Get All Access for $5/mo

3 Ways to Soften the Blow of Work Interrupting Family Time The merging of work and family comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur and/or a small-business owner -- or really any kind of business professional.

By Jim Joseph

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


When you're a mom or a dad, it's impossible to avoid parenting duties interrupting and affecting your workday. You just have to roll with it and try to balance it all.

But let's flip the story and explore how to cope when work interrupts and affects your family time. Let's face it: This is a common if not daily occurrence.

Deadlines, emails, conference calls -- work happens at all hours of the day and weekends too. When the going gets tough, it can leave the best of us feeling incredibly guilty that we aren't spending the kind of quality time with our kids at home like we know we should.

Related: Life Lessons Entrepreneurial Parents Can Teach Children

Trust me, I spent years feeling that guilt, and still feel it to this day even though my kids are off to college and graduate school. The truth is there's no way to avoid it. The merging of work and family comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur and/or a small-business owner -- or really any kind of business professional.

It's not because we are workaholics. I've heard that label over and over through the years. It's not about that at all. It's about a work ethic and maintaining job security. There's work to be done and we have to get it done if we want to keep working it!

What can you do? A lot, actually. Here are a few tips from a dad who has been there and done that:

1. Carve out a separate workspace.

When you have to do work at home, it's important to have a place to go to do it. It doesn't have to be a private office. Find a consistent place where you can get into the zone in order to put some parameters around the work. You've probably been told a million times not to do work in bed and I'm a big believer in that.

Find a separate space to get some work done. At the very least, it'll help you keep from scattering your work materials all over the kitchen table, your bedroom or your bathroom. Leaving a trail of work materials all over your house will make you feel like you can never get away from those demands. Find a place to go focus.

Related: The Key to Achieving Work-Life Balance for Parents? Accepting It's a Myth.

2. Use flex time.

Not to contradict myself here, but also make sure you are as mobile as possible. Bring a smartphone with you to your kids' sports event so you can be productive during the down times. Check emails and write up projects in between parenting responsibilities -- it doesn't have to interfere with being a proper parenting participant.

We all know that there is a lot of flex time at these events. Mobile means productivity and efficiency -- requirements for a healthy balance. You can be there while still getting some work out of the way.

3. Include the kids with a parallel activity.

I used to do my work at night when the kids were doing their homework. That way I could help them and make a productive use of the time while they were concentrating. There are a number of ways to incorporate an activity for the kids while you are working away on a project -- it will make them feel a part of it all rather than disconnected. They will also emulate your focus as they get their work done too.

While none of these will eliminate the stress that comes from balancing work and family, they will certainly help soften the blow!

PS I recently discovered this song from when I was a teenager by then-superstar Donna Summer. Her lyrics perfectly capture that angst of having a career take time away from raising children. The song has even more meaning to me as a parent as I struggle with similar issues.

Related: How to Start Fitting Work Into Life (and Stop Fitting Life Into Work)

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is a commentator on the marketing industry. He is Global President of the marketing communications agency BCW, author of The Experience Effect series and an adjunct instructor at New York University.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

She Grew Her Side Hustle Sales From $0 to Over $6 Million in Just 6 Months — and an 'Old-School' Mindset Helped Her Do It

Cynthia Sakai, designer and founder of the luxury personal care company evolvetogether, felt compelled to help people during the pandemic.

Business Ideas

Free Webinar | July 18: How to Design, Manufacture and Sell Your Product Idea

Join us for our webinar with Jordan Nathan, founder of the kitchenware brand Caraway. Jordan will share the strategies he used to develop, manufacture and sell his products that grew Caraway's annual revenue by over 500% in just 4 years. Register now!

Business News

A Microsoft-Partnered AI Startup Is Being Sued By the Biggest Record Labels in the World

The company is allegedly profiting from AI without compensating the human work that fed the technology, the lawsuit says.

Business News

Costco's CEO Says This Product Is the 'Most Important Item We Sell'

Ron Vachris stepped into the CEO role at Costco after more than 40 years at the company. He began as a forklift driver.

Growing a Business

Take This Radical Approach to Customer Retention to Boost Employee Morale — And Your Profit

Customer retention has never been more important to an organization's bottom line, but achieving it means doubling down on the connection between employees and customers. Here's why it works, and how to get there.

Business News

This Airline Is Now Ranked Best in the World, According to a New Report

Skytrax released its ranking of the world's best airlines for 2024.