There are certain things in my life that I like done my way, and one of them is how I manage my businesses. I like to start my day before sunrise, with a run and meditation exercises, followed by going over my to-do lists, checking emails and then meeting up with my clients. I’m also the type of person who performs extremely well under tight deadlines. I can wrap up my whole work day in just three hours if I had to and still accomplish everything I planned on doing that day. This simple control over my routine and how my work is conducted contributes greatly to my happiness.
A 2012 study by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, found that graduates of their MBA programme, who started their own businesses, ranked themselves happier than those from other professions, regardless of how profitable their ventures were. Their work routines have a lot to do with it.
“There's a sense that they have control over their own time, even if they're putting in a huge number of hours," Ethan Mollick, one of the participating researchers in the study, said.
Entrepreneurship can contribute positively to our overall well-being. A study by sociologists from Baylor University and Louisiana State University published, exploring 3,060 counties and parishes in the US, found that counties with a high concentration of small businesses have healthier populations than those who rely on large companies.
From my experience, I found that there are several factors that, when incorporated into your daily routine, will help you maintain satisfaction levels with your entrepreneurial experience:
Create your own work routine
Some people perform their best at night, while others are early risers like myself. Find a work routine that works for you. There are no rules. What works for another entrepreneur won’t necessarily work for you. Create a system and a process that you are happy with, but wouldn’t jeopardise your health or well-being. After all, isn’t taking control of your life one of the reasons why you decided to become an entrepreneur?
Maintain a work-life balance
When I first started out, I was so consumed by my venture that I didn't want to leave work. I felt like I had to work all the time to be successful. Families and friends complained about not seeing me enough. Soon enough, I noticed that working more didn't necessarily make me more productive, and I was pretty lonely. We have a saying in Arabic that goes: "Your life will come to an end, but work will still go on". A mistake that many entrepreneurs fall into is not setting proper office hours. Even if you do work from home, fix your office hours and stick to them. When I work from home, I follow the same routine as I would in the office. That means I work for a certain time period and take breaks to I won't be distracted by domestic matters.
Take a break
When I first started out, I wouldn’t take holidays and when I did, work joined me on my trips. You can imagine what that was like for me. I wasn’t fully dedicated to either work or relaxing and I just felt lost and unhappy. I stopped that practice because I realised that taking a break is not only important for me, but also for my business. Now every time I go on a holiday, I come back with fresh ideas and I feel excited coming back to work.
Failure is part of the process
The entrepreneurs you see on the covers of magazines, have most likely gone through a lot of failures to reach where they are today. The late Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, failed multiple times before Apple became the brand that it is now. If you’re in entrepreneurship because you want an easy route, then back out. Failure and continuous learning are part of the process, and keeping that in mind will only make your journey easier.
The best thing about entrepreneurship is that it’s a journey that you are in charge of. Don’t wait to reach your destination in order to be happy. Incorporate what it takes for you to enjoy the ride.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi