Finding the balance between work and family is tough, and it’s easy to forget that both are important. In the world of startups, it can seem like all people do is live and breathe their business. That might work for a while, but you have to remember the importance and the benefits you get from spending time your family.
Spending time with your family is what keeps you grounded in reality and gives you the fresh perspective necessary to run your startup at peak performance. Never forget that you need both in your life: family and business. If you’re balancing work and family at your startup, we’ve got a few tips to help you out.
Make a child care decision
If you try to do everything at once, it hurts everyone. We know that it’s a tough decision to put your children into daycare, but it might be the best decision for everyone.
Take time to research different option and facilities. Maybe you want a nanny who comes to the house or maybe it’s easier to just drop the kids off at a facility a few days a week. Remember, this it’s what’s best for you, your business, and your family.
Make time for quality time
Quality over quantity. This applies even to family time. When running a startup, your time is limited. It’s important to make sure that the time you spend with your family is quality time.
When there is a lack of quantity, make sure there is quality. You wouldn’t accept calls from your children while you’re in a board meeting, so don’t accept calls from the board when you’re spending time with your kids.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, be completely there. Don’t do it by multitasking. When you’re balancing work and family, that doesn’t mean doing both at the same time. It means taking time for both, separately. Whether you’re home playing imagination games with the kids or in a meeting, be fully present.
There are some things in life that are requirements. And this doesn’t just include your meetings with investors and working to develop your company. Treat holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and planned trips with as much seriousness as if they were a business meeting.
You wouldn’t skip out on the business meeting because something happened at home, so don’t skip out on that birthday dinner. Create boundaries and know when something is too important to miss.
Learn to say no
Along with creating boundaries, it’s imperative when balancing work and family to learn how to say no. No can be a powerful word. Learning to say no is learning how to protect your time. Whether that time is spent taking care of yourself, your business, or your kids, that’s up to you.
Take time for you
Time for you is as important as business time and family time. When you’re working on your work-family balance, be sure to also take some time just for yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your business and your family. Especially not at the same time!
Evaluate what’s important
Evaluate. Until you know what’s important to you, you can’t decide what to give priority to. There simply isn’t enough time to do everything, so you have to choose what’s important. Evaluate those things that are most important to you and everything else can be eliminated. Life is too busy to be filled with things that aren’t important to us.
Prioritize the to-dos
Your daily to-do list probably feels like it’s constantly overflowing. Take time to prioritize your to-dos. When choosing your priorities, be sure to consider both lists, your work to-dos and your family to-dos. Try to prioritize a few from each list, not all from one.
Mix the family and business
Depending on how old your kids are, maybe there are certain roles that they can fill and help you with your business. Try to be creative and find ways that they can help and feel involved. This also goes for significant others.
Defend your time
Once the calendar is set, stick to it. If you’ve scheduled time for a workout, for kids, or for your business, stick to that schedule. Just like you do for your business, make it your job to be there for your kids. Give them as much priority as you give your startup.
Each person has his or her own way of organizing life events and needs, and there’s no right way. But when you’re balancing work and family at a startup, you have to be organized. Have a system, so things don’t get lost in your home and you can keep up with everything.
When finding your organization strategy, you might get a paper calendar, schedule everything digitally, or possibly even hire a digital assistant. Getting and staying organized can make the difference between a work family balance and chaos.
Create a balanced, supportive partnership
You wouldn’t be able to do it without your family, so don’t. You need support. Creating a family and work balance isn’t something that you do alone; include your partner. There will be days when you need support and to work on your startup. Let your partner support you on those days. On the days you can give back to the partnership, do.
Ask for help
You’re not alone; reach out and ask for help when you need it. You can ask for help from your partner, your family, your startup colleagues, other entrepreneurs, or anyone else in your network. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re failing at creating a work-family balance.
There will always be something to test you. You arrive just on time to your daughter’s dance rehearsal and then your phone buzzes, and it’s the investor you’ve been trying to reach all day. When you commit to something, commit. Have the discipline to stick to your schedule and your goals.
Create time for fun
You have to be able to just let go sometimes. You might spend time with your kids going to parent-teacher conferences and orthodontist appointments, but that shouldn’t be the only time you spend with your kids. Create time for fun. Instead of always having to be somewhere or do some requirement with your kids, have some unplanned time. Create space and time for unplanned, unstructured fun. This rule should apply to your partner as well. Try to not always be wrapped up in work or crossing off the to-dos. Sometimes, just let go and be together.
It’s hard to get away from work these days. If you’re having time with the kids and your phone rings, that one-minute phone call can easily turn into a one-hour phone call. And then time with the kids is over, and you spent it working. Guard your time and unplug. Put the phone away while you’re with the kids, so you can’t be pulled into work.
Evaluate your calendar
One of the easiest ways to evaluate your work-family balance is by taking a look at your calendar. Are all of the scheduled events for work? Take some time to evaluate and make changes if that’s the case.
Our calendars can see through the lies we tell ourselves. If you really want to know if you’re balancing work and family, check out your schedule for the next week. Make sure you’re prioritizing family and work.
Have a workspace
If you’re running your startup from home, create a workspace. It can be tough managing a startup, kids, and a partnership all in the same square footage. Give your brain a break and try to keep your work to a certain area of the house. When you leave your workspace, make the transition physically and mentally into your home space.
Working from home isn’t for everyone.
WeWork provides coworking space for entrepreneurs and startup founders across the world. If you’re working on your family work-life balance but need to get out of your home office, check out a WeWork space near you.