Running a business is a lot of work. Most entrepreneurs start working for themselves to fulfill a passion and gain more control over their time. However, it often comes as a surprise that business owners tend to work way more hours than the average employee.
When you’re in the growth phase of your business, don’t be shocked to realize you’re working well over 40 hours per week. I know some business owners who told me they worked 60 – 80 hour weeks for a season.
While your business can easily take up a lot of your time, you still want to have time to maintain relationships with family and support them. Here’s how you can make time for your business and family by developing some of these core habits.
Schedule Work When Family is Busy
As an entrepreneur, you have the freedom to create your own flexible schedule. Use that to your advantage if you want to maximize time with family. I like to schedule work around my son’s school schedule and my husband’s work schedule.
I get up early when they are sleeping to start my morning routine. Then, I work on my most challenging tasks while they are away at work and school.
I schedule meetings during the day and may even put in a few extra hours when I know they’re busy with activities or other events whether my son has a playdate with a friend or my husband is busy running errands or at an event.
If I can get valuable work done when they’re busy, I’ll free up more time to spend when they’re available so I don’t feel like I’m neglecting my family.
It’s important to communicate with your family and understand their needs. Aim to map out your calendar weekly and decide when you’ll have working hours, and when you’ll put work away to spend more time with family.
For example, I know I can’t work in the evenings because it’s when my family expects to spend time with me and my son really likes when I get him ready for bed and tuck him in.
Defend Your Work Day and Family Time
It’s best to choose a designated time of day to spend valuable time with your family. Of course, you likely want to be available for them around the clock but you have to work sometime.
Schedule in family time and downtime just as you would a meeting or task for your business. When it’s on the calendar, that means you’ve prioritized it and planned for it.
That means it’s more likely to happen. For example, if you want to plan a weekly date with your spouse, it’s much better to put it on your calendar set to a specific day and time instead of just saying you’ll get around to it when you can.
Once it’s on the calendar, defend it at all costs. If you have work tasks to do, focus in on them distraction-free. If you said you’d stop working at a specific time and relax with family, be sure to stick to that and completely unplug.
I tend to avoid booking meetings after 4 pm because, by that time, I am shifting my focus and priorities to other aspects of my life including my family.
Share Tasks With Your Team
I know as entrepreneurs, we’re supposed to be “on” all the time but that’s just impossible. You can’t run your business around the clock but if you prefer to do so, realize you can’t do it alone.
Share tasks with your team to lighten your workload and free up more time to spend with your family. If you feel like you are overwhelmed with your business and neglecting your family, consider if it’s time to hire some help.
You can start by hiring someone on a part-time basis according to your budget. When I hired an assistant, I only planned to pay someone to work 5 hours per month on small tasks I didn’t want to spend time on anymore.
Sure, 5 hours per month wasn’t much, but it did free up some of my time so I could continue making money but still be present with my family. Over time, I was able to invest more money in outsourcing while growing my business.
Even if you don’t feel ready to hire an assistant, consider passing some tasks off to other people so you can have more time to spend with family. If you can pay someone $30 to mow your lawn and it allows you to go to see a movie or play with your loved ones on a Sunday afternoon is it worth it? If you can send your laundry to get cleaned in order to spend time teaching your son or daughter a new skill, it would help you balance business and family much better right?
Set Boundaries and Work Smarter
It’s important to determine what you will and won’t do when it comes to balancing your business and family. Family should be high on your priority list, but you will have to make some sacrifices while building your business.
The sacrifices made will vary by person but you have to determine the boundaries you’ll set when business and family tend to combine. Will you work on birthdays and holidays? What about graduations or other important events? How many extra hours will you put into your business vs. family time? When will you completely disconnect and be fully present with loved ones?
Also, realize that working smart is key when it comes to managing your time better so you can have the availability and energy to dedicate to other important areas of your life.
Try making your workday more efficient by time-blocking, scheduling out content, limiting checking your email to a few times per day, and cutting out tasks and activities that don’t align with your end goal or help contribute to your profits.
Balancing your business with time for family is a common struggle most entrepreneurs face. We all have families, and sometimes you have to remind yourself that your family is part of your why in terms of starting your business in the first place.
You can prioritize both your family and your business. You don’t have to choose! Get clear on your goals and create a schedule and calendar that is tailored to helping you reach them.
Communicate clearly with your family to explain what you’re doing with your business and why to gain their support and understanding. Find out what they need from you in terms of support, contributions to the household, and quality time, then prioritize it by working it into your schedule.
Do you ever struggle with balancing your business and time for family?