Originally published on Forbes.com on February 22, 2018.
As an entrepreneur, it is your job to make sure your business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It can be addictive to throw yourself into the role and work day and night to make sure your business succeeds. You may have a strong drive or unstoppable motivation that powers you forward, but at what cost?
You need to understand that your business will survive even if you don’t have a 24/7 watch on it. Working relentlessly can only cause you stress and prevent you from being there when you are really needed. According to statistics compiled by Brandon Gaille, workaholics that average 11 hours a day or more have a 67% greater chance of suffering from coronary heart disease. As staggering as this statistic is, it should be a real wake-up call that you need to take a step back.
Fifteen members of Forbes Coaches Council share why entrepreneurs tend to be workaholics and the advice they have for them, ranging from the ability to prioritize tasks to practicing meditation, confronting your fear, or simply outsourcing some of your projects.
All images courtesy of Forbes Councils members.
1. Arrange Schedule By Activities
Anyone determined to reach a goal can be seen as a workaholic. Is it being a workaholic or passionate? It’s helpful to arrange your week by activities instead of by office hours. For example, Monday – business building, Tuesday – client calls, Wednesday – social media scheduling/client calls, etc. This way you’re not tied to hours and can schedule a day off, if there is such a thing. – Niya Allen-Vatel, Career Global
2. Focus On Eulogy Virtues
David Brooks speaks of eulogy virtues — those virtues that we want to be remembered by. These can be different from resume virtues — those virtues that bring us professional success. But they need not be. Entrepreneurs tend to be workaholics because they can see the impact they want to leave behind, but can forget the bigger picture. Eulogy virtues will show you the big picture priorities. – Maureen Cunningham, Up Until Now Inc.
3. Work On The Business, Not In It
As much as an entrepreneur wants to get their hands dirty, there is only so much they can accomplish by doing that. A great entrepreneur can only succeed when he or she has the time to work on the business, not in the business. Working on the business is essentially doing the right thing, taking a step back, looking at the business and working on it. – KarFei Cheah, Mindvalley
4. Create Structure To Your Day
Entrepreneurs are visionaries and they want to create. They also want to wear all the hats and do all the things required to get a business off the ground. To avoid overworking, create structure to your day, find an accountability partner to track goals and progress and hire great talent when you’re able to. Just because you can do everything doesn’t mean you should. – Lizabeth Czepiel, Lizabeth Czepiel, LLC
5. Try Daily Journaling Sessions
Overwork is an indication that vision, desire and direction aren’t fully formed (or trusted): Entrepreneurs try to “hedge their bets” by juggling dozens of projects, income streams, gigs, even book ideas, all at once. The result? Nothing gets done. To better attune to instinct, intuition, and desire, I recommend daily journaling sessions first thing in the morning. Sense first, act second! – Dave Ursillo, DaveUrsillo.com
6. Free Yourself To Focus On What Matters
Everything’s on the line for the entrepreneur. My advice: Be strategic in every way by defining the desired culture, hiring the right people who fit that culture, co-creating (with your leadership team) a viable strategic pathway for growth, and constantly assessing (each week) how your identified initiatives are progressing. Otherwise, the business will begin to run you, versus you running it. – Cathy McCullough, McCullough Group LLC
What is a workaholic? According to whom? If you want an exceptional life, you do exceptional things. Or do you want to be average? If you have purpose, a vision and are rigorous about your priorities… isn’t that what we all want, in our hearts? To live meaningful lives? Entrepreneurs accept responsibility for their lives and are willing to do whatever it takes to get the results they want. – Christine Hueber, ChristineHueber.com
8. Outsource In A Cost-Effective Manner
Many entrepreneurs tend to be workaholics simply because they do not have the financial resources to hire people that are as talented and passionate as they are, so they end up taking on more tasks than ideal. The best way to change this is to be diligent about outsourcing tasks that can be handled by others in a cost-effective manner. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
9. Set Time-Bound Milestones
When you work for someone else, you have specific tasks and projects. Your role is clearly delineated. When you own your own business, it falls on you to get everything done. Instead, set specific, time-bound milestones. Measure each milestone’s impact on the growth of your business and celebrate each accomplishment. By creating your own boundaries, you avoid burnout and workaholism. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
10. Don’t Fall In Love With All Your Ideas
Entrepreneurs tend to hold ideas close to their chest and do way more on their own than they should or need to. As an entrepreneur, you are really excited about your idea, so you want to execute on it as soon as possible. Don’t fall in love with all your ideas, as some of them will fail. Those failures will guide you better than working around the clock as they’ll help you triage your tasks better. – Donna Karlin, No Ceiling, Just Sky™ Institute
11. Confront Your Fear
It’s not true that you need to do everything all the time. The 80/20 principle suggests that 80% of what you do isn’t that important anyway. Just the thought of not working creates intense anxiety for a lot of entrepreneurs –indicating that fear is the driving force. Get clear on essential actions and take a weekly inventory of what not to do. Outsource, strategize, and trust. – David Butlein, Ph.D., BLUECASE Strategic Partners
12. Find Balance
There are different phases to a business. In the startup phase, working long hours is necessary, as is the inclination to say “yes” to every opportunity. But as your business matures, so must your boundaries and clarity about which are right ones for your business’ growth. Because that unrelenting push is not sustainable in the long term. Adjust your self-expectations as your business matures. – Debra Russell, Debra Russell Coaching, LLC
13. Work As If You Were An Employee
The best advice I can give a new entrepreneur to avoid being a workaholic is to wake up and get dressed each morning just as when you had a job. Communicate your office hours to your significant other (if there is one), and let them know during those hours you are working. Otherwise you’re in your pajamas all day… and in front of the computer. – Dr. Josh Luke, Health-Wealth.com
14. Manage Your Energy And Focus
Many entrepreneurs are workaholics by necessity. We take on many roles until we build the financial capacity to hire others to take on these roles. My advice is to manage your energy to ensure you are able to sustain the pace and prioritize the projects by month. Also, make your ongoing resilience and rejuvenation a key item on your priority list! – Maureen Metcalf, Metcalf & Associates, Inc
15. Meditate And Keep It Fun
Many entrepreneurs started because they had something to prove. For me, bullying and not feeling good enough drove a lot of success, but also robbed me the fun of life for years. Meditate and spend 30 minutes focusing on the things you used to love; this can be tough but keep going and explore online ideas. The key is to remember that fun unlocks creativity which will help your business even more. – Simon Lovell, Fitpreneurs