Balancing the responsibilities of a family and running a business can be a challenging task. New businesses require constant attention in order to have any chance at success, which means that entrepreneurs often deal with conflicting demands on their time.
Parental responsibilities are important and so are all of the activities related to growing a business. Many of the skills that are critical to parenting, such as time management, conflict resolution and staying organized are also essential to being an entrepreneur. By following these five tips, you can strike a balance between your new business and your family.
Be incredibly organized
Staying organized with your time, belongings and inventory is the first step to finding balance in both your personal and professional life. Begin by making a to-do list and then schedule all of your tasks focusing on your priorities.
Be disciplined with your schedule and make sure you get the most important money-making activities done every day. Use your professional time wisely by choosing only important calls and meetings.
You can also use a calendar to carefully plan out each day. Family events, school meetings and your personal appointments should be put into your calendar first. Even if it is hard to say “no” to certain business obligations, you and your family would feel worse if you missed a holiday, birthday or the playoff game. Putting your family as your top priority will allow you some flexibility in the future.
Communicate your schedule and priorities
Communicating your schedule can help you avoid family arguments about your obligations. You can make your schedule available in paper by posting it in an obvious place like the front of the refrigerator. You can also use a digital calendar that you share with other family members. Doing this can help you eliminate upsetting conversations about what you are going to do every day.
You can also establish a priority list for each day, week, and month. This list of priorities can be communicated to any staff that you have as well as to your family. Having this priority list in place allows others to help you in your personal and professional goals. The transparency of sharing your schedule and priorities also helps you to stay on task and disciplined with your time and energy.
Always keep in mind that clear, concise and consistent communication facilitates strong relationships and gives others the opportunity to provide you with their feedback. If you are bothered about something considering your business, never shut your family down when they want to talk to you.
Poor communication is one of the reasons why many relationships break down. Be consistent in improving the quality of your family communication as this will help you share your thoughts and concerns and allow your family to understand what is going on.
Spend quality time with your family
The time you spend with your family should be focused around quality and being present in the moment rather than the quantity of time that you have. Make your family time count by doing enjoyable activities with your kids. Color pictures with them, play a board game or bake cookies together.
Sharing meals, reading stories and playing catch are all great family activities to make the most of your personal time. Be sure to make time for yourself and your partner that is separate from time with the kids. Having this quality time will minimize any feelings of guilt when you need to put in longer hours at work.
Involving your family in your business can also be a good idea. Some of your work activities could even become family activities, such as packing boxes to ship. For example, school-age kids can print labels and tape boxes shut while teenagers can drive parcels to the post office. Involving your family in your entrepreneurial business can teach your kids important lessons about business skills and hard work that will stay with them throughout their adult lives.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Knowing when to ask for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of knowing your limits and strengths. You can ask family and friends or trustworthy neighbors, but make sure not to burden them with requests. Hiring additional staff to help you with the workload is also an option.
At home, try to delegate tasks and chores so that your children and your partner can take some responsibility for what needs to be done. Divide responsibilities as equally as possible, taking into account the work and school schedules of others.
Give yourself a break
Taking a break is challenging for every entrepreneur and parent. Giving yourself the grace to relax and have a weekend free of work can motivate you. Even just a few hours of reading a book, getting a relaxing massage or going shopping can provide you with a much-needed break and renew your energy.
Be sure to include time for sleep, exercise, and healthy eating. Treating yourself well will help to ensure that your body and mind are ready for any challenge both your personal and professional life can bring.
Being a successful entrepreneur and having a fully functional family life is not impossible. All it takes is some organization, scheduling, and effective communication. Remember to spend quality time with your partner and kids as well as to dedicate some time to yourself, as this will help you destress and relax from your startup obligations.