Building a business and starting a family are the two most rewarding things that I’ve done in my life. But doing them together, at the same time, wasn’t easy. In the beginning I had no balance. I slept in a closet while my company was rejected for funding time and time again. I spent all of my time learning totally new skills, staying up late and waking up early to get everything done. It wasn’t sustainable — my wife and I both knew it.
My work-life balance tools.
My wife is a working mom and the one responsible for most of what I know about balancing my work life and my family life. Here’s what we’ve learned about balancing our jobs with our home life.
Find your values. For us, this one was easy: family. There’s no doubt in my mind that my family comes first. My family is my number one value. My business is my vision and professional fulfillment.
Invest in your personal health and wellness. When you run a business, your personal health has to become a huge priority. This means taking care of your body, setting healthy limits and investing time in activities that will fulfill you beyond your job and allow you to be creative in new and exciting ways.
Minimize distractions. This is the tough one. Ask yourself what’s frivolous in your life — what doesn’t align with your values or your business goals — and cut it out. That doesn’t mean cutting out things you love. Far from it! It means focusing on where you spend your energy and making sure you’re aligned.
Stay organized. Keep a calendar, make to-do lists. Whatever you do to stay organized, make sure it’s a vital part of your daily routine. And don’t skimp on personal obligations. Schedule date nights in advance and make time for your home life to keep your work life at work.
Don’t get discouraged. Remember no single day is balanced. Some days will be work from the time your alarm goes off to when you’re back in bed. Other days, it’s full-on family time. Most days, it’s a mix. For us, the secret to not burning out has been making sure your time is an even blend.
A few more tips from other pros.
But that’s just what has worked for my family. Here’s a list of work-life strategies the group brainstormed during our Self Made session. We talked about how to find the right balance — and knowing how to spot the signs that things are out of whack.
Think of at least three signs that you look out for to help you determine if your life is out of balance.
Addicted to your smartphone
Name at least five must-haves or qualities that describe your version of a fulfilled life.
Having time to start a family
Having boundaries and guidelines
Working to live vs. living to work
Showing gratitude every morning
What is the most successful tactic you have learned that helps you strike a better work-life balance?
Working from home one day per week (if possible)
Taking time to get organized
Having a clear vision/purpose
Taking a trip
Doing things right away instead of procrastinating
Learning how to say "no"
Taking at least one day off per week
Including family and friend events in your schedule