Worried mother holding baby and talking on smart phone at home office
Making it has never been easy, but it feels like today, you need to be extremely dedicated and persevering if you are to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true. Hustling to reach your goals is more than respectable, however, it will also probably mean a slew of compromises you will have to make in your personal life. That may not be such a huge issue if you’re still young and without a family. If you’ve already settled down and had kids, though, working 24/7 will certainly evoke mixed feelings in you.
Creating a near-ideal work-life balance is by no means easy, however, it’s necessary. Not only do you want to avoid burnout, but you also don’t want to have any regrets years into the future, when you suddenly realize your kids have grown up and time has flown by. To help you out, here are a few work-life balance tips every ambitious entrepreneur with a family needs!
Start with your mindset
The first thing you will need to adjust if you truly want a change is your mindset. You mustn’t feel guilty for not spending every waking moment working towards your dreams. Recharging is just as important as keeping up with your tasks, and if you don’t do it, you will run out of fuel soon. You deserve a break and to spend time with your family. It’s what will give you the energy and motivation to push further. Having a meaningful life outside of work and doing enjoyable things with the people you love will also be like a line of defense: a support system you can fall back on when things don’t go the way you want them to at work. Don’t associate your entire personality with your work, and you’ll be able to shift your mindset.
Mind your work hours
When you’re your boss, it’s easy for boundaries to disappear. Taking work home and having work on your mind at all times is, however, exhausting. Setting appropriate boundaries between your work life and your family live is incredibly important. Even if you work from home, do have specific working hours, and don’t let work take over your whole day. Clock out when it’s time to do so, and don’t let the work tasks linger on in your mind. Leave them for tomorrow and be present with your family. At the same time, the opposite also applies. Let your family know that you need to focus during your work hours, and they should be understanding. The more you can keep the two separate, the more you’ll get out of both.
You might find it hard to keep your work hours defined as we said in the last paragraph. One can easily lose control of one’s time if one is not amply organized. Poor time-management habits and a lack of structure in your work are a sure recipe for working overtime. So, boost your productivity. Learn how to prioritize your tasks and create schedules that will keep you on track. Do more in less time, and you won’t be dragging out your work past your working hours. Being productive will also make you less likely to feel guilty for not working longer. Create to-do lists for the following day so that you can take the tasks off your mind when finally, it’s time to spend time with your family.
Learn to delegate
No one can do everything on their own, and you should accept this as soon as possible. Even if this is about your own business where you want to be in charge of everything, you can only do that for so long, so being smarter with what deserves your time is highly recommended. While business owners may hate the idea, delegation is a vital skill you should try to learn early on. Outsourcing tasks that only steal your time will open up a whole world of possibilities. You’ll have more time, both to deal with more vital work tasks and to spend freely. It’s an investment that will pay off.
Don’t sacrifice family time
The next crucial piece of advice all of us can learn from is redefining the meaning of “free time.” Your free time reserved for your family should not be considered expendable. It should not be the first thing you sacrifice when something comes up. For instance, if your family has the habit of dining together every night, try to give this ritual the same importance as that work task that could very well wait until the next morning. “Free” time does not need to mean that you are available, so do try to keep yourself to plans made with your family.
Schedule it if you need to
The previous advice can be difficult to follow in certain situations. To remedy it, you might want to go as far as scheduling family time. It is not wrong to take time off just to spend it with your children. It does not have to be a grand occasion, either. Stop thinking about those hours as a loss of profit. Your business will not go down because you take a couple of hours off every Friday to attend your child’s training session. Once again, learning how to schedule things will be a game-changer.
Deal with family issues
Maintaining family-work balance is hard enough under normal circumstances, but the situation can get even more complicated when we’re dealing with family problems at the same time. Unfortunately, not everyone’s family life turns out like a fairytale. If your family has gone through a rough patch that could not be fixed and separation became inevitable, spending family time with your kids may become even more difficult. However, you must not let things get hostile. It’s not good, either for you or for your children. Try to solve the disagreement in a friendly way with the help of experienced mediation lawyers. They will help you arrive at an agreement that will work for both parties involved.
No matter how much you try to control everything, sooner or later, you will have to realize that it’s not possible. Some things are out of our hands, and refusing to let them go will only make us feel frustrated. But while you cannot control the outside world, what you can, indeed, control is how flexible you are and how you react to changes. You might not be able to follow your schedule at all times. Unexpected obstacles may also come your way. Accept that nothing will ever be perfect and embrace progress instead of striving for something unattainable. Even if your family-work balance is not ideal at the moment, the most important thing is that you’re working on it.
Relax on public holidays
Some people find it difficult to relax and would do something productive every waking moment of their life. Public holidays might not mean much for an ambitious entrepreneur, but that is a big mistake. While it may seem like the perfect opportunity to catch up on your work or get a head start on a project, you are giving up your free time for no tangible benefit. Consider public holidays as an opportunity to recharge, and you’ll be able to spend your time more meaningfully.
Balancing family time and work as a busy entrepreneur is surely a challenge. However, you mustn’t let your work take over your entire life. Remember the aforementioned tips and try to be more mindful about where your time is spent.
Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer, and her ultimate passion is art and architecture. She is also a bibliophile and her favourite book is "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner.