Entrepreneurs are well-known for being workaholics. They often live and breathe their business, spending most of their waking hours working, strategizing and dreaming of future successes.
It's important to be passionate about your company, and any dedicated entrepreneur knows they'll have to make some sacrifices in the name of their business. But it becomes unhealthy when your personal life, health and relationships begin to suffer because you're consumed by your work.
One of the hardest things an entrepreneur must learn is how to say "no." Not every opportunity is the right one for your business, and as Kristin Kimberly Marquet of Creative Development Agency learned, establishing boundaries is the key to filtering out those time and energy drains.
"When I first started in business, I would work 75-plus hours a week, which led to decreased health and suffering personal relationships," she says. "Although it was hard in the beginning, I have learned how to set boundaries and say 'no' to projects or client requests that don't align with our strengths or values."
Turn off work notifications on your phone.
Modern technology allows entrepreneurs to work any time, anywhere from their smartphones. Unfortunately, this often means they feel like they need to stay connected to their businesses 24/7.
SeedProd Founder John Turner says it's important to turn off your phone -- or at least shut off notifications -- during your off hours and personal time. "Don't check your smartphone every time an email comes in or you get a notification," he says. "The time you spend with your family will be better spent without looking at your phone every few minutes."
Plan your evenings and weekends in advance.
You probably plan out every single work day with tasks, meetings and projects. Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights, says entrepreneurs should do the same with their evenings and weekends -- except fill your calendar with personal activities. Doing this will help you maximize your time with family and friends.
"If you plan out and schedule activities, dates and outings with your loved ones, you won't spend that off time working," Christoff adds.
Block out 'no work' times during your day.
Many of today's entrepreneurs work from home, which can make it extremely difficult to truly disconnect and shut the business off. Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, argues that physically separating yourself from work is essential for good work-life balance.
"Block out parts of the day when work is off limits," she advises. "Walk away from the computer and leave the phone in another room. The physical separation will assist in mental separation as well, so you can truly put work away."
Plan a trip.
Sometimes leaving your phone or laptop in the other room isn't quite enough separation. That's why Sweta Patel, founder of Silicon Valley Startup Marketing, recommends booking a trip -- even a short one -- for a change of scenery and a chance to refocus yourself.
"Sometimes you just have to put yourself on a plane and fly away to get re-energized and refocused," she says. "You can plan small trips with your friends and family that are not work-focused to ensure that you are getting the best of both worlds."
Unapologetically prioritize 'you' time.
Entrepreneurs know they are responsible for the success or failure of their business -- and by extension, anyone who works for them. Through this lens, it's easy to feel like you must justify yourself when you do decide to take some time for yourself.
Serenity Gibbons, local unit lead of NAACP in Northern California, disagrees with this logic. She says entrepreneurs need to stop feeling guilty for doing things like going to the gym, sleeping in an extra hour or spending time with their families.
"Everyone deserves it and must stop trying to justify it to themselves and others," Gibbons says. "Talk about how you plan to take time off each week and what you did with that time. Be the model for other business owners."