Manage your work-life balance as a parent

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Finding work-life balance is no easy task. I mean, how can you spend quality time with your children when you don’t get home until 7 p.m. each night? No wonder more and more people are demanding more flexibility in their schedules to help achieve this goal.

Unfortunately, running your own business is a different story. You can’t always clock-out as early as you would like when launching your business or a new project. Since the buck stops with you, it’s your responsibility to put out fires ASAP.

So, how can you still be there when your startup needs you without jeopardizing that valuable time with your family? Try out these fifteen tips to make that more manageable.

1. Scheduling is key

“Getting on a schedule is key if you’re going to run a business and balance it with your family and personal life,” writes Choncé Maddox in an article for Calendar. “It’s important to know what you’re going to do each day when you get up, so you don’t waste time and energy.”

“Plan things out on your calendar, so you set realistic expectations for the day,” adds Choncé. Get into the habit of creating a daily routine and schedule so that your days are predictable. I’ve found that this advanced preparation ensures you’re not caught off-guard. Most importantly, scheduling lets you, and others, know when you’ll be working, spending time with your kids, exercising or unplugging.

Choncé also recommends creating a schedule for your kids. A separate children’s schedule not only keeps you organized and productive, but it also creates a structure that children respond to well. Examples of this could be establishing bedtimes and activities that they can do on their own while you work.

It’s important to note that you should create a schedule that works best for you. Often this is determined by factors like when you’re most productive or when the kids are at school. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a couple of different schedules until you’ve found a match. Once you’ve determined your schedule and you’ve filled out your calendar, make sure that it’s shared with both your team and family.

2. Know what to sacrifice – and what’s non-negotiable

There’s no way to sugarcoat this. If you want to find a healthy balance between your startup and your family, then you’re going to have to make sacrifices. It’s the only way that you’ll be able to manage your time.

However, you need to identify what to sacrifice and what is non-negotiable. For example, travelling for work is a great way to get out of your comfort zone, do a little networking and let others know about your business. But you may have to reduce the number of events you attend annually because you have family at home.

3. Get the kids involved with your work

Obviously, this doesn’t mean putting them to work full-time. But, there are creative ways to spend time with your kids and your business at the same time. For example, a child could be included in marketing, product testing or focus groups. Depending on your business and their age, your child (teenager) could be more hands-on. I’ve heard stories of entrepreneurs who started businesses like making jewelry where their kids were able to make the product as well.

You could also involve them in other areas, such as establishing a daily routine. “Take or draw pictures of each step as a visual reminder of the next step in the process,” Ann DeWitt, marriage therapist and co-host of the Passport to Parenting podcast, told Fatherly. “Kids should be involved in making and adapting the routine, so they have buy-in and ownership of it. A skin-in-the-game or buy-in isn’t something we need to impose on our kids. You’ll find they love it, and it’s helping them to learn a great habit that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

4. Follow the “touch it once” rule

“We take so much time doing something and then redoing something because we didn’t really do it fully the first time,” says productivity expert Nicole Bandes. The solution? The “touch it once” rule.

The gist is straightforward, and it reminds me a bit of David Allen’s “two-minute” rule. Whenever you touch something, such as a piece of mail or folder that needs to be filed – act on it immediately. If you do this small task quickly, you don’t have a gigantic list of things that you’ll get to later. Get them done and over with so that they’re not cluttering your mind or workspace.

5. Make the most of the time you have without the kids

You should get as much work done as possible when the kids aren’t around. These little people need attention, and when you continually ignore them because you’re busy, they feel it. Maybe this could mean you’ll be setting your work hours while they’re at school. It could also be cleaning out your inbox during your morning commute. Or it would be waking up before everyone else in your home so that you aren’t distracted.

The idea is not to neglect your family when they’re around. Instead, it’s about getting things done when you’re not on parental duty.

6. Prioritize your well-being

I know what you’re thinking: “When do I have time to take care of myself?” The reality is that everyone can squeeze 10 minutes a day to focus on activities like exercising or meditating. You can probably even do those activities right in your office when taking a much-deserved break in the afternoon.

On top of that, make sure that you get plenty of sleep and eat healthily. Like your kids, you should also have a bedtime so that you can get those six to eight hours of sleep each night. And, you should begin bringing your lunch to work and filling the office with healthy snacks.

By taking care of yourself, you’ll be less anxious, stressed, and will have the energy to be a parent and entrepreneur.

Watch for part two in the Golden Star two weeks from today.

Source: www.sunlife.ca

Sponsored by Shannon Hood Financial Services Inc.

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