Keeping Your Balance


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As an entrepreneur, you are the backbone of your business and the driving force behind it. If you want to achieve success - and actually get to enjoy it - you'll need to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Long hours, hard work, multi-tasking and having to “switch hats" constantly can take a lot out of you. Here are some suggestions for keeping your balance:

Safeguard your health.  Do whatever you need to in order to stay healthy, physically and mentally. Go for a daily walk, join a gym, or take up yoga. Exercise is energizing and a great way to fight stress. Eat a healthy meal with the family instead of snacking at your desk. And whatever you do, get enough sleep. You can't do your best work while you're burning the midnight oil, anyway, so why not tackle it when you're rested?

Fend off burnout.  Burnout is the result of ongoing stress from a variety of sources, and can leave you unmotivated and ineffective, not just in your role as an entrepreneur but in your personal life as well. Assess your own risk of burnout and the likely causes, given your own personality and the nature of your business. Take action right away to combat burnout if you notice the symptoms.

Fight isolation.  Let's face it, working alone can get pretty lonely. To fight isolation you'll have to make an effort to stay connected to current friends and make new ones. Email and discussion groups will help you stay connected during your work hours, but connect with people offline as well. Technology is great, but there's nothing like face-to-face communication.

Be good to yourself.  Do something nice for YOU each and every day. If you don't have a hobby, get one. Treat yourself to dinner and a movie or some other indulgence at the end of the week. Celebrate whenever you reach a goal or milestone.

Don't lose sight of your dream.  What made you decide to start your own business in the first place? Remembering why you're in business will help you stay motivated, and keeping your long-term goals in mind will help you cope with temporary setbacks. Always keep your eyes on the prize.

Don't neglect your personal life.  Running a business can be exciting, gratifying, and fulfilling in many ways, but no matter how mcuh we enjoy it, work can never meet all our needs. If you sold your business tomorrow and closed the doors, what would be left with? If the answer is “nothing", start working to change that today.

Know your limits.  Don't set yourself up to fail by biting off more than you can chew to trying to go too far too fast. All of your resources - time, energy, money - are finite, so do what you can with what you have, but don't set out to achieve the impossible. And remember that no matter how hard you try, there are always factors beyond your control that will impact your success.

Take a break.  Don't neglect to take time off and time out. Find time to do what you truly enjoy. Have your morning coffee at the local coffee shop. Run errands in the middle of the day. Meet a friend for lunch once a week. Give yourself vacation leave, and use the time to go somewhere.

Try a change of scenery.  Get away from the computer once in awhile. Even if it's just going out to the garden to have your morning coffee, a change of scenery will do you good. Walk around the block, have lunch at the mall, or take your laptop to the park.

Leave the job at the office.  One of the major frustrations of entrepreneurship is that your work is never really “done" and there's always something more you could be doing, but at some point you'll need to call it quits for the day. Make a commitment to leave the office at quitting time unless there's a bona fide emergency that just can't wait till the next day.

Jane McLain is a Web developer and SEO specialist and the webmaster of , an online resource center for netrepreneurs with tools and information to help you plan, build, launch and grow your e-business.


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