Top tips for getting the work/family balance right so you can stay sane and guilt free
Let’s be honest, running a business and managing a family at the same time is a challenge. It can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, and it is easy to end up feeling guilty and like you are failing at everything.
For many people their business journey starts with a desire to have a more flexible and family friendly work/life balance but it can end up feeling like the worst of both worlds.
My boys were 5 and 3 when I started my first company, so I know how difficult it can be to manage the needs of a business and parenthood at the same time.
During my business journey I’ve learnt some tricks that can help in finding the balance between family and work while staying on top of both and without any need to feel guilty about either!
- You need to find childcare – When you have small children it is impossible to get work done, concentrate or interact in a professional manner when they are playing on the floor at your feet or watching TV in the next room.
- On the other days when your small child is at home, schedule zones into your day so that you have specific time with your child and time where you can work.
- School does make things easier but you really only have between 9:30am – 2:30am for solid work. Those five hours fly past so you need to be organised and ready to cram in as much as possible.
- A To-Do list is essential. Prioritise, be organised and make sure you know what you will be doing each day.
- Check your emails first thing in the morning. Business coaches often say not to do this but I have found it is helpful to know if something cropped up that will need your urgent attention.
- After school care – try booking your kids in for one or two days per week. Knowing that you have those longer days will make a big difference to your ability to manage your work load.
- Invest in blue tooth capacity for your car and use any time you have in the car alone to make business calls.
Nothing is more important than your family and the key to successfully running your business from home is making sure you have time to be really present for your kids and partner.
The best way to do this is by scheduling zones in your week; times for work and times for family. Communicate these to everyone so they know what to expect and then follow through on what you have promised… no sneaking off to check your emails!
Here is an example of an afternoon that would work for your family and your business:
- 3-5pm – Kid time – afternoon tea and homework
- 5-6pm – Check emails and respond to anything urgent that has arisen between 2:30 and 5:00pm.
- 6pm onwards – Cook dinner, extra homework, family time
If you still have to work after dinner, try sitting on the couch with a laptop while the kids watch TV. You are ‘with’ them but it’s a time when they don’t really want to engage with you.
And in amongst all this, don’t forget to clear some space for your partner. Put younger children to bed early or as the kids grow older, go for a walk after dinner.
Remember however that you can’t do everything and it is OK to outsource; get a cleaner, buy your groceries online, or find someone to do your ironing.
The key to succeeding with both your work and kids is to plan every day so you have the time you need for your business without sacrificing quality time with your business without sacrificing quality time with your family.