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Whether you are working 40+ hours a week or building your own company, having a good work/life balance is extremely important. Sure, having a lot of money is fun, but if you are always tired and never get to spend time with your friends and family, is it really worth it? While starting your own business is certainly a rewarding experience, not taking the time to enjoy yourself outside of your work can take a huge toll on your physical, spiritual and mental health.
So, if you find that you’re constantly buried in your work, it’s important to step back and consider the areas of your personal life that you may be neglecting. Here’s how I was able to build a healthy social and dating life while growing my startup — and how you can do it, too.
Related: How to Be an Entrepreneur and Have a Life!
The importance of balance
At the beginning of 2020, I decided to put my entire life savings into starting a software startup in my parents’ basement. The best part was, I was 19 years old and had no startup experience.
The only thing I had going for me was the desire to succeed. To turn my idea into a reality, I decided to go into grind mode. Grind mode is a period where I don’t hang with any friends, don’t go on any dates or travel anywhere. This period is specifically set to achieve a specific goal.
For building my software startup, six months was a perfect period to put my head down and grind. During these six months, I didn’t have any issues with mental health or boredom. The only thing I was thinking about was the finished product.
After the six-month period, I did some light socializing here and there, but my personal life slowly started to drift downhill. I wasn’t losing 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 slowly destroyed me. This was when I realized I needed to have balance in my life.
Related: Science Knows You Need to Get a Life Outside of Work. This Is How You Do It.
How I built a social life
As far as my spiritual, physical and financial, those were all good at the time. The areas I was lacking in were family, social, dating and my mental health. To improve the relationships with my family, I made it mandatory to call my dad every Thursday at 5:00 p.m. and the rest of my family over Zoom every Sunday. Doing this consistently over the last year has helped me strengthen my relationship with them.
To fix my social, dating and mental health issues (such as burnout), I decided to set a goal to meet two new people a day. I’ve set many goals before in my lifetime, but this goal has had the greatest positive impact on my life. Everything in life is a trade-off. As you give more of something, you lose something somewhere else.
Here are the pros and cons I noticed from taking time to socialize in the evening after the workday:
Business took a little performance hit: I’m going to keep this 100% real. For some weeks/months, I did miss some of my business goals. It was very easy to get distracted by the thought of socializing/dating after I was done with the work day. As a result of this, I did end up procrastinating a bit more and pushing things off for the next day. To overcome this issue, it took a lot of discipline to make sure I stayed in my deep work mindset throughout the day.
Easier to hide from problems: Whenever there was a massive issue I had 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 was procrastinating and avoiding problems that needed attention. I did eventually handle these issues, 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 by myself. The intention of going out by myself is to relax and enjoy myself. If I meet some people along the way, that’s cool. Oftentimes, some of the people I meet make the best friends. I’ll also find people I’m compatible with whom I will 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: As I come across people I’m compatible with, I’ll sometimes discover that we are in the same industry or in industries that complement each other. This mutual interest often opens doors for business opportunities and collaborations.
Improved sales/people skills: One unexpected benefit from socializing in the evenings was that my people and sales skills greatly improved. As I met more people in the evenings, I quickly learned how to handle different personality types, carry an engaging conversation and connect with people on a personal level. This exponentially benefited me within my business. It also helped me close more sales and make great connections with people who were not 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 for putting 100% focus toward your work, but you must balance things out from time to time. Your physical and mental health will thank you later for it.