Is Your Business Destroying Your Life?

One of the worst mistakes we can make as entrepreneurs is allowing our commitment to our business to undermine our commitment to our family.

Happy Asian couple

As entrepreneurs we do things that others aren’t necessarily willing to do in order to enjoy a life that others can’t – we work long hours, long past the “normal” business hours that employees work, we can’t remember the last time we had more than six hours of sleep in a night and our families plot a rescue mission to get us out of the office at a decent time for special occasions.

It’s a different kind of rat race and one that we enjoy or we wouldn’t do it – but when does the drive become more about putting work before happiness than building a successful business?

If you are in the process of building your own business, you know the routine: skipping meals, social events and even daily showers just so we can turn the vision in our heads into reality. Our commitment to the task is commendable but there comes a time when you have to take a step back and remember why you’re working the way you do. While it’s not always possible to avoid extensive hours in any given week, there comes a time when you have to be practical and bring balance back to your work/family life.

Here are three tactics you can use to help keep your life in balance…

  • Keep yourself well: As an entrepreneur, a sick day for us – even just one – can be severely detrimental. Even though the urge to skip meals is strong, maintaining a balanced diet is the first step in keeping the work/life balance in check and staying healthy in the process.
  • Tire yourself out, and rest yourself up: Exercising and a regular sleep schedule are equally important. Breaks during the work day may seem impossible, but a short break or two during the day isn’t going to hurt – take a few minutes for yoga or to read the next chapter in a good book or to have a short lunch with your spouse or kids.
  • Make sure you have clear priorities: This means make the important things in your life top priorities and let the others fall in place where they may. Family should ALWAYS come first – not work. However, your work should come before the less important things – like television for example or spending unnecessary time on social media.

It’s not impossible to have a work/life balance as an entrepreneur.

Yes, 100-hour weeks are likely and sometimes those long weeks may come more often than not, but it’s important not to live your life that way consistently. Make small changes and you’ll find that soon where you have invested the greatest amount of time will give you the greatest rewards for your investment.

Question: what are your tips for maintaining a healthy balance between work and “life”? What areas are particularly challenging for you? Share your comments below.


Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Wow. Deep topic. One perhaps worthy of an entire series of podcasts all unto itself. I am in year 10 of my own architectural practice. To further complicate things, I started working full time for another firm about 8 months ago, while still doing some side work with my own firm. I am also in the process of building my own platform sharing my stories, thoughts, and art in hopes of inspiring others. Most importantly, I am a husband and father of a 6 year old son.

    The work/life balance is a struggle. One of the things that we have implemented in our house is “unplugged” Sundays. Essentially, no texting, no tv, no video games, no computers, etc. Just good old family hang out time. It’s not always 100% successful, but it’s a great start!

  • zzdiana

    How do you achieve WORK/LIFE balance? The answer, is BALANCE

    My passion is working to understand and integrate the 4 Balances that make up a BALANCED LIFE. I figure that when I master them work/life balance will be redundant. In fact, there will be no ‘work’.

    The 4 Balances that drive my life (including what I do to earn an income to support LIVING my passion day by day are):
    Cognitive Balance- thinking/mind/memory;
    Affect Balance- emotion/mood/trait;
    Conative Balance – desire/volition/striving (know yourself;be yourself);
    Attentional Balance – moment x moment awareness/single-pointed focus.
    I figure that if I’m going to put in resources (time, effort, sacrifice, etc) to get work/life balance working for me, I might as well go for broke and get the big picture (all of me) sorted. Now that’s a smart strategy. Same output; squillion times the return. : )))

  • William McPeck

    Thanks for tackling this topic Ray. It is sorely needed within the entrepreneurial community. As a worksite wellness specialist, this subject is near and dear to my heart. In an effort to address it, I have joined my local entrepreneur development group and wrote a column on entrepreneur health and wellness for a local nonprofit’s newsletter. I know there is more I can do.

    Unfortunately, most everyone takes their health for granted until they don’t have it.

    • William McPeck

      Jason, congrats on recognizing the importance of this area for your own well-being. I think the term work-life balance often creates its own issues. How about considering a reframe? Consider work-life fusion, work-life integration, or better yet, work-life harmony.

  • I take each Sunday off from internet, and often don’t spend much time online Saturdays, either. That gives me a refreshed start to begin the workweek, and an opportunity to focus on other life aspects on the weekends.

  • Mark M

    100 hour week is 14 hours a day 7 days a week. That sounds miserable! Is it really worth that? Or can you be sufficiently rewarded if you decide your max is 60 hours a week?