It is widely believed that entrepreneurs need to work long hours and weekends to achieve business success. Investing that much time in building your company to the detriment of personal time is often glorified as the “well-trodden path” that all the greats took before you.
But that should not be the case. By learning how to delegate and work smart and efficiently, entrepreneurs can successfully reduce their work week and spend more time with their loved ones, while still putting in enough effort toward their company’s growth and prosperity. These six entrepreneurs share a few practical steps any entrepreneur can take to reduce a 60-hour work week to 40 or even 30 hours, thus achieving better work-life balance.
Delegate as much as possible.
“When I first started out as an entrepreneur, I was doing everything myself — client management, sales, bookkeeping, etc.” says digital marketing expert Jean Ginzburg. Doing everything yourself, however, is not a guarantee that you’re doing things right. In fact, it just costs you more time in the long run.
“As my company grew, I realized this was not a sound method,” she explains. “I hired a team to help with day-to-day management and specialized tasks while I focused on strategy and growing the business.”
Work on what matters.
In addition to delegating, identifying and prioritizing the tasks that each team member must accomplish helps everyone on the team get more done. This system worked for ThriveHive CTO Max Faingezicht: “Early on at our company, we worked like crazy and yet never felt like we were getting enough done. Learning to prioritize and delegate was the most impactful thing we did to reclaim our time.”
“Identify the top three things that each person on your team needs to accomplish. Make that list very visible and hold everyone accountable,” he shares. “You’ll see productivity, morale and work-life balance improve.”
Automate systems and processes.
A good way to reduce your workload and create work-life balance is by automating tedious but time-consuming processes, according to CPA Exam Guide Founder Bryan Kesler.
“I used to have to track down customers whose recurring credit card charges failed. Thanks to dunning services like Baremetrics and webhook services like Zapier, I was able to automate this whole process and save myself 4-5 hours per week, recovering thousands in lost revenue as I sleep,” Kesler explains.
Create time constraints.
“I have found that a set of goals or tasks will usually take up the entire amount of time I allocate for them,” shares SkyBell Co-Founder Andrew Thomas. His solution? To give himself less time to complete his tasks.
“For example, if I think revising my deck will take three hours, I’ll give myself two. It forces you to sit down, get things done and move on,” he says. “If you don’t have the luxury of working slowly or finding distractions, then you won’t.”
Another way of making sure you are not distracted by any trivial matters in the office is to “cultivate ignorance,” according to Rachel Beider, CEO of Massage Outpost.
“Put a price point on dealing with certain problems or issues, and let your team members know that you are not to be bothered with projects or issues costing a certain amount,” she explains. “For example, at our studio, if something breaks and it costs less than $50 to fix it, there’s no need to escalate it to management — our team is empowered to handle it and let us know after the fact.”
Taking time out of your busy schedule to exercise may sound counterintuitive, but it is actually the exact opposite: Exercise can offer a boost in energy and mental clarity. “Even when you are busy, you make times for crucial things — using the bathroom, sleeping. However, the first thing to do when our calendars get tight is exercise,” says ChannelApe CEO Michael Averto.
“Exercising, even if only for 20 minutes, helps me increase energy and focus, and even improve my memory. I’ve found that this simple, basic necessity helps me get the same amount of work done in less time each week,” Averto concludes.