By Cokie Berenyi
Entrepreneurs have a deep desire to pursue their passion, set their own schedules and control the bottom line. Sounds like total freedom, right? If you’re an entrepreneur (and many more women are these days), you’re probably thinking, “Where’s my freedom?”
Sure, you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, but you do have the full responsibility of running your own business. At first, that’s fine. You’re committed to working hard to get the business off the ground and financially stable, but what happens when the business starts to run you? What happens when the schedule you wanted to control is controlling you?
An entrepreneur myself for the past two decades, I have deep respect and admiration for those brave souls who strike out on their own, blazing their own trails. I’ve been inspired to take a similar leap in my own life, and, unfortunately, I’ve also fallen into the same traps. If you are exhausted, unhappy, overtaxed and overworked, I can relate. Lifestyle Deficit Disorder is the greatest single affliction plaguing entrepreneurs today.
But don’t throw your hands up in despair – here is a cure for LDD. You can have a life-driven business versus a business-driven life.
The cure for LLD is to create The Perfect Day.
This doesn’t mean taking a Friday off once a year to go surfing or catching all the green lights on the way to work. The Perfect Day is one where you shine, where you do the things you love and are good at, where you spend time with the people most important to you. At the end of the day, you rest easy, knowing your time was well spent.
The Perfect Day has nothing to do with perfection; it’s all about living purposefully and meaningfully. It’s about freedom.
So how do you turn stressed-filled days into Perfect Days of peace and clarity? Here are five tips to get you started:
- Begin in gratitude. Take just two minutes each day to write down three things you’re grateful for. This will train your brain to see the positives in life first. If you have children, start a Jar of Thanks. Each night before bed, have everyone in the family write down their name, date and three things they’re thankful for and then drop the paper into the jar. Throughout the year, pull out a slip of paper or two and reflect on the goodness of your lives.
- Review your assets. Make a list of 20 important assets in your life (house, education, church, people, anything you value). Then assign each asset to one of four categories: core (family, religion, values, health); experience (education, ideas, travel, skills); contribution (volunteerism, charitable contributions); and financial (cash, stocks, bonds, business, real estate). In looking at your list of 20, is there an asset category that’s lacking? If all your assets are financial but you’re lacking in “core” or “contribution,” you have some work to do.
- Craft a “Commander’s Intent” for your life. This is a mission statement that captures the very essence of our deepest values. Use this statement to evaluate any and all decisions. If an opportunity fits your commander’s intent, pursue it. If it doesn’t, let it pass by. Create one for your family, your business and even a particular project and let it be a filter for all activities over the next 365 days.
- Make the most of your time. No one’s perfect day is an 80-hour work week and yet entrepreneurs do it all the time and simply accept it as the price of owning a business. I’m not saying don’t work hard, but instead design your life and your time in a way that benefits you and energizes you around all your business’ needs.
A great way to structure your time is by setting aside three revenue-producing days in which all your work effort is focused on revenue-producing activities. Have one admin day for all the things you need to do to ensure your life and business will run smoothly. If you notice, that’s a four-day work week, and it’s completely possible.
- Embrace delegation. Make a list of tasks you do on a weekly basis. Then review the list marking each one “yes” or “no” based on whether it can be delegated. The items marked “no” should truly be the things that only you can do (your unique geniusness). Take all the items marked “yes” and start working toward delegating those tasks to your staff or hire outside help to assist.
These steps aren’t easy. They take time, focus and a true intention. But the payoff is so worth it. For any entrepreneur who is tired, who has come to the end of their rope and is seeking a better way, The Perfect Day is a lifeline. Why not make every day a Perfect Day?
Cokie Berenyi is a Charleston entrepreneur and the author of “Perfect Day: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Curing Lifestyle Deficit Disorder and Reclaiming Your Business, Your Relationships, and Your Life” available on Amazon. “Perfect Day” is a companion to Berenyi’s Perfect Day Connect, an online course with videos and worksheets that walk entrepreneurs through the process of figuring out the deficits in their lives and how to bring all aspects into balance. Learn more at www.perfectdayconnect.com.