Quality of life – it means something different to every person. Entrepreneurship is a bit of a buzz word at the moment and in the world of entrepreneurship there are vastly differing views of what constitutes success and satisfaction.
You’ve got people who love to keep busy, like myself, and then there are people who love to be busy like the wacky entrepreneurs who work 100 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else.
I’ve listened to a few podcasts featuring interviews with this kind of entrepreneur. The terms ‘hustle’ and ‘grind’ are used as a means of explaining just how hard they are working to smash their goals and achieve success. They are highly efficient, in that they manage their tasks effectively and get an awful lot done, but they have so many tasks that it takes them 16 hours a day, seven days a week to get through them. Their bank accounts may be looking great, and they have an incredible sense of satisfaction – assuming this is really what gets them excited – but to me I have to ask, where’s the balance and what are they sacrificing?
Let me clarify that at no point am I sitting in judgement. As I said, quality of life means something different to every person you speak to. There’s not one recipe for happiness; what makes you happy may be entirely different to my idea of happiness.
For me, I always have a million things on the go. I thrive when I am busy. However, when I get to the stage where I have taken on so much that I don’t have time to dedicate to my self-care practices, I know I have surpassed my personal ‘quality of life’ stage. It’s easy to get caught up in work, and life general and as I’ve said many times, in the past this has been a slippery slope for me – not being able to identify when enough is enough and hitting the burn out stage; a stage that many fellow entrepreneurs have experienced all too often.
Since going out on my own, I have been very mindful of how easy it would be for work to consume me. I decided to analyse what ‘quality of life’ meant to me. As much as I am driven to succeed and smash my goals, the idea of working 16 hours a day to achieve them, at the expense of my own self-care, does not excite me. That is not my picture perfect life, or even a desirable path for me to reach my picture perfect life.
I recognised that to maintain quality in my life, maintaining a healthy balance was going to be more important than ever. I need to keep my body active. I need to take time out to read books that add value to my life. I need to spend time with the people I love. I also need to take time out to relax, and sometimes that is simply kicking back for an hour of escapism in front of the television (or as Mum used to call it when I was a kid – the horror box). In order to stay true to this, I have been very strict with how I approach my work. While there are occasions where tight deadlines will override this carefully structured schedule, I try my best to work efficiently during the day and switch off my compute by a reasonable time – ideally 6pm – each night to avoid burn out.
My schedule gives me plenty of time to exercise my body and rest my mind while still managing to get through all the tasks that are going help me reach my professional goals. Keep in mind, my professional and personal goals probably differ from the entrepreneur that is committed to working 16 hours a day. My professional and personal goals would also probably differ from a person who lives on the opposite end of the spectrum, working just enough casual hours to get by comfortably while spending the rest of their time travelling or relaxing.
My point is, every person on this planet has a different version of quality living. I want you to ask yourself – what does quality of life mean to you? Ascertain what is important; what makes your heart sing? Then, outline a lifestyle that is going to help you achieve and maintain your version of quality, then LIVE IT!