7 Ways To Create Balance Between Work and Family Time
We entrepreneurs have a way of turning into workaholics. It’s so easy to do. When you’re first starting out, there’s so much to do that many new entrepreneurs feel a compulsion to work until it’s all done. And when you love what you do with fervor, sometimes it’s hard to stop!
Usually I spend the month of December relaxing with family, preparing for the holidays, and doing my annual year-end assessment and pre-year planning. This holiday season was a little different. Since most of my clients were heading out of town or focusing on their own holiday festivities, my calendar was light enough that I decided to conduct my first ever group coaching program.
Boy, did I discover some things about balance while trying to do it all! Here are some of the lessons I learned the hard way:
1. Set regular working hours and keep them
The entrepreneurial lifestyle is often appealing because of the promise of flexible working hours. Sure, in many businesses, you can work whenever you want, but that doesn’t always mean that you should.
I set my working hours based on two factors: when I work best and when my clients are working and want to meet with me. There’s balance to be found here. If you happen to be a night owl, there’s nothing wrong with working when you’re at your best, but that doesn’t mean you should expect clients to show up for appointments at 3 a.m.
Regardless of what your working hours are, creating a structure and using self-discipline to stick to your structure will almost always help you to become more successful.
But remember, this works both ways- you have to stick to your structure and not become a workaholic. I myself have workaholic tendencies, and when my husband and I got married, I promised I would stop working each day at a certain time and I wouldn’t work on weekends, and I’ve kept to that…mostly…which has kept me sane and kept my marriage on track (though Leo is super-understanding when I’m on a deadline or working on a launch).
2. Make sure others in your family know your plans.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that if you don’t make it clear when you’re working, you’re likely to end up getting interrupted a lot. It’s better to make sure everyone knows you’re working, whether you actually say, “I will be working until 3:00,” or post a sign on a closed door.
3. Create a plan for work.
Especially at the beginning when you’re just starting your business, there are a million things to do and it can get overwhelming. If you create an overall plan for where you are and where you’re going, then it’ll be easier to prioritize and know where you can outsource. Once you’ve got that overall plan, start chunking your goals and tasks into manageable pieces, then plan what needs to get done each day.
I’m a huge fan of outsourcing, and today, the thriving virtual assisting field makes it easier than ever to find someone to take on tasks that you don’t like, aren’t particularly good at, or just simply don’t need to do.
Outsourcing is economically beneficial, and since it frees up your time, you can use that time for more revenue-generating activities, or you can use it to spend more time with your family.
5. Create a plan for play.
For some entrepreneurs, it’s useful to structure “play time” just as you structure your work time. Many of my clients with workaholic tendencies feel guilty if they take time off and don’t do anything, so we create a plan for their time off as well. That way, they don’t waver around, trying to find something to do. Instead, they designate certain times for certain fun activities.
But be careful that you don’t treat your fun time like something you’re checking off of your “to do” list. Play time should feel like play time. Allow yourself to relax and enjoy it.
You simply can’t overestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s time to restructure your day and analyze your habits and your sleeping environment so that you get enough sleep and are rested, refreshed, and rejuvenated. This will help you stay on top of things, keep your mind working optimally and your passion high.
If you’re anything like me, your brain has a hard time shutting down, so carve out a 15-30 minute block before bedtime for yoga and/or meditation so that your brain will slow down and let you get some sleep!
7. Stay healthy.
Another thing one can’t overestimate is the value of exercise and staying healthy. If you’re eating badly, it’ll affect your brain and that means low creativity. As an entrepreneur, your creativity is one of your most powerful allies- so feed your brain with healthy food! Eating healthy and staying fit means you’ll have more energy to devote to your business.
The balance between work and home/play is a critical part of your small business success. Pay attention and make sure you include fun in your business plan!