5 Ways 'Dadpreneurs' Can Balance Home and Work
Your family and your business both need time and attention. Here's how to develop a plan that supports your goals at home and in your career.
It shouldn't take anything away from the challenges faced by working mothers to acknowledge that fathers have their work cut out for them, too. They're tasked with the responsibility of being the perfect role model to their kids. Loving dads want to do everything from teaching their children how to ride a bike to passing down certain rites of manhood.
Men also need to create time to spend with their wives, partners and children yet still respond to work demands. Your home, career or both will suffer if you short them on this most precious resource. Unfortunately, not every "dadpreneur" can say he's doing a very good balancing act.
What to do? Learn how to schedule time between work and your family so neither suffers a setback.
1. Understand your family is more important than work.
This shouldn't even be a matter for debate. You can change your business but not your family. As a father, it's your responsibility to take care of your family and to spend quality time with them.
It's easy for entrepreneurs to lose track of what's important. You'll always be swamped with work. Your family affords you an escape as you wind down, recharge and refuel with the people who matter most. You'll find that time spent away from the office can help you re-frame work challenges from a fresh perspective. And that might even lead to more creative solutions.
I've learned the fulfillment I get from spending time with my family carries into my work and helps me keep a calm head when I face obstacles in the office.
2. Prioritize in terms of importance, not urgency.
Just because it's urgent doesn't mean it's important. Without adequate business priorities, you'll find the urgent always takes precedence. More often than not, you'll be left frustrated as you discover you might have missed out on something important as you catered to the urgent.
The monthly staff meeting that's just a day away isn't as important as the meeting with prospective clients, a family dinner or an evening out with your wife that you scheduled on the same date. Make a to-do list of activities that are most important to you. Use it as a guide to help you make meaningful decisions and advance your goals.
3. If you don't have to handle it yourself, delegate.
In your company's early days, it may be easy for you to fill many roles. As your business begins to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep it all together on your own.
If you want more time for your family and business, delegate jobs to your staff according to their strengths and weaknesses. This will afford you some much-needed time to focus on the absolute priorities.
4. Treat time off as part of your routine, not an add-on.
When you build your daily schedule, incorporate some down time. It's easier to have time off when it is part of your regular blueprint. If you clog up your day with business tasks, you'll find it's almost impossible to carve out time for yourself. Don't treat time off as a separate entity. Make plans for travel and rest, and follow through on them.
5. Develop a plan that supports your priorities.
Putting your priorities in writing is a step in the right direction. But you need an action plan so you'll hold yourself accountable. You might block off time on your calendar to attend your daughter's soccer game or the PTA meeting at your son's school. Maybe you schedule time early in the morning or late at the night to do serious work from home, without interruptions.
Or perhaps you set a time you'll leave the office each evening so you're sure to meet up with family for dinner. If Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg can make it out the door at 5:30 p.m. every day, so can you. leaves work at 5:30 p.m. every day to meet up with family dinner. If you're a parent, consider the benefits of a plan that enables you or your partner to be at home while the other is at work.
Kc Agu is a startup consultant, a success coach, public speaker, an investor and a freelance writer.