Starting a new business is hard work. You can easily find yourself working day and night and getting pretty exhausted. Juggling a start-up with a young family is doubly hard and you can easily find yourself getting burnt out and failing in both endeavours.
After many years of working as a consultant and corporate technologist, Ana Andres co-founded the online domestic cleaning platform, TidyChoice. Here Ana highlights many excellent pointers on how you can juggle your newly launched start-up whilst juggling your family life.
Balancing business with home life
Finding the balance between work life and family life is the hardest thing. Both discipline and creativity are required. At the risk of stating the obvious, planning is key. Set yourself deadlines to complete each day to ensure that you are using your time productively. Planning out your day and managing your time efficiently helps you guarantee that both family and business receive the attention they need.
Pragmatism is required
Some women entrepreneurs can manage to time their meetings and calls around their babies sleeping and feeding times. However, babies are not Swiss clocks and have their own say on how their day goes. Sometimes you have to be pragmatic in your approach.
Do not feel guilty
Raising a child in challenging circumstances always means compromising and making difficult decisions. Some of them will be unusual and make you feel guilty. You may wonder whether you are doing the right thing such as whether your actions are hurting your family at all. Children are amazing and adaptive and most will not feel traumatised or affected by any early adventures, so there is no reason to feel bad.
At a certain time in the evening, no matter what, shut your laptop off to make time for your family because setting that boundary has to be absolutely essential. It is easy to slip into a habit of working late every night, believing that there is always more work to be done. Establishing a routine that ensures your family get the attention they deserve will make a huge difference in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
…but be flexible
As your children grow, so too do their needs and routines and it’s a good idea to be mindful of how that should affect your working hours. Hours that may have previously been my most productive at work became dedicated family time.
Do you need to wake up earlier to get things done before everyone wakes up? Or perhaps burn the midnight oil once everyone has gone to bed. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it as best you can.
Having support is critical
No one can do everything all on their own. Having a good business partner and supportive family and friends is really important. When things are going badly, it is easy to get down on yourself and lose momentum. Talking to a supportive partner can lift your spirits and help you stay optimistic when life becomes overwhelming. You need people who will have your back both at work and at home and thankfully I had both.
It always helps to have a supportive husband, especially if they are great at spending time with your children and taking on extra domestic duties when you do not have time. Being an entrepreneur means working long hours and weekends but having the support of a good team and husband means that you will be able to find the balance between home and life.
Pick both your life partner and your business partner wisely!
Setting up a business is more of a marathon than a sprint. You need to be patient No matter how meticulously you plan, things never go as smoothly as you would like. Setbacks don’t define your business; your response to them does.
Avoid the temptation to work more hours than you need to. If you find your work-life balance slipping in the wrong direction, you need to be proactive in fixing it. You will want to throw every waking hour at your work but if you don’t give yourself time to rest and enjoy the little things, you may end up burning yourself out.
If you can weather the storm and survive those vital first few years, the satisfaction and rewards you will reap from your business are well worth it.
Look after yourself
We are all guilty of neglecting to look after ourselves from time to time. Balancing your work-life balance is not just about splitting your time evenly between co-workers and family. You also need to look after yourself. Figure out what your idea of “me time” is and try to make time for it every week. You will be more productive at work and less stressed if you give yourself some room to breathe.
It is important to eat well, rest well and keep yourself active. Do not neglect the care you require, giving birth is a demanding and exhausting act and chining birth with sleepless nights means that every single minute of rest counts!
Ultimately, there is no single tip that will help you to juggle your young family with your start-up. Take the time to figure out what works for you, check-in on the people around you, and remember why you have chosen the path you have taken. No matter what, do not let anyone make you feel bad, everything will work out well.