How can you be an awesome business owner and family member simultaneously? It's certainly not an easy task. However, here are a couple of my tips to enhance the integration between professional and personal lives ... think of it as building a bridge. I'm speaking from experience as a mom of three young boys and owner of two businesses.
All small business owners should have a clear vision of values and goals that are meaningful to them. In fact, I love Michael Hyatt’s latest book “Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want." This book sets a clear foundation for creating a life plan that articulates long-term goals. Entrepreneurs need to recognize that there are other things outside of work, and I especially enjoy serving visionary leaders who set aside time for family and community involvement.
One of the basic principles of time management is creating a consistent schedule each day, and it is particularly critical for small business owners. After all, many of us value flexibility. This can be a double-edged sword if there is no routine. I start each day with prayer, getting the kids ready for school and daycare, and some physical activity. My traditional workday does not start until 9am. This routine has made me MUCH happier. Additionally, my positive mindset resulting from this routine has resulted in business growth!
3. Plan Ahead
Try to schedule as many meetings as possible in the same geographic area. With mobile workplaces on the rise, it is common to work from home, a coffee shop, or a co-working space. If you will be in an area far from the office, try to set-up meetings with other contacts in that same area. Otherwise, travel time is wasted.
Along the same lines, planning ahead involves intentionality around the types of activities you are doing. Consider setting aside three days each week to work ON the business and the other two days to work IN the business. Working “ON” the business reserves time for strategic thinking, marketing, administrative oversight, etc. Working “IN” the business entails the detailed work to bring your product or service to market.
4. Be Productive
Evaluate times of optimal productivity and conquer the three most important tasks each day. If you are a morning person, tackle the most challenging projects in the morning. Schedule regular times to check email daily and stick to it. For service providers, Calendly is a great scheduling tool where you can set parameters on the meeting time and length. Calendly links with Google Calendar and other applications, so any appointments associated with your Calendly email address will be updated in other integrated systems.
5. Go with the Flow
Entrepreneurs do not have superpowers (although some of us like to think so). Work may have to take a back-burner to other life events, and that’s OK. It all goes back to priorities. If your young son or daughter is sick one day, be there for your child and make up work later. Ask for outside help if needed.
Although not an exhaustive list, I hope you find the above tips helpful. Any ones that I missed? Outsourcing will be a separate blog post.