As an entrepreneur, you have a voracious appetite for all things excellent in life. You are ambitious, hard working, disciplined, passionate, willing to take risks, and driven by new opportunity. These are your greatest strengths.
My father has always reminded me that from time to time our greatest strengths can quickly become our greatest liabilities. Burnout, depression, loss of relationships, financial losses, and stress-related illness can humble and take out the most focused of entrepreneurs faster than any competitor.
You may have once believed that as an entrepreneur you can have it all. You may have come to the conclusion through years of striving that having it all is an illusive drug that temps and traps us all into a life of incredible achievements met simultaneously with an unsettling feeling of emptiness or incompletion.
The formula below is my framework for goal setting, assessing opportunity risk, and focusing activities daily and weekly to attain what I define as "having it all."
Putting in the big stuff first
As a business owner/entrepreneur, you must look at yourself like an elite athlete or performer. This means you need abnormal energy reserves, a high level of mental and physical endurance, intelligence, self-awareness, and specialized training.
You are the designer of your life and your business and you should get very clear on what you want for your life in 5 to 8 year increments (because your priorities will change as you mature). There are 168 hours in a week. That is your treasury of resources. It is the same for each of us, whether you run a small business or fancy yourself as the next Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or icon of hustle Gary Vaynerchuk running multiple businesses.
The big areas fall into four categories of time blocks throughout your week. Sleep, Fitness, Family/Relationships, and Work. These are the big blocks. Use the theoretical example below to help you can customize this formula for your own desires and lifestyle.
Sleep is a critical hack to leverage
Some people can operate extremely well on as little as 6 hours and most people according to science need eight hours of sleep on average to live and function well and stay healthy. A rare few entrepreneurs (like .001%) can operate on less than 6 hours of sleep per night for their career, so don't buy into the "I'll sleep when I am dead" dogma or you likely will crash and burn far before your time. It isn't necessary. Here is how I use this block scheduling framework to hack sleep and optimize productivity.
Monday-Wednesday: Wake at 4 A.M. and go to sleep by 11P.M.
Thursday: Wake at 4 A.M. and go to sleep by 10:00 P.M.
Friday: Wake at 4 A.M. and go to sleep by 10 P.M.
Saturday: Wake up naturally between 7 A.M and 7:30 A.M. and sleep when tired.
Sunday: Wake up naturally between 7 A.M. and 7:30 A.M. and go to bed by 10 P.M.
All in all this adds up to a weekly total of about 46 hours of sleep (avg. of 6.5 hours/night).
The running balance in the time bank following this block is: 168 - 46 = 122 hours
Energy comes from a fit mind and body
You have to feed the machine which in an entrepreneur's case is the mind and the body. This means increasing your mental endurance and capacity through the consumption of thought provoking content, personal development/self awareness, etc. on a consistent basis. It also means flushing out toxins through a routine exercise regime, eating organic, and standing more than you sit throughout the work day. At a minimum you need to carve out 6 hours per week focused for physical exercise.
The running balance in the time bank following this block is 122 - 6 = 116 hours
Rich relationships equal a rich life
Depending on whether you are single, in a committed relationship, have children, or have aging parents, you will perceive this block of time differently. But regardless of the types of relationships you wish to keep flourishing in your life, this block of time is critical to having it all. "Love is a verb not a noun", as my father would say. The support network and family of an entrepreneur rarely gets the credit it deserves. Being present without distraction for even just a few hours per day can work wonders for your key relationships over time. An example is:
Monday-Wednesday: Focused family time 5 P.M. to 7 P.M.
Thursday: Date night 6 P.M. to 10 P.M.
Friday: Family Friday 5 P.M. to 10 P.M.
Saturday: Family and friends day and digital unplug all day
Sunday: Family half-day 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. Personal time 1 P.M. to 3 P.M.
All in all this adds up to a weekly total of about 46 hours of focused family and friends time per week.
The running balance in the time bank following this block is: 116 - 46 = 70 hours
Wealth is a destination defined by how you manage opportunity cost
Finally we get to the final time block of work. In this simple theoretical example of a week this means you have 70 wonderful hours to dedicate and focus on your highest and best use activities as a business owner and wealth creator.
This means that depending on what economic value you wish to drive in the way of net income for lifestyle and investments you have to quantify what your time is worth by dividing it by 70 hours. For example, let's reverse engineer what someone who wishes to make $1 million per year. Let's assume that you work 48 weeks per year with 4 weeks of vacation.
$1,000,000/(70*48) = $297.62 per hour.
This means that in any given 10 hour work day you must average $2976.20 worth of net value/income. Managing opportunity cost requires that you build evaluation models for decision making that map to this needed outcome. What meetings, investments, trips, etc. do you say "No" to because they will not net out to this unit economic metric? Eliminate or delegate all lower tasks today to ensure that you are only doing activities with roughly $300/hour potential.