When you run your own business, time can be limited. It can be extremely stressful at times when you’re trying to find time to spend with family. What I have learned over the years is that there are priorities that you must manage and family is one of those. Yes work is very important but you cannot replace your family time. A few things I like to do to ensure I get my family time in are:
Figure out what’s essential. What’s most essential in your life? Make a long list of all the commitments in your life, all the things you want to do, then pick just 4-5. It can be difficult, but making these hard choices is crucial.
Simplify your schedule. Other than commitments, are there other things you can get rid of on your schedule and to-do list? Can you stop trying to do everything, and make room in your schedule? Don’t pack your day full of appointments and tasks and projects. Leave space.
Make dates. Now that you’ve made some space in your life, make a standing appointment to spend time with your family. That might mean 20 minutes every evening when you come home with your wife, or a weekly date when you both go out, or taking a walk or reading with your child every night, or a weekly 1-2 hour date with each kid. Put it on the schedule, and make it the most sacred appointment you have.
Get the important stuff done early. Figure out what is really important each morning, and do those things first. Otherwise, they get pushed back further and further and either they don’t get done, or you have to work late.
Batch the small stuff. Instead of interrupting the important tasks by doing small things, like checking email or answering phones or doing paperwork, do them in batches later in the day.
Realize you won’t get everything done. A to-do list is unending. It will never get done. An email inbox is also never empty for long. So realize that there will always be more things to do, and decide you’re OK with that. Don’t try to get everything done.
Say no. One of the biggest groups of time eaters is requests from other people. All day long we get requests, in person, on the phone, in email, through paperwork. Meetings, assignments, requests for information, requests to be on a committee or team; these are all requests that will eat up your time. Say no to all but the essentials.