How to balance work and dating as a busy entrepreneur.

Has anyone ever told you that you’re married to your company?

As businesspeople, we tend to throw ourselves into work without leaving enough time for our personal lives. Sometimes we feel that our work life has to be in perfect order before even looking to date. This can result in loneliness down the line when perhaps we have put off a relationship for too long. It may be harder to find someone as you get older, so think hard about whether you’re really going to be happy with a career as your sole source of satisfaction. If you are a single entrepreneur and you make the decision that you want to find a partner, you need to assess the best way to give yourself the time and energy to do both well.

First and foremost, give yourself time to date. Those who pursue their career or their studies intensely will usually find it easier to immerse themselves in work than to give themselves time for pleasure. It’s difficult to break away from something you know and are good at and risk the unfamiliar. That’s why this has to be a conscious decision. You can’t just say you’re going to date, put up a half-assed profile on a website and consider yourself good to go. You need to think of a good strategy for meeting people, decide on the type of person you want to meet, and purposefully schedule times that are sacred for dating and not for work. If you’re single and have been for awhile, you will have to make some adjustments and stick to them. Entrepreneurs tend to work long and erratic hours, which leaves little time to meet people. So force yourself to leave the office at 6 p.m. every Monday and Friday, for example, or commit to a lunch date once per week.

It may seem like jumping the gun, but decide in advance what type of person you want to date. If you want to date someone who doesn’t have a time-consuming career, be ready to spell our to them why you can’t see them all the time. If you plan to date someone with a job that is similar to yours in terms of time and stress, make up your mind that you aren’t going to make unreasonable demands on a potential mate’s times. You work hard and if you are seeking someone with the same type of lifestyle you have, you need to understand that work is important to them. There are benefits to dating someone with a similar work lifestyle as you – you get each other’s schedule and drive, but there are also downsides – neither of you can cater to the other’s needs all the time.

If you work long hours, it can be tempting to focus romantically on a co-worker. Be careful about dating someone with whom you work. If you spend a lot of time at the office and see someone all the time, romance often blooms. But dating a co-worker can bring with it a host of problems. Remember that if the romance goes badly, you’re going to see that person. Possibly every day. And if your officemates know about your relationship, you will have to deal with gossip and innuendo. The other potential problem with dating a co-worker is it can make you even more focused on work rather than giving you the work-life balance you seek.

That work-life boundary used to be set more clearly. Jobs had regular hours, when you left the office you left your work there, men vastly outnumbered women in the workforce, and people married early and after relatively little experience with the opposite sex. This is not how things go today, so understand that balancing work and your personal life is going to be complicated and don’t give up too quickly. Finding your perfect match can be a slow process. Society today is all about the quick-fix and entrepreneurs tend to be people who want to get tasks done. Dating doesn’t work like that. It’s part preparation, part willingness, and part luck. You can’t pencil in finding a girlfriend in the same way you can a project. Learn to say no to your inner boss when you feel like you should work another ten hours. Leave work at work, wherever that might be. Own the times you’ve set aside for dates – don’t apologize to your boss or to yourself for taking the time you need to build a personal life.

If you are already in a relationship and it isn’t going well, address the problems. Entrepreneurs have the tendency to ignore personal issues and bury themselves in work as a means of escape. This is unfair to both your partner and you. If a relationship isn’t going well, then take the time to assess why, decide whether you want to work on it, and then do that or end it. The longer you put off this type of decision, the harder it will be on both your and your partner. Your relationship deserves as much attention as your career. Look at it this way – a bad relationship or no relationship is probably going to make you unhappy, which will affect the quality of your work in the long run. Do everyone a favor and make your personal life an asset rather than a liability.

Don’t let either dating or work overwhelm you. If you are overwhelmed and stressed out, leave work at a reasonable hour and go home to take time for yourself. Do your nails or work on your carburetor. Watch a goofy movie. Go to bed early after a glass of wine or beer. You’re not going to do your job well if you’re constantly stressed out and you sure aren’t going to be a good date in that frame of mind. It can be a good idea to keep a log of what you do each week for work, for your relationship or potential relationship, for your health, etc. Make the log, then examine it and cut out the activities that drain you or that seem to be overwhelming everything else. If you find your work takes up 95% of your time and you never get to the gym or actually call that girl for coffee, you can look at concrete ways to change your focus.

Yes, in the end it’s all about balance. Prepare as best you can, then give yourself time to develop a good social life. And always remember to enjoy yourself!



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Posted 07-24-2013 9:15 pm by