I don’t believe in the phrase “work life balance.” I think it’s too dichotomous. Regardless of whether you have a J.O.B. or are an entrepreneur, work is a big part of your life. Especially in today’s ever-connected world, work is not separate, distinct thing that you can turn on and off. We are connected to work almost every minute of every day, through our smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers.
I think you do need balance in life, but I think you can reach that kind of balance even when being an entrepreneur or in a demanding career. It’s not about working 40 hours in a week and going home to spend the rest of your time “balancing.”
It really comes down to relationships. We have a lot of relationships in our lives. We may have a relationship with a spouse and children. We have family such as parents and siblings we are close with. We want to spend time with friends. Often these relationships are strained when entrepreneurs and workaholics put their business priorities above personal ones. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’m very fortunate that my family works with me in our business, so we get a lot of family time at work. But even at home I make sure to spend quality time with my wife and kids. My daughter and I frequently cook dinner together, and I play chess with my son. We have dinner together as a family almost every night of the week. My wife and I go on weekend trips together frequently (both for business and pleasure). I also make it a priority to spend time with my mom and dad, and visit my sister and her husband. Several friends that are scattered all over get together every year for a “guy’s trip,” and another group of friends get together every month for a video chat to catch up.
Even if I did work way too much (which I don’t) or occasionally neglect those relationships (which we all do from time to time), overall I’ve made far more deposits than withdrawals in their “emotional bank accounts” (read 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey) and I think I have pretty good relationships with family and friends.
Work / life balance is much less about “leaving work at the office” and more about making your relationships a priority just as we make our businesses a priority. If you do that, you can have a life as an entrepreneur and enjoy healthy relationships.