Splitting your priorities between two equally important things can be incredibly difficult - as in the case of trying to split your time between running your own business, and being with your family. To some, the balance may come easily. But - if you’re anything like me - you must weigh everything carefully. You have to find the perfect balance. If you choose to spend too much time with your family, you may find that the business you’ve started is suffering or failing - which not only damages your entrepreneurial dreams, but also puts the stability of your family in jeopardy. On the other hand, if you prioritize your business above everything else, you miss out on valuable family time and may find that - eventually - your family begins to resent you for it.
According to Laurence B. Green, attorney and co-founder of Berger and Green, "One of the most challenging thing about running a business and having a family is trying to find the perfect balance between the two. You don't want to neglect either, but sometimes you can misplace your time and find yourself falling behind in either your business plan or your family time. So make sure that you make a firm plan and stick to it - schedule time for family and time for business, and keep them separate. This may be hard at times, but it will pay off in the end."
So what can you do to find a balance between the two? It’s not always easy, but with the proper mindset and preparation, anyone can find a balance that works for them and their life.
- Make Sure You Manage Your Time Efficiently
This can mean things like ensuring that you have effective barriers between family time and work time. If you work out of this house, this is a little easier, because your family can’t be there to distract you. In that case, you simply have to ensure you aren’t working longer hours that would cut into your family time.
If you work at home, try to set boundaries with your family. Be reasonable, of course, but make sure you tell them when business hours are, so they know when to try not to disturb you. You may still have some intrusions and interruptions, of course, but that can be dealt with well enough.
Like when you’re working at an office, you need to be very clear about your starting and ending times when you’re working. It’s very easy to get caught up in the amount of things that you need to accomplish and lose track of time, working late into the evening and missing out on spending time with your family. So set a series of reminders if you need to - set an alarm to tell you when to start wrapping up your day so that you can keep the line between work and family firmly in place.
2. Create Separate Spaces
Very similar to the first point - make sure that your workspace is separate from your living space. It helps if you have an office that you can utilize, if only so that your family won’t always be walking through and distracting you when you’re trying to work. This will lead to you being more productive and efficient while you’re working, and allow you to more thoroughly relax when you’re with your family.
The popular saying, “out of sight, out of mind” and it has some truth to it. If you keep your work out of sight while you’re with your family, you’ll be less stressed about everything that you need to accomplish the next day. Likewise, if you keep yourself more away from your family while you’re working, you won’t be distracted by what they’re doing, or planning to do.
3. You’ll Always Feel That You’re Missing Something
This is an important lesson: it’s impossible to do everything. No matter what you do, you’re always going to feel like you’re missing out on something. But if you let that feeling get to you, you’ll find yourself prioritizing your time wrong, becoming more and more stress, and burning out. Keeping business hours and working in an office will certainly help you become more productive and help minimize the feeling that you’re missing something, but chances are, it will still be there.
A trick to being a successful parent and business owner is knowing when to bend your rules. Yes, they should be pretty strict - but you can also end your business day a little bit early to go see your kid’s game, play, concert, or whatever else. Likewise, if you have something important going on at work - like a call that has to happen outside of business hours due to a time difference - that’s okay, too. The key is to be flexible without completely abandoning your schedule.
Another important thing to remember is that not everything works for everybody. While these tips are generally good practices for me and others, they may not completely work for you,and that’s okay! You just have to find your own balance and routine.