The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “How do you stay sane with little to no free time?” is written by Matthew Katz, founder and CEO of Verifi.
“There are not enough hours in the day” is a common phrase among professionals, especially during their busiest times of year. As an entrepreneur and single father, that phrase rang especially true for me—until I taught myself a few tricks to stay sane:
Surround yourself with the right people
It is imperative to surround yourself with great teams—both at work and at home. Having teams that you can rely on allows you to maximize your time, whether you’re in the office or on the road. While I am the CEO and founder of my company, I don’t spend every waking hour in the office. There are plenty of days that I leave mid-afternoon since I know that my team can handle almost anything that comes up. Without a successful and smart team, you’ll constantly be worrying about whether or not something is getting done and getting done right, which will make you crazy.
Verifi’s office culture is innovative and energetic, and everyone periodically rolls up their sleeves to help coworkers when needed, regardless of their titles. We’re looking for employees who share a similar sense of purpose. So when I interview someone who values hierarchy and the division of labor, I immediately know they’re probably not a good fit for us.
Don’t live at the office
I arrive at the office earlier than most, but I usually leave around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. Leaving early to go home and work allows me to actually be more efficient. I can segment my work into two categories: work that requires face-to-face collaboration within the office and tasks that require my undivided attention. The latter category can be completed far more efficiently when I am sitting uninterrupted in my home office. And, I’m home almost every day for my son when he comes home from school. So when I’m not on calls or working, I can spend extra time with him that I otherwise wouldn’t have if I was at the office all day and night. Spending time with my son is one of the most therapeutic things I can do for myself.
Regardless of whether or not you have kids, you have to create a similar structure where you work something that’s really important to you—whether it’s time at the gym or learning outside of the office—into your daily routine. I also find that a change of scenery can place you in a new state of mind that fosters fresh thinking.
Block off time for yourself
Something else that I’ve learned is that it’s important to block off one free night on my weekly schedule where I get to decide what to do. For entrepreneurs, that one free night can be invaluable; I routinely make it a flex night that I can either spend at home relaxing or going to dinner with friends. If you stay at the office all day and then come home to a full schedule of events, work-related or otherwise, you’ll never have time for yourself, and you’ll eventually go crazy.
Being an entrepreneur can be an incredibly rewarding and fun experience, but it also comes with a great responsibility: to ensure the success of a business and employees. But you’ll never succeed if you’re spending every waking hour thinking, speaking, and doing business.