10 realistic work-life balance tips to steal from billionaires

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Tips To Achieve Work-Life Balance

Did you know that 9 out of 10 startups fail? While that can be attributed to a number of reasons, having an equally failing life outside of work (marriage, work/life balance, and self-care) will put a huge strain on your work life.

On the flip side, professionals committed to a productive life running on all cylinders outside of work will find that they are typically more productive and emotionally engaged in their work.

Simply put: Success in their personal lives begets success in their work lives.

If you find that you're teetering dangerously close to being out-of-balance, consider rearranging your personal life by doing these 10 things.

1. Exercise.

Anna Wintour, Vogue's editor-in-chief, plays tennis for one hour every day and Richard Branson stays active with kitesurfing. But if exercising brings thoughts of getting a root canal for you, no worries; Harvard-trained psychologist and best-selling author Shawn Achor says all it takes is 15 minutes of fun cardio activity per day. So ditch the gym for gardening or walking the dog. Juts remember: The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant.

2. Pick up a new hobby (or rediscover an old one).

Is there something enjoyable that you've always wanted to do, but haven't had the time to pursue? Or something that you absolutely love to do, but haven't done in years? Need some ideas? Here are the hobbies of some of the world's most successful people:

3. Do something fun for yourself.

Don't neglect "special time" with yourself. Science has found that people who have fun are more creative and productive, make better decisions, and get along better with colleagues. Daymond John, investor on the ABC reality series "Shark Tank," spends weekends at his lakeside cabin in Dutchess County catching largemouth bass.

5. Find a faith that works for you.

I speak of a faith--whatever your belief system--that comes from a deep spiritual connection with a power greater than yours. Billionaire Bill Gates told Rolling Stone that his family goes to Catholic Church, even though he admitted having his own doubts about God.

6. Take up meditation.

Oprah Winfrey practices Transcendental Meditation. She sits in stillness for 20 minutes, twice a day. She says, "only from that space can you create your best work and your best life." Setting aside this little ritual everyday during your spare time will make the rest of your week seem manageable. You'll notice a difference and a weight come off your shoulders.

7. Give back to the community.

A study conducted by Australia's Fidelity Charitable Gift Trust found that 89 percent of entrepreneurs donate to charity. Entrepreneurs with a heart of service understand that the cycle of business, and life, should be about giving back and spreading the wealth to causes they believe in. Meet 7 entrepreneurs who love giving back.

8. Get together with mentors outside of work to learn something new.

This takes humility, so check your ego at the door, and seek out sage advice from wise connections to improve a part of you that's lacking, or to get some fresh perspective on something that is keeping you stuck. General Motor CEO Mary Barra is influenced by a network of them. She writes how mentors correctly advised her to take an HR role even though she was an engineer. "Different people see different aspects of us as we progress in our careers and handle the opportunities and challenges along the way," said Barra in a LinkedIn post.

9. Go out on a date. Make it weekly for it to really count.

Entrepreneur John Michael Morgan, best selling author of Brand Against The Machine, lets his wife have the floor to speak on the importance of dating. She writes in her husband's blog, "schedule a date night right now and use that alone time to create or re-evaluate your vision. What do you want your lives to look like in the next 5, 10, 20-plus years?"

10. Don't forget to spend quality time with your family.

Make sure you're always available for your loved ones, and never put the business over them. Even billionaire entrepreneurs have a home life. Shark Tank co-host Mark Cuban told a South by Southwest audience:

"On the weekends we have [a nanny] in the morning, so Tiff and I go work out Saturday mornings. Then the rest of the weekend it's just us. It's us putting them to bed. It's us at dinner. We try to be as normal as possible."

Bringing It Home

The key to success at work starts with success outside of work. Maintaining a healthy, productive, and well-balanced life makes good business sense as you climb the ladder of success. You'll keep your sanity and it will protects you from anxiety, stress, and burnout.

RELATED: 21 traits of highly successful billionaires

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21 traits of highly successful billionaires
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21 traits of highly successful billionaires

1. Oprah Winfrey: Grateful

The former queen of daytime television doesn’t let her $3.1 billion net worth get to her head. Despite her abundant success, Oprah Winfrey's constant gratitude is truly humbling. In fact, Winfrey has had a gratitude journal for at least 10 years.

"I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibrations," she wrote in the November 2012 issue of "O, The Oprah Magazine." "You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you're aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots."

2. Warren Buffett: Patient

Warren Buffett, the second-richest man in America behind Bill Gates, built his roughly $65 billion net worth by simply taking his time. Not a fan of trendy stocks or knee-jerk reactions to market fluctuations, Buffett has a “set it and forget it” investing philosophy.

On the "Dan Patrick Show," Buffett said one of the biggest money mistakes when it comes to money is trying to get rich quick.

“It’s pretty easy to get well-to-do slowly," he said. "But it’s not easy to get rich quick.”

3. Bill Gates: Humble

If you want to become a billionaire and be like the richest man in the world, practice being charitable — and humble.

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have devoted their money and time to improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. But despite his generous donations, Gates recognizes that others are making contributions that he says are more meaningful than his.

“I’m not giving up food, or vacation, or a trip to the movies” to give charitably, Bill Gates said in a video interview for Reddit. “I essentially sacrifice nothing that I want, and there are people who are out in the field and they're giving more ... they're the biggest philanthropists.”

4. Larry Ellison: Inquisitive

Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle Corporation, says his inquisitive nature is responsible for his success.

“The most important aspect of my personality, as far as determining my success goes, has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts and questioning authority,” Ellison said in an interview posted on Achievement.org. “While that can be painful in your relationships with your parents and teachers, it’s enormously useful in life.”

5. Michael Bloomberg: Brave

When he was 39 years old, Michael Bloomberg was fired from the only full-time job he’d had and loved. But, he took a big risk and started his own company based on an "unproven idea that nearly everyone thought would fail: making financial information available to people, right on their desktops," he wrote in an article on LinkedIn.

“Life is too short to spend your time avoiding failure,” he wrote.

6. Mark Zuckerberg: Persistent

In a Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked, "What's the most important secret to success?" His answer: "Don't give up," reports Business Insider.

Thanks to his determination and persistence, Zuckerberg built a superior product with Facebook, which continues to reign and push boundaries in the social media space. Today, the social media giant has a market cap of nearly $315 billion while Zuckerberg has a personal net worth of more than $50 billion, reports Forbes.

7. Sheldon Adelson: Tenacious

Sheldon Adelson, the CEO and chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, started his business career at the age of 12 when he bought his first newspaper corner thanks to a $200 loan from his uncle, reports Forbes.

Adelson had a few ventures, some of which were successful. However, he did lose a fortune — twice, reported The New Yorker in 2008. Despite his losses, Adelson's tenacity never wore thin. In his mid-30s, Adelson's net worth was around $5 million. Today, his net worth is closer to $30 billion.

8. Sergey Brin: Innovative

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met when they were students at Stanford University in 1995.

Larry and I] experimented with a variety of things," said Brin in a video posted by Stanford. "We had some shared interests. Larry had this crazy idea that he was going to download all the links on the web and then do something with them; it wasn't entirely clear what. We did find that there were great applications. And one of them was search, which eventually became Google."

Brin and Page's innovation was the forefront of their motivation to succeed — and it paid off. Today, Brin is worth nearly $40 billion, according to Forbes.

9. Jeff Bezos: Courageous

Amazon founder — and fellow innovator — Jeff Bezos once said his willingness to fail makes him a successful innovator, which is a brave admission from the founder of one of the world’s most forward-thinking companies.

“Without a willingness to fail, you cannot innovate because most innovations won’t work," said Bezos, according to GeekWire. "...for the big innovation, you have to be willing to fail. Every startup company faces that."

10. Donald Trump: Passionate

If you want to achieve billionaire status, you better be passionate about your goals — like presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump.

“Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy, you have nothing!” tweeted Trump in 2014, who also added that this is just one more of his "totally brilliant quotes," so "use it well."

11. George Soros: Impulsive

With a net worth of about $25 billion, George Soros is arguably one of today's most successful investors and business magnates. But compared with other rich investors, Soros seems to be more impulsive. In fact, he's admitted that a back pain once influenced his investing decisions.

"I rely a great deal on animal instincts," wrote Soros in his book, "Soros on Soros." "When I was actively running the Fund, I suffered from backache. I used the onset of acute pain as a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio. The backache didn't tell me what was wrong ... but it did prompt me to look for something amiss when I might not have done so otherwise."

Soros added relying on signs of back pain "is not the most scientific way to run a portfolio," but there's a bigger takeaway from this experience: Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut — or, in this case, back.

12. Carl Icahn: Competitive

Carl Icahn, a billionaire investor, exhibited his competitive nature early on in life, which likely helped him amass a net worth of about $17 billion, according to Forbes.

To pay for room and board during college, Icahn joined a poker game. Although the other players cleaned him out at first, he bounced back.

“I read three books on poker in two weeks, and after that I was 10 times better than any of them,” Icahn told fellow billionaire Tony Robbins, as reported by Business Insider. “To me, it was a big game, big stakes. Every summer I won about $2,000, which was like $50,000 back in the '50s."

13. Steve Ballmer: Detail-Oriented

According to one of his former co-workers, Steve Ballmer “is a master of precision questioning to analyze and get to the root issues of any problem whether it is business or technology related.”

This kind of detail-oriented critical thinking and problem solving helped Ballmer break down flawed conclusions and build one of the greatest software companies in the world: Microsoft, where he once served as CEO.

14. Phil Knight: Determined

Nike co-founder Phil Knight started with a niche product and brought it mainstream by recognizing a market opportunity, reports Inc. With an initial investment of just $1,000, Knight sold his shoes from the back of a station wagon to local runners and eventually grew the company, which has a market cap of more than $100 billion, according to Forbes.

15. Michael Dell: Confident

Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell became the youngest-ever CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 1992, according to the Dell website. He founded the company in 1984 when he was only 19 years old — and with only $1,000.

“You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful," Dell has been quoted saying, demonstrating his confidence. "You just need a framework and a dream.”

16. Charlie Ergen: Tough

Charlie Ergen, co-founder and CEO of DISH, is a pioneer in satellite broadcasting — and has a reputation as a tough boss. However, he's aware of his rep and has no problems defending it.

"I think I'm a really easy guy to work for and with — if you're a high achiever and you want to achieve something," Ergen said in a 2015 "Titans at the Table" interview. "If you just want a job, you're probably not going to like it too much [at DISH]."

17. Larry Page: Intuitive

Larry Page didn’t know if there were any practical applications to his work when he co-founded Google — he just knew he was onto something. It’s a good thing he listened to his gut because Google is a top search engine and the second-most valuable brand in the world behind Apple, according to Forbes.

18. Charles and David Koch: Strategic

Love them or hate them, the Koch family has made some very prudent and strategic moves that have allowed them to build a combined net worth of $89 billion, according to Forbes. They are strategic in every decision they make, including hiring.

“A lot of companies — and we’ve been guilty of this in the past — want to hire the smartest person, the most talented person,” Charles Koch told The Wichita Eagle in 2012. “Well, the worst thing we can do, as we found, is hire a very talented person with poor values. If we are going to hire somebody with poor values, we want somebody who’s not very smart, because he or she will do less damage.”

19. Jan Koum: Straightforward

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum is a self-made billionaire with a net worth of $8.8 billion, reports Forbes.

In an exclusive for Forbes, fellow WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton recalled sitting across the desk from Koum, who moonlighted at Ernst & Young in 1997 as a security tester.

"You could tell [Koum] was a bit different," said Acton. "He was very no-nonsense, like ‘What are your policies here. What are you doing here?’"

20. Richard Branson: Creative

Billionaire Richard Branson gushed about his love for creating things in an interview with Entrepreneur.

"Most entrepreneurs are not doing it for financial motives in the first place," he said. "They're just people who love creating. From the time that I created my first magazine or first record company, I just wanted to create things that I could be proud of. Money was just an evil byproduct to pay the bills at the end of the year."

21. Mark Cuban: Charming

You’ve got to be a people person if you want to build an empire. Mark Cuban, who has a net worth of $3.2 billion, knows the importance of winning hearts and minds.

“People hate dealing with people who are jerks,” Cuban wrote for Blog Maverick. “It’s always easier to be nice than to be a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.”

You got it, Mark.

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