Adult life has three parts: family, friends and work. When you’re a parent, you have time for only two.
It’s hard to fathom cutting out any of these core life elements. Most entrepreneurs who also are parents try to stuff all three into their waking hours. Inevitably, they fall short in one or two areas. They underachieve in their careers, neglect their families or give up having social lives.
Until we find a pill that eliminates our need to sleep, time will remain our limiting factor. We can’t do it all. Unfortunately, I’m a hopeless optimist. I don’t do well taking “no” for an answer. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.
I found a solution to not having enough time. My hack is fairly simple -- and it works. I merged two of the three categories. I work with my friends. I love what I do, so why not do what I love with the people I care about?
I know the conventional wisdom. Working with your friends supposedly is a terrible idea. But I found a way to make it work, and you can, too. The model depends on a few simple tenets.
Partner with friends who share your values.
A similar values set means an aligned vision. It assures you'll be working toward the same goals: money, impact, lifestyle or something else you agree on. Get aligned early and check in on these values often to make sure you're still in step with one another.
Over-communicate before things get weird.
Over-communicate again when things do get weird. Take extra time to walk through the details of the relationship. A thorough partnership agreement will help you get on the same page and spell out all the contingencies. When tension arises later on (and it's bound to, at some point), talk about what's really bothering each of you. More often than not, bad feelings come from misperceptions about another's intentions. Opening up helps you dispel those slights.
Help each other keep things in perspective.
You’re probably doing what you’re doing because you care about something -- a cause, a way of life, a solution to a pressing problem. Waking up each day to work toward the big picture can make it easier not to let the small things annoy you.
No one's going to trade in their kids, though several studies report parents with children at home are generally less happy than non-parents. The frustration comes from sacrificing elements that drive our quality of life. The good news is you don't need to give up as much as you might think to get a great deal in return. Find a way to work with your friends, and you'll be more fulfilled across all aspects of your daily life.