Every week it seems like there's a new piece of advice for would-be entrepreneurs from the ones who've already made their mark on the world. Tim Cook starts sending emails at 4:30 in the morning. Steve Jobs once ate nothing but carrots. Donald Trump supposedly sleeps only four hours a night. Most recently, serial odd-advice-giver Gary Vaynerchuck has told Business Insider that he doesn't eat in the daytime. But do you really need these weird habits to be an entrepreneur?
Owning your own business is always going to be a drain on your work-life balance — even if you don't spend heaps of time in your office or workplace, you're probably thinking about things you can do to improve the business. A recent survey indicated almost 40 per cent of small business owners were unhappy with the amount of time their work took up in their lives, even when over 80 per cent of them started their businesses with the plan to gain back more time for themselves. It's a common problem — and the solutions touted by celebrity entrepreneurs are many and varied.
Getting the right work-life balance is hard, but there's also a school of thought that holds that work and life don't actually need to be perfectly balanced all of the time.
Gary Vaynerchuck is the CEO of multi-million dollar company VaynerMedia, and you've probably seen his advice shared around often thanks to his prolific video blog, DailyVee. Speaking to Business Insider on their podcast recently, he revealed "I eat at night." That is, after not eating at all during the day, apparently. It's part of what he calls "extremism on [his] work-life balance," what sounds like a highly managed routine to achieve some semblance of that balance.
Simultaneously, he recommends dropping one "negative friend" for an "office acquaintance who's super positive," which sounds frankly disastrous to achieving a good work-life balance, even if your friends aren't successful, upbeat people.
One way to think about work-life balance issues is with a concept known as The Four Burners Theory. Here's how it was first explained to me. Imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner symbolises one major quadrant of your life.
The lesson here, however, isn't to dump your friends, fast during the day or change your sleeping habits. While Vaynerchuck's odd, micromanaged schedule might work for him, it probably wouldn't work for most other people. I know I personally can't last past 11am without food and still remain productive. The lesson here is to find what works for you — and for most people that won't be some wacky habit that makes for a great soundbite.