Let me start by acknowledging that I don’t have all the answers. I’m gonna make some recommendations in this post, but I’m also going to ask some questions.

Starting Monkeypod Marketing has been an absolute roller coaster for me. I’ve learned a number of lessons, and I’m sure I’ll learn countless more, but today I just want to briefly talk about the importance of balance.

I think if you talk to any entrepreneur you’ll hear them emphasize the importance of balance in your life. Without it, you risk quickly burning out, growing to resent your business, or seriously jeopardizing relationships with your family and friends. This concept isn’t groundbreaking, I get that. I mean, a quick google search can show you dozens of articles emphasizing work-life balance.

It’s harder than I anticipated. But here’s the twist – it’s not difficult for the reasons I thought it would be.

Yes. I have plenty to do. At all times. But that’s not terribly unusual for me. I’m the type of person where I’ve always kept myself busy.

No, the challenging part is that there isn’t a clear line between work and the rest of my life. I work out of my home (as many entrepreneurs do) and so here’s my struggle: At literally any time, I could be working. And if you could be, you start to feel like you should be. That means if I’m doing anything but working on Monkeypod, I feel a sense of guilt.

This initially led me to working out less, eating less, and sleeping less. There have been multiple nights where I toss and turn until 2 am, and then get up to work for three hours in the middle of the night. Again, I don’t think this is unique to me. I think plenty of entrepreneurs struggle with this, but recently I’ve been honing a “life hack” that helps me introduce some new balance and dramatically increase productivity.

The productivity hack is simple: Multi-tasking

But don’t worry, it’s a little different than just doing multiple things at once. What I’m describing is a little more strategic.

I’ll give you three habits I’ve developed as examples.

Turkey Sandwich1. I edit videos while I make lunch.

It’s really easy for me to work right through lunch when I get in the zone. And, it can be hard to pull myself away to make something to eat because I literally don’t want to take the 20 minutes away from my computer to build a hummus and turkey sandwich (my go-to). But, I’ve found myself recording a lot of video content for my Infusionsoft courses lately, and before I create the final video I have to listen through it, trim out any foul language I utter in frustration, highlight certain sections, or speed up other parts. But what I realized was that I don’t need to be sitting at my desk the whole time, I can just as easily set my laptop on the kitchen counter and listen for any audio cues while I toast the bread, build the sandwich, or eat lunch.

Gatsby22. I make phone calls while I walk Gatsby.

Gatsby is our Australian shepherd, and if you know anything about that breed you probably know how energetic they are. He gets a little stir crazy just watching me work all day (although you can hear him in the background of a few videos), so naturally I try and walk him once or twice a day.  Well, again, I was feeling guilty taking these walks, and even cutting them shorter than I wanted to because I felt like I needed to get back to my desk to work. So, my solution has been to make or schedule phone calls while we’re out walking. Now, obviously it only works for some calls – and if I need to be at my laptop then I can’t do that while walking around the neighborhood.

SYSK3. I listen to podcasts while I run.

Again, not groundbreaking, right? Listening to music is something plenty of people do when they run. But the academic in me wasn’t okay with music, I felt like the 3o minutes I was out running was wasted – even though I was working out. So, my solution was to use this time to listen to something educational. Something I would have spent time listening to anyway, and this way I’m killing two birds with one stone. (My favorite podcast is Stuff You Should Know, what’s yours?) Also, I’m a really lousy runner, so if you want to feel better about yourself, or just support a swimmer trying to train on land you can connect with me on strava.

Like I said, it’s more than just doing several things at once. For me it’s about planning, and coordinating, so that I use my time as effectively as possible.  And so far with each hack I explore, I feel like I’m able to instill a little more balance into my life.

Not having a regular routine or rhythm can be really liberating, but it can also be really disorienting.

I talked about having an outlet for your entrepreneurial gene in the post on the entrepreneur’s paradox – now I’d like to hear how you keep yourself balanced? What hacks have you discovered to get more done?