Balancing family life and business
A bit of a different post from me this week!
If you're reading this, you're probably interested in finding out the answer to the million-dollar question 'how do you balance growing a family and growing a business?'
It's no secret that families and businesses both require time, money and attention in order to grow. And it's not uncommon for busy business owners to overlook family life because they are so focused on their work - it's often seen as another 'child' to many! The pressure of constantly trying to meet both the business's needs and those of the family can become overwhelming. Finding the right balance can certainly be a challenge.
As a business owner and mama myself, I have first-hand experiences of the challenges that come with starting and growing a business alongside raising two small people. Before starting my interior design business, I worked in the NHS and could leave my job at 4.30 pm each day and rarely took work home with me. One thing that took a lot of adjustment was getting used to the lack of boundaries that naturally came with building a business from home.
Whether you're at the start of your business journey, currently stuck in the trenches of trying to juggle both or are just plain interested to see how I have tried to create a better balance, read on!
Create a routine
Be mindful of how you spend your time.
Not only does a daily routine keep you organised and productive but it will make your day more predictable, saving you time and energy. When our valuable time is wasted, it can feel stressful and frustrating.
I also find time blocking helps me with productivity and makes me more efficient. I tend to designate a set time each day for responding to emails, completing project work, batching social media posts etc. and then I can just focus on one task at a time.
Don't be too hard on yourself though - having a family and running a business won't always fit into a perfect routine and giving yourself some grace on this one is important too.
Set goals and prioritise daily
If you're anything like me, your to-do list is as long as your arm and only seems to get longer!
Putting time aside each morning to set my goals for the day and prioritise tasks has helped me enormously. It means I no longer procrastinate and focus on the 'easy' jobs leaving the harder tasks sitting on the list for another day.
I choose three tasks for the day and list them in priority order, ideally with the hardest task first. One oat milk cappuccino later and I knuckle down until it's ticked off. Anything else I achieve after these tasks is a bonus and I find that this means I don't miss anything important and still feel like I'm making my way through the never-ending list.
It's easy to find yourself worn out when you're giving your all to your family and your business. But who is going to take care of you?
Whilst you may be holding everything together, if you neglect your own mental and physical wellbeing you could well be in a position where you struggle to do either!
It's important to recharge and spend some time fulfilling your own needs, after all, unplugging from it all for short periods can help you to rejuvenate and refresh ready to bounce back into action.
Reading a book, taking a bath, going for a run, doing something each day that is just for you might feel indulgent to begin with, but I can guarantee you'll be more productive as a parent and as a business owner in the long run.
Work when they sleep
You've probably heard this one before and you might be thinking that it's easier said than done! And it kind of is. But in the same way it's important to find time solely for your family, you also need to find time solely for your business.
If your kids are little, nap times are a great way to get some work time in. After 7 pm is another favourite time in my house - I find I can get a couple of hours of solid work done once the kids are asleep before settling on the sofa with my husband for an hour or so of trash TV before bed (no judgement please!)
If you have childcare or your kids are at school, this is the perfect time to focus on your business. I have 3 days a week where mine are in nursery and I focus this time on client work, meetings and site visits. I find it easier to fit admin and marketing in around my kids on the other days!
Be fully present
Make a commitment to give your family your undivided attention for a period of time each day. Whether that's family mealtime or bath and bedtime, schedule it into your day and turn off any distractions.
Find moments to connect and be fully present - movie nights, weekend walks and bike rides are all fun ways to find time to be together.
I know it feels like you need to do everything yourself as a mum and as a business owner. I've been there! And I am still working on this one myself as it is something I struggle with!
Repeat after me: You are allowed to ask for help.
Attempt to do everything for everyone and you are on the fast track to burnout. If you have a team, learn to trust their abilities and delegate tasks.
If you are a one-man band (like me!) it may be that you look at outsourcing other tasks - whether that's household chores or business-related. Jobs such as cleaning the house, doing the food shop, social media management or hiring a VA are all tasks that are easy and often cost-effective to outsource. Leaving you to spend your precious time with the people you love or working on the things that will make you money!
If you're starting a business, chances are you might be doing it from home, either as a side hustle or as your full-time income. This means that the boundaries between work and home life just got that bit more blurry.
It's important to create some boundaries and hold yourself to these. Not only to protect your work from the distractions of your family but also to protect your family from the pull of the business.
Whether that is a rule such as no phones at the table, or no work between the hours of 5 pm and 7 pm, finding something that works for you and your family is key.
There will always be times that you will need to let work or family take priority, but try not to allow imbalance to become the norm. Having clear boundaries to work towards will help you to refocus and bring the scale back to the centre.
Practice makes perfect
I'm not gonna lie, finding the right balance takes practice. It took me a good amount of trial and error to find what works for our family and I am still figuring things out! Be patient and kind to yourself and give these tips a go. It might feel impossible at first, but make it a priority, take small steps to make some changes and you'll be surprised at how much more in control and balanced your life feels.
Hope this has been helpful!