When your home based business gets off the ground and you get that first taste of success, it can be addictive. You’ll find yourself turning into a workaholic because you want more of that sweet success and you are enjoying being your own boss at last.
At this point, most home business entrepreneurs suddenly have a totally different challenge to face – balancing time between work and family, especially if you have children. It is a difficult juggling act to keep everyone happy, including you!
Your family needs you just as much and probably more than your home business does. And working from home makes it difficult to focus on your business when the chores are still waiting to be done. Here are some tips for striking the right balance.
Establish Clear Work Time and Family Time
To balance work and family, you need clear boundaries between the two. Create a set work schedule and stick to it and only work during that time, and this should include routine admin and communications such as email. Outside of that working time, don’t go anywhere near your computer unless it’s to post family pictures on Facebook or Skype your extended family. Creating a routine like this helps your family know what to expect and when you will be spending time with them.
Although you’ve got a work schedule planned out, be flexible. There will always be times when you’ll need to ditch your schedule in order to take care of family business. Just make sure you don’t let distractions rule your day; they should be the exception rather than the norm. When you have a family emergency or a kid that really needs you, allow yourself to set aside your work and make it up later, maybe when they are asleep.
Gather Together a Support Network
Gather a support network around you that can help when there are emergencies and surprises. This should include family, friends, neighbours and others who can help on the home front, as well as colleagues and assistants who can lend a helping hand when work needs to get done. You’ll need the help of these folks when you’re feeling stressed and frazzled as well. Remember, you can’t do it all and people love to help and feel useful. They also like to be around lively interesting people like you!
In addition to your work time and family time, make sure you’ve got some free time alone, even if it’s just an hour at the end of each hectic day. When you’re balancing work and family, you’re burning the candle at both ends. You need this ‘me time’ to help you decompress and avoid getting burnt out. Make sure your me time is good quality – maybe a long warm soak in the bath with a good book and some music, or a walk in the park for fresh air and exercise, or maybe a swim or gym session if you have some energy.
Get Outside and Get Moving
Studies have shown time and time again that exercise and fresh air help you deal with stress and keep you more alert. Whether alone or with the family, make sure that you’re getting outside and doing something physical. Take them with you! A walk in the park is so much more beneficial than a few hours in front of the TV. Don’t neglect it because you’re trying to squeeze in one last half-hour of work. When you take time out to be active, your working time is more productive and your family time is more enjoyable.
Learn How to Let Go
Finally, the most important tip of all is to learn to let go sometimes. Things will not always go as planned. Take time off when you really need to and never feel guilty because you can’t give your full attention to everyone and everything. Balancing work and family often feels like two full-time jobs. Don’t push yourself when you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown! Learn to prioritise and make sure you get the one or two really important things done, everything else can be a bonus that you can do if you have time.