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I have always been encouraged from an early age to be balanced in everything I do. Basically, I would agree that this is quite reasonable advice, but it is not always correct. Of course, achieving the perfect work-life balance should be a top priority for most professionals, but the same advice is simply not applicable to entrepreneurs – we are much different.
As entrepreneurs, we have zero sense of balance. We are fully committed to what we do – all the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, weekday or weekend – each of us focuses on our vision of what he wants to achieve. I even know an entrepreneur who is nearing retirement age but still plans to work 80 hours a week. He is not the only one.
Many of us miss meals, minutes for relaxation, and social gatherings, meaning we avoid anything that distracts us from turning our visions and passions into reality. We would probably also work in our sleep if we could. In fact, I bet some of my more creative colleagues are actually doing it.
If you’ve ever seen Thomas Edison’s lab in Fort Myers, Florida, you may have noticed the small bed he kept at his desk. Edison worked long hours, took small breaks, and then returned to work again. I wouldn’t be surprised if Edison also had a pool under his desk.
Edison, of course, is not alone in his tenacity. We have all heard the stories of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg about the time they poured the foundations of their companies. And it’s no coincidence that Gates and Zuckerberg leave Harvard to pursue their passions. Clearly, a more balanced solution for both of them would be to stay in school and pursue their goals after graduation. But this is not inherent in the developer.
I am not saying that entrepreneurs should respect other important aspects of their lives. If family, friends, and hobbies are important to them, you should do everything you can to pay attention to them. But the key is to make the most important things a priority and get rid of the others.
Of course, there are only 24 hours a day, but think about the hours you spend on social networking, television, trivial meetings, and other trivial activities. As entrepreneurs, we often give up on these things, and because we spend less time on things we don’t care about, we can spend more time on things that really interest us. If used effectively, 24 hours can be an awful lot of hours.
I may be an entrepreneur, that is, always busy, but in my priorities, my children come first. I don’t go home before they wake up, and I’m home every night to put them to bed – no exception. I have been on board meetings and interrupted them to put my children to sleep. I make this clear from the beginning, and people respect my time for my family.
On the other hand, everything else remains in the background. I really don’t watch sports. I don’t play games. I don’t have hobbies. I do nothing but work, of course. Which I really love with zeal, as sincerely as my love for my children. My job is my passion. My children are also my passion. Everything else is in the background.
Yes, entrepreneurs lack balance, but we succeed without it!