For any entrepreneur with a business to grow, passion is a prerequisite. However, even something as important as passion needs to be counterbalanced. It may not seem intuitive when you're putting everything into getting your company off the ground, but in my career I have found that in order to be a better worker, I had to spend a little less time working.
A few years ago, I saw firsthand the negative impacts of surrendering too much of myself to my business. I was cramming my schedule with as much work and as many meetings as the day could hold. I was completely forgetting my own need to recharge. The tipping point for me was when I realized that I'd gained 15 pounds. I'd stopped going to the gym, which forced my hand to set three personal hours aside each week for exercise. With this change, I lost the extra weight but the positive impact went past that. By taking time for me, I was fitter, happier and more productive. My work-life balance tipped back in the right direction.
In the rush of office life, work-life balance can be easy to look past, but companies do so at their peril. There are three key components to getting it right.
Take time for you, inside and outside of work
If you walk around Credit Karma's offices in the afternoon, there's a good chance you'll come upon a group playing Super Smash Brothers on a projector screen or people playing ping pong. Some employers might look at this and see employees wasting precious company time. But I love it. I see people decompressing away from their desks, getting their circulation flowing, taking a moment to relax and interacting with colleagues they might not ordinarily work with. When they get back to their desks, they're locked in and energized. At Credit Karma, encouraging employees to feel comfortable to take time each day to play video games has had lasting benefits for our company.
Exercise, video games, whatever; take a moment for yourself during the workday to take your mind off your job. Take a walk. Read a book. And don't forget to keep making time outside of work for the things you love. For me, I love to cook. It's an amazing stress reliever and helps me connect with my family.
Don't hold on to the parts of your job that make you miserable
Delegation is a key component of work-life balance for me. Credit Karma doubled in size in 2013 and almost tripled in 2014. When I started the company, like any entrepreneur, I was driven to perfect our business model, company strategy and how we executed our product. But as the company expanded my job grew quickly to encompass things like financial reporting, operations and accounting. As your company grows, you will need to delegate the parts of your job that are outside of your comfort zone. If you love your job, it makes everything in your life that much easier. If you don't, you'll end up overwhelmed by small tasks that you hate and irked by a feeling that your work isn't as satisfying as it was when you started.
A happy company is a productive company
The awareness of work-life balance needs to permeate all levels of a company. As Credit Karma has expanded to a company of more than 250 people, I've prioritized listening to our employees and what they want out of their jobs and lives. And it's paid off; our retention rates are exceptional. Through these conversations, we've seen just how much of a priority wellness is. We bring nutritionists onsite, host yoga and meditation sessions in the office and exercise boot camps twice a week. We offer employees unlimited paid sick days, because there is nothing more damaging to at-work happiness than not being able to take a day or two at home to get well. There's room for people to work hard and take the necessary steps to feel good about themselves and their lives and their health. It needs to be a big part of any company's culture.