21/08/2018

Family And Work: How To Strike The Right Balance

Jen Smith

By Jen Smith

juggle
ˈdʒʌɡ(ə)l/
verb

  • continuously toss into the air and catch (a number of objects) so as to keep at least one in the air while handling the others.
  • cope with by adroitly balancing (several activities).

 

By reading this blog I’d put money on the fact that you have small people who are dependent on you. And let me guess...you either run a business, have a side-hustle or have dreams of entrepreneurship you’d like to turn into reality?

Either way, you have a lot on your plate juggling family and work commitments - even more so with the addition of summer holidays that are now in full swing. It’s a balancing act that many parents find incredibly tough. 

And with running a business notorious for taking many hours of hard graft, how do you juggle parenthood and business without losing your mind?

Or, even if you don’t have children, how can you juggle the demands of life and business?

We’ve collated the best advice from six business owners who are navigating it successfully (ish!)...

 

1. Embrace the flexibility

"One of the perks of self-employment is that you get to choose your hours and holiday time and spend even more time with the kids," says Paul, a writer from Hampshire. "So make the most of it. Throw the 9-5 rulebook out when you leave employment and fit your working hours around school runs, assemblies and bedtimes." 

Fi Mortimer-Wood of Energy Treatments in Suffolk agrees: "Running a business is such a brilliant alternative to the 9-5 and fits in with my family. I am there for my kids at teatime but during school hours I am busy with my business."

James from Dialog says: "We have an 18-month-old son so we are lucky that being our own bosses we don’t have to stick to defined work hours. We are fluid and responsive with the way that we manage our time."

 

2. Bring your significant other into your business

Two heads are better than one. If your partner can share the workload of the business and parenting, it could be a winning combination that also allows you to spend more time together.

Rosie Pope did just that when she brought her husband Daron into her successful US maternity business. This helped ensure they actually saw each other. "Before, we were two ships sailing in the night," she says.

But do be careful not to blur the boundaries of personal and business too much.

Paul who runs a copywriting business, sixtyeightfeet, with his wife Karen, says: "We try not to talk about work other than when we’re working. And we never have conversations about work in the bedroom. We do however set aside specific times to talk about what projects we’ve got in the week ahead."

Karen agrees: "We’re actually really intentional about this. But it’s not always easy. And sometimes you want to talk about something work-related that’s difficult or funny just for the sake of it."

 

3. Ask and accept help

If you’re lucky enough to have your parents nearby and they’re fit, able and willing to help with childcare, make the most of it. Or, if friends have offered their support, don’t be a martyr… take it!

Business mentor Katie Colella recommends doing this as early as possible. She says: "If any family or friends ask if they can help, get them booked in, before they make other plans. If you leave it too late, often the options are gone." 

Another suggestion Katie makes is to "get together with friends and help one another out. If you have a friend who is in the same boat, could you consider having yours and her children one day in exchange for another day?"

 


 

Sometimes it's just knowing that you’re not alone that makes the world of difference, so be sure to build a support network with other business owners. 

A simple text when you’re finding the balance tough or chatting through the challenges when the guilt takes over may just keep you going. As resident Informi blogger Bettie Confetti will testify: "Often when I’m feeling the pressure, I take five minutes to bolster a bit of support from other people going through the exact same thing. It’s always a comfort to get a few words of encouragement, even if it’s from total strangers."

 

Jen Smith is our resident email blogger. Sign up to our fortnightly newsletter to get more updates like this.  

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Jen Smith

Published 21 August, 2018 by Jen Smith

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