Do you know why I’m excited to write this article..? Because I have no idea what the answer is to this headline yet. In fact my intention is that in the next 900 or so words I can figure that out not only for you but for myself and my own life. See entrepreneurialism is a tough road. It’s the road less travelled and it makes or breaks people every single day. The journey is taxing, and knowing how to balance yourself is a key to success- you can’t sprint a marathon.. So I should probably take my own advice by the time I reach my conclusion below..
For most; entrepreneurialism starts at home in a makeshift office, with high hopes and big dreams.. That’s exactly how it should start too. We plod along our course making mistakes, experiencing wins, stepping forward, being pushed back, and being knocked down in the pursuit of our own versions of business glory. It’s a wonderful, and challenging way to carve a living in life I gotta say. Me personally, I’ve gone from working out of my bedroom, to migrating to the dining room table, and stopping in the living room occasionally for a change of scenery, to working in an office where I’ve managed teams of people, to then going back to my bedroom, and upgrading once again to another office and so forth.. And what I can tell you is that there is a distinct difference between working from home and working in an office environment. Both worlds are miles apart.. both worlds cultivate different mindsets, and even productivity can be a big fluctuator between the two mediums.
For the sake of this headline though let’s focus on the work/life balance required when managing your ventures from your very own humble abode.. Here’s what I know (and remember this article is a voyage of discovery for me too):
Working from home is a challenge personally because I don’t know when to stop or when enough is enough. See when you work at an external location that isn’t your home your day is clearly segmented.. theres the travel to the office where I tend to listen to podcasts or something similar, the beginning of my work day, maybe a morning break, work some more, lunch (if I remember), work some more, travel home (another podcast), and me personally- I’ll likely put in more hours once I get there. And the thing about this kind of day is that I’ll usually achieve a level of satisfaction or completion I guess, because of that levelling of my time.. But here’s the flip side:
When working from home there’s no distance to travel, to mentally get in “work mode”.. For me, I get up, my workstation is 3 and half feet away and as soon as I’m awake, I’m into it. I lock onto the screen and away I go and I look up and BAM it’s time to have lunch (according to the clock) but I haven’t had breakfast yet? Not to mention I’m still in my pyjamas.. Productivity may be high but the mind still says “hey you’re still in your PJs man…” not to mention I look to the right and there’s an unmade bed there. This has the effect of me telling myself I’m not taking myself and my ambition seriously- no matter how much I do.. even though I recently taught myself a good level of web development operating this way.. all within a week.
So I ask myself, mature, self aware hat on: “Is this really a healthy, productive and sustainable way to operate?”
…As I sit on that one, the inner monologue of a workaholic screams at me to “harden up and crack on- 6 or 7 figures in the bank and entrepreneurial stardom will be worth the sacrifice”, but my wiser self has the bigger voice to be able to say “No I don’t think it’s the way Josh.. a candle doesn’t burn both ends..” and the real reality is: I’m looking for an answer that will not only help me, but will hopefully help you as the reader.. Within my heart of hearts, I don’t think I could honestly tell you that the way I do things is necessarily the best way at times.. Don’t get me wrong, pinning the ears back and slamming the foot on the gas has it’s place in the life of an entrepreneur.. But how can neglecting other priorities in my life (and remember we’re talking about you here too), even family and friends, to continually work on my success be solid process..? I don’t think I can- sure success (at least in it’s financial sense) may be achieved, but at the loss of everything else? So I wonder, does this sound vaguely familiar in your life? Because I highly doubt I’m the only one in this boat.
The fact of the matter is, is that in life there is a time and place for everything. Sure we’re entrepreneurs, but to the detriment of everything else around us that means anything anything at all? A million of any currency sitting in your bank account is after all but the means to possess objects, not experience and enjoy life on a level of any real meaning.. wouldn’t you agree? Sure cash is an enabler on many different levels and I get that more anyone but that’s not why we’re here today.
So do I know the answer to the heading yet? Well I’m worlds closer than what I was 800 or so words ago I can tell you that for sure. But I believe that achieving balance really does come down to being self aware about what you need to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, and to what level you have to operate at to ensure you don’t un-willingly sacrifice other things around you to achieve your business goals.
Remember that as a bedroom entrepreneur, you’re still in your home at the end of the day (pun not intended).. And the home is a sacred place- more so depending on what stage of life you’re in currently. If you’re a late teen, or in your early 20’s and you don’t have obligations around you like family, spouses, and dependents, I think you have more wiggle room to really make your dwelling a command centre for your venture and put in the overtime in you need to, to get going.. Providing your parents don’t mind of course (or whoever pays the mortgage/rent)..
However if you’re an older entrepreneur with a wife/husband/kids, with a mortgage on top; remember that your home is their home too and the people you share it with need you there as a mum/dad/husband/wife and not a driven CEO 24/7.. There’s a certain level of clarity that comes with true perspective.. and I think perspective becomes readily available when we give ourselves the space to really tune into the things that really matter in our lives. In truth we all have different thresholds for stress, drive, ambition- everything.. The key is realising yours, and working within them.