Our lives are very, very full right now. Two weddings this summer. New employees. Managing subcontractors. Trying to schedule a rest and relaxation getaway. Grandchildren. The list goes on and on. The question that rolls through our heads every now and then is how do we balance our work-family life as entrepreneurs?
How to Keep a Work-Life Balance
Each day there is more to do than can get done; yet as followers of Christ we also know that we must balance our lives and avoid extremes (Ecclesiastes 7:18). Where is the balance between being workaholics and not taking care of business? How do you avoid both extremes? Somewhere in the middle is the tension that is needed for a functioning healthy business and happy family life. Ignore business and next month might be beans and rice for dinner. Ignore the family and relationships begin to suffer.
Five Simple Recommendations
We have raised a family and built a business over the past 22 years. Our lives have been full in one-way or another every single year. Here are a few things we have learned about balancing work and family life along the way.
- Put God first. God comes first in everything that means business, family, hobbies, friends, etc. We have made the verse “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”’ (Matthew 6:33), a pillar in our lives. When you put God first your priorities fall into place.
- Prioritize family. There are times I’m up early or working late to be able to fit a family event into the day. We schedule our lives around family dinner, baseball games, gymnastics, birthday parties, church, and prayer. It is a time for us to come together to discuss our day and reconnect. Important values and ideas are learned over that plate of spaghetti. Hurts, struggles and joys are shared in the stands or over cake. Family spells love T-I-M-E.
- Work smart and hard. We can churn out the projects around here. We discipline ourselves to a routine that enables us to work hard but also enjoy family life. This proverb is so true. “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense” (Proverbs 12:11).
- Build boundaries. We have boundaries around our work time and boundaries around our family time. It is ok to say no. If you know something will interfere with your priorities say no. You will live a more peaceful life if you set boundaries. Sit down and make a list of your priorities, then stick to that list by setting some boundaries in place.
- Schedule life. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t get done. We have struggled for years with keeping Tim in the loop of the finances on a day-to-day basis. We finally scheduled a weekly meeting. I have a few forms I fill out each week so he can at a glance know what is in the cashflow pipeline, where funds are needed for next week, and what was spent this week. Valuable information but it wasn’t getting done until we scheduled it into our week. The same goes for family dinner, or the yearly summer getaway with the whole family. Plan it. Make it happen or life will slip by and the important things won’t be getting done.