At this time of year, I can’t help but think back to when I had “a regular job” (as some members of my family like to remind me of), and how I would look forward to the holiday season when others around me would be slowing down a bit as they approached days off, and therefore I could also slow down a bit. (And come to think of it, this was also the case every week leading up to the weekend…)
With so much needing to be done for an early stage startup, however, going even a day without doing work, let alone a whole weekend, can result in falling behind. This creates a challenge when trying to make time for those who are most important in your life, as well as giving yourself some down time, so that you can maintain a positive balance for the long haul. I have been guilty of falling short in this area (apologies to just-about-every-person-i-know for this), but I am trying my darndest to get it right.
How I’ve been able to make progress
What I’ve been doing recently is scheduling work time every day, so that when it’s not work time, it’s personal time. If you work best in the daytime, schedule time off at night. If you work best at night, have off in the morning. If you’re an all day type of person, schedule a couple of breaks throughout. And for the times when you’re in a flow and want to continue past a scheduled stoppage, make up for it by adjusting the next day’s schedule.
Without something like this, it can be difficult to create a clear enough separation between work and personal time, and you risk not giving yourself enough of an opportunity to wind down and to avoid burning out.
Weekends are different
For the average weekend, I try to fit in a coupe hours per day to catch up on small tasks that have been lingering around, as well as emails that I’ve fallen behind on — and the rest goes to personal time. This way, I can try to make up for times during the week when I may have neglected family, friends, a significant other, etc., while still remaining in touch with the workload.
Do I have it all figured out? Absolutely not. But startup life isn’t perfect, and what we learn today can be applied tomorrow. Plus, it sure beats having “a regular job.”