The perfect home life is different for everyone. Whether it is time with your kids, your spouse, friends or simply time alone, we all have different visions/ideas of what is perfect. Regardless of the goal, the following steps will help you achieve the balance you need…
Working as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get immersed into your business and it’s growth; using all your waking hours to move things forward. It is exhilarating building your dreams. But it’s not good for you to ignore your home life completely. You may end up..
- filing a divorce.
- re-introducing yourself to your children in 5/10 years, because to them you are a complete stranger
- having a breakdown and those close friends’ you once had are not there to help lift you back up
These are extremes, but they happen to some.
To avoid these fates, It is important to create boundaries between your work and home life. Whether that is blocks of time that are set aside or simply rules you live by. For example, choose not to work between 5pm and 8pm so you can have an evening meal and enjoy some downtime. Or, on special occasions; regardless of what is going on, you make the time.
Boundaries/cut-offs will help keep you on track and ensure you maintain a level of interaction with your home life. Pick at least 2 or 3 to implement from the off.
This is particularly relevant if you work from home. It’s important to create clear spaces for work and home life, so the two do not become blurred. This helps with the boundaries element mentioned above too.
Whether you have a home office that is dedicated to work, or even just a table/spot in the home that is for working only. Make sure work stays here and away from your ‘home’ environment.
Time of working
Consider the hours you choose to work that allow you optimum time at home and at work. Whilst others are asleep or busy is a perfect time to focus on the business without any sacrifice for home life, whether that’s early in the morning or later at night.
For example, perhaps your children don’t wake until 7am, why not get an hour or 2 in before their day begins and then switch off to enjoy the morning routine with them. Alternatively, if your spouse has a social/physical activity session at the same time at night each week choose those hours to do more work.
Your day may well look different to everyone else’s but if you choose to fit your time of working in with what else is going on, you really can have the best of both worlds.
Location of working
If you have an external office, as well as a home office, don’t stay late or go early, use the mix of a home based environment and an external environment to make it work and do the graft you need to without sacrificing ‘home’ time.
For example, leave your office everyday at 5pm to get home for the evening routine with the kids or to have dinner with your spouse. Spend a few hours in your home life, before relocating to the home working environment to crack on with your business. Win win for all.
Think about where you work and whether that affords you to jump in and out of your home life. Not all work has to be done from the office either. Rather than skipping an occasion because you have to work. How about taking your work with you, joining in the celebration, but then disappearing for an hour or two to a quiet spot in that location (whilst the main event is simmering) and then returning for round two later on.
As long as you are fully focused on that which you have chosen to do at the time you have chosen to be there doing it, it’s a better situation for all and you won’t miss out.
This is one of the most crucial factors to building a perfect home life whilst running a business. If you can use the time you have as effectively as possible and make sure you are productive, then you can have your cake and eat it.
Productivity is an art form and does take discipline, there are plenty of tips/tricks to help you succeed in this, but one of my favourites is the Ninja Productivity Spreadsheet from ‘Think Productive’
Productivity isn’t just for work – you can be productive with the time at home too, making sure you don’t waste it.
Whilst it’s easy to think the business is in a critical phase and needs all your time now and you’ll have more time to spend time on the ‘home’ portion of your life once you are successful. This never happens. There will always be something else. Another reason.
My advice to you – equal out your effort. Not in years, but rather days and at the very most weeks. So if you’ve spent 2 days solely on business without giving any time to your home life, give that time back within a reasonable window to keep things equal. It is the only way neither will suffer.
Share your business talk
If those in your home life are made to feel a part of your business it’ll be a lot easier to manage.
Make sure you include those close to you. Talk about the successes, failures, concerns, decisions you need to make – ask for opinions. They will become invested in your dreams too and therefore will be more forgiving should things have to be juggled. Not only that, you may well find what they have to say is invaluable.
Sharing important facts about you and what you are passionate about helps strengthen relationships.
Word of caution though – don’t make business ALL you talk about, just part of it!
Trust others to help
The best way to give yourself more time is to delegate. This is something most entrepreneurs are not particularly good at.
Consider all those things you do which could be done by someone else to give you more time – it might be at work or home. Look for ways to get others involved in tasks/chores, which don’t require your skill set to complete. You can literally shave days off of your ‘to do’ list if you do this right!
If you are a little bit of a control freak then you may find this hard. My advice is choose the thing you hate doing the most and find someone who can help you with this as a starter for 10. It could be the books/accounting for the business, or it could be someone to do the ironing. Start small and go from there.
None of the above are rocket science and I’m pretty sure you’ve heard them all before in some form or other, but if you follow all of these steps and implement the strategies I’ve outlined I promise you will achieve your business dreams without sacrificing your home life and you’ll be happier for it.