Almost everybody bemoans the difficulties in trying to maintain a healthy balance between family and work. But for entrepreneurs, the inability to find that work-life balance is not just unhealthy, it can result in the failure of both the business and the loss of the family.
Most entrepreneurs work at least 50 hours a week, and some people like Elon Musk say that working 100 hours a week is doable and will improve the chances for business success.
But what about having a life beyond the business?
“Entrepreneurs really do have to walk a tightrope between their families and their businesses,” says Peter J. Strauss, an attorney, entrepreneur and author of the upcoming book The Accidental Life. “Failure in one of those two aspects usually leads to failure in the other.”
Making matters worse is that when entrepreneurs first launch the business, many are using their homes as an office. This creates family issues when there are no physical barriers between job and family, Strauss says.
He offers tips for entrepreneurs who want to have success in both their business and their home lives.
• Set boundaries. Especially if you run the business at home, it is important to set boundaries with your spouse or partner to make sure you are not always talking about business. When you are at work, be at work. And when you are at home, even if your business is in the garage, be at home. Have a separate phone for your business and don’t take business calls when you are on family time unless it is an emergency.
• Prioritize work tasks. Determine what is the most difficult task and attack it first. That will help you get out of work on time and go home to your family. If you have a family event in the evening, it is much easier to leave a small task to the morning instead of a large, difficult task.
• Take vacations (even small ones). A vacation doesn’t have to be two weeks. Take a day off and take the family on a picnic. It will not only be good for your relationship with your family, it will also be good for your business. You will come back refreshed and better able to tackle the challenges of your business.
• Don’t intrude on your family’s space. If you run your business from your home, have a designated workspace. Don’t use the family dining room table for your paperwork. Find someplace where you can focus on your business without family interruptions.
Strauss says entrepreneurs should not underestimate the importance of finding the right balance between business and family.
“If they don’t get it right,” he says, “they risk losing everything.”