurs and we exchange tips and learnings.
If you start incorporating those habits in your day to day entrepreneur life, I can guarantee you will feel years younger, much more productive and never face a burn out.
I hope you found the above useful and it will serve you well in your Entrepreneurial journey.This article was also published on Entrepreneur on May 17th, 2018. Do not hesitate to comment or reach out to me if you have any specific questions about the topic.