The number of entrepreneurs in America is increasing, and for many of those who have children, juggling their time between school activities, playdates, and devoting time to their startups is a daily challenge, especially for mothers. One poll revealed that 50 percent of women feel they do not have enough free time in their lives, while over 80 percent said they are responsible for keeping the children’s activities organized as well. If you are feeling this time crunch as a mother and an entrepreneur, there are a few time-saving tips you can use to achieve a healthy balance.
1. Make Well-Being a Priority
You cannot do your best work, generate ideas, and care for all your kids’ needs if you do not care for your well-being. This means eating a balanced diet, exercising, and resting your mind each day. While you might think there is no time in your schedule for these activities, neglecting your physical and emotional health can lead to illnesses such as type II diabetes, anxiety, and depression.
Managing your time each Sunday can help you improve your diet. Use some free time to prepare and freeze dinners and box up snacks and lunches you can grab on your way out the door. Pack the kids’ lunches ahead of time as well and fill them with non-perishable items. This can help to loosen up your evening schedule and give you time for a long soak in the tub or time to meditate.
2. Give Everyone Boundaries
If you find yourself trying to deal with a family problem while you are on the phone with a client or trying to update your startup’s social media, it might be time to re-evaluate your boundaries for each. The more you try to juggle the two when neither has a clear idea of when you are available, the more stress you are likely to feel. Redrawing these boundaries can help you focus and increase your comfort level.
Dividing up your day can be a challenge; however, using the children’s schedule could be a starting point when it comes to asserting your boundaries. For example, you can focus on work while they are at school and then be available for them exclusively once they are home. Let your clients and customers know the cutoff point for phone calls and emails, except in emergencies, and ask that they honor it.
3. Learn To Say No
Building a startup company requires a great deal of time and energy, as well as having the ability to please people and create a social network of like-minded entrepreneurs who you can turn to when things get rough. However, it is important to learn how to say no and protect the time you spend with your family. Delegate work to your employees as your business grows and avoid the urge to micromanage once you give assignments out.
If you run your business from home, your family might see your presence there as a convenience. However, protecting your work hours can be just as important as honoring the time you spend with them. Let them know that being home does not mean you are available for making meals, running errands, or other tasks your spouse can handle. Be firm and let them know they need to respect your office space and work hours if your startup is going to be successful.
4. Admit When You Need Help
The entrepreneurial/parenting balance can be difficult to achieve, especially as your children and business grow side by side. In fact, you might find that it gets harder to maintain on a daily basis and when this happens, physical and emotional burnout is usually inevitable. If you see yourself heading down that road, it might be time to consider hiring on some extra help.
Thanks to technology, hiring a sitter or housekeeper is simpler than it used to be. There are many apps available that perform background checks for you and list hired help based on what you need and what you can afford. Discuss your need for help with the entire family so they understand how it can benefit each member.
5. Let Go of Perfection
When you are managing a startup and raising kids, being successful in both can become important for your sense of self. However, striving for perfection in both areas every day can lead you to set unrealistic expectations for yourself and suffer increased feelings of guilt when something does go wrong. Changing your mindset can help you avoid this cyclic trap.
One way to change your way of thinking is to read about successful entrepreneurs who have raised families, such as Crystal English Sacca. She co-founded Lower carbon Capital along with her husband, entrepreneur Chris Sacca, and has found time to write several books, engage in women’s rights, and raise three daughters. Her viewpoints on balancing entrepreneurship with motherhood may help you let go of the myth of perfection and reduce feelings of guilt and anxiety.
Raising a family and nurturing a startup is a balancing act is not an easy task for anyone who takes it on. However, learning a few new time management skills and establishing clear boundaries for everyone can help you find success in each area of your life.