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Whether you work more than 40 hours a week or build your own business, it is extremely important to have a good work-life balance. Sure, it’s fun to have a lot of money, but if you’re always tired and never get time with friends and family, is it really worth it? While starting your own business is certainly a rewarding experience, not taking time to enjoy yourself outside of work can take a huge toll on your physical, spiritual and mental health.
So if you find yourself constantly buried in your work, it’s important to step back and assess the areas of your personal life that you may be neglecting. Here’s how I managed to build a healthy social and dating life while growing my startup—and how you can, too.
Related: How to be an entrepreneur and have a life!
The importance of balance
At the beginning of 2020, I decided to use all my savings to start a software startup in my parents’ basement. The best part was that I was 19 years old and had no startup experience.
The only thing I had for me was the desire to succeed. To make my idea a reality, I decided to go into grind mode. Grind mode is a period of time where I don’t hang out with any friends, go on any dates, or travel anywhere. This period is specifically set to achieve a specific goal.
To build my software, six months was a perfect period to put my head down and paint. During these six months I had no problems with mental health or boredom. The only thing on my mind was the finished product.
After the six-month period, I did some light socializing here and there, but my privacy slowly began to decline. I didn’t lose my passion for what I was doing. I loved working with trends and helping creators. But the constant work and lack of human interaction outside of work was slowly destroying me. That’s when I realized that I needed to have balance in my life.
Related: Science knows you need a life outside of work. This is what you do.
How I built a social life
As for my spiritual, physical and financial, all were good at that time. The areas I lacked were family, social, dating and my mental health. To improve my relationship with my family, I made it mandatory to call my dad every Thursday at 17.00 and the rest of my family over Zoom every Sunday. Doing this consistently over the past year has helped me strengthen my relationship with them.
To fix my social, dating, and mental issues (like burnout), I decided to set a goal of meeting two new people a day. I have set many goals before in my life, but this goal has had the biggest positive impact on my life. Everything in life is a trade-off. When you give more of something, you lose something somewhere else.
Here are the pros and cons I noticed after taking the time to socialize in the evening after the work day:
The company had a small result: I’m going to keep this 100% real. For a few weeks/months, I missed some of my business goals. It was very easy to get distracted by the thought of socializing/dating after I finished the work day. As a result, I ended up procrastinating a bit more and pushing things off until the next day. Overcoming this problem required a lot of discipline to make sure I stayed in my deep work mindset throughout the day.
Easier to hide from problems: When there was a big problem I needed to address or fix and didn’t feel like doing it, I could temporarily hide from this pain by socializing/dating in the evening. Along with the bullet point above, I ruled out and avoided issues that needed attention. I eventually coped with these problems, but it was very easy to try to hide from reality through socializing in the evening.
Improved social/dating life: When I go out to socialize in the evening, I often like to go alone. The intention of going out alone is to relax and enjoy myself. If I meet some people along the way, that’s cool. Often some of the people I meet become my best friends. I also want to find people I’m compatible with who I want to ask out on dates from time to time. This is a great way to naturally build your social and dating life.
Unexpected collaborations/business opportunities: When I come across people I’m compatible with, I’ll sometimes find that we’re in the same industry or in complementary industries. This mutual interest often opens doors for business opportunities and collaborations.
Improved sales/personnel skills: An unexpected benefit of socializing in the evenings was that my people and sales skills greatly improved. As I met more people in the evenings, I quickly learned to deal with different personality types, have an engaging conversation and connect with people on a personal level. This benefited me exponentially in my business. It also helped me close more sales and make good connections with people who weren’t ready to buy yet.
Related: 7 Keys to a Perfect Work-Life Balance
Building and managing a social/dating life while growing a startup allows you to fulfill different areas of your life besides finances. Filling these different areas of life such as social, dating, personal and family makes life more enjoyable and helps with your overall mental health. Yes, there is a time and place to put 100% focus on your work, but you need to balance things out from time to time. Your physical and mental health will thank you later for it.