Hey You! Yeah, you the guy who owns his own business and wears all the hats! Did you know it is possible to run your business and keep the wife and kids happy! Sounds like a joke, right? No, better yet, it sounds like something a person with a 9-5, set role responsibilities, and grown children would say. Not someone like you, who runs their own business, and a house full. But that sentiment can be true and here are three simple steps to make it happen in your life:
Decide to make a change
It’s easy to read this article and tell yourself you should do it. It’s easy to shake your head and promise to do better when your family calls you out. But it’s much harder to actually do what you said you would do. You aren’t avoiding family time on purpose – life is just getting in the way. Responsibilities at work are not limited to daytime hours – there is a considerable amount of reconciliation, research, and cultivating that has to be done in the off hours because other responsibilities get in the way during the day. But tomorrow becomes the next day, next week, next month, next year, and it happens faster than you think. Decide you are going to make change. Commit to that promise to yourself and your family and then do it.
Carve Out Time
Making the work/life balance happen is all about juggling. Start with one day without work. One day out of 7 will not ruin your business. In the beginning you might have to make it be one week day, to allow yourself time to get into the groove. During that day, meet your wife out for lunch or go to your child’s school and eat with them. Then pick them up from the bus and spend the rest of the day with them. Enjoy time with your wife when the kids go to bed. Share a glass of wine, play a board game, dance, and talk: connect. Try to set your own work schedule with a start and a finish time. Remember, it’s best to leave the work at the office. If you have an office at home, turn off the lights and close the office for the day. Once you get the hang of letting work be for a while, transition that day or those nights to a weekend to spend more quality time with the family.
Taking out time to be with the family is worthless if you think about work the whole time you’re with them. A distracted, antsy dad is worse than an absent dad. Be with the family physically and mentally. Interact, listen, and talk back. Be present so you don’t miss anything. Remember, the first step we covered, we have committed to doing this.
These steps may seem impossible at first. Breaking away from the business you work so hard to maintain is a difficult thing, but it can be done. It has to be done – for your kids, for your wife, and for yourself. If you spend too much time working, you may begin to tire of the responsibilities. In addition, giving your family more attention will make them happier. They may be more supportive of you, especially during the stressful startup phase and during any bumps in the road you endure. The restorative quality of time with the people you love is immeasurable. Don’t deny yourself the chance to loosen up a little and be yourself.
Hmm, doesn’t sound so crazy anymore, does it?