If you ask small business owners (especially women) what they love most about being in business for themselves, the majority of them will tell you it’s being able to work at home, having flexible hours, and being able to spend more time with their family. In fact, these are some of the biggest reasons people leave the corporate world to join the ranks of small business owners.
They’ll tell you they love being able to schedule their work around the needs of their family, being there when the kids get home from school, and not having to stress about having to take time away from the j.o.b. when someone gets sick or they are needed at home. What they don’t tell you, however, is how hard it can be to balance work and home life now that the two are so entwined.
You have clients to take care of, email to answer, blog posts to write and work to do; but the kids are home and running in and out of your office asking questions and wanting you to take them here and there or do things for them. You’ve got business pulling you in one direction, and family pulling you in the other. What to do? What to do?
There is no concrete definition of a work life and home life balance. It’s a myth. You can, however, create a semblance of balance that works for your particular business and personal life.
The key is … Boundaries!
Business is business and your personal life is your personal life. Don’t let one override the other. Create boundaries that don’t impinge upon the other.
Developing a work schedule that fits around your family, and vice versa, will allow you to keep your business and personal life as separate as is possible. You have to create boundaries, and stick to them.
I’m not saying it’s easy, because you’ll still feel pulled in one direction or another from time to time. But by setting specific “office” hours and cordoning off specific chunks of time to spend with your family, you are taking care of both your clients and your family. Your clients are taken care of because you are present and focused on them during office hours, and your family is taken care of because they know you are ready and available to them the rest of the time. Having a dedicated room or space for your “office” apart from the rest of the house helps immensely.Have clear boundaries between business and family. Don't let one override the other!Click To Tweet
Yes, there will be exceptions to the rule. And truthfully, some boundaries are meant to be broken — on occasion. There will be times when you decide to take the day off to spend with family, as well as times when you are swamped with client work and need that extra hour or so to get it done. But they will be exceptions. Not the rule.
So do your clients and your family a huge favor and make sure you have clear boundaries between business and family. Don’t let your lack of boundaries muddy the waters between the two … and don’t let one impinge upon the other.
You’re clients will be better served. Your family will better taken care of. And you’ll be happier all around because you won’t feel pulled in so many different directions.
Also published on Medium.