What do you do when you have competing priorities in your life that are all important?
Ella is upset because the girls at school were teasing her and she’s inconsolable, William is not doing well in math andOK needs a tutor, Duke the family dog needs to go to the groomer and you seem to be the only chauffer available, and your husband John wants to know what’s for dinner.
Meanwhile, you have this huge time sensitive fulfillment for an extremely important account and your company cannot drop the ball. Successful completion of this project could land you a large account that could be a significant step for your business.
This is a tricky dilemma and can inspire feelings of guilt, stress, shame and anger. Your family is the most important aspect of your life, they are the reason you started a business in the first place, but you question if they know this!
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can have complete balance, that you can have it all! “IT’S A LIE” sent from the pits of hell, hand carried by the devil’s imps, sent to your doorstep to make you feel like a failure. Unfriend those people immediately!!!
Here’s the truth, there will be sacrifices that must be made and there are times when “something” or “someone” will be the proverbial sacrificial lamb. But fret not all is not lost. Here are five things that may help you stay above water when it comes to competing demands.
Try to budget your time.
Scheduling allows you to prioritize. An organized and structured schedule helps you regarding flexibility. Keeping organized gives you the ability to create contingency plans when the reality of your life happens around you. Although budgeting time is not always doable, scheduling can be constructive to minimizing the feeling of missing out on your life or dropping the ball regarding your business.
Create a time block to touch base with your family.
We’ve already established that your family is the most important aspect of your life. Well take some time to perform a health check in their lives. Set aside some time for a Mommy and Me Day, attend little league games, take your spouse or significant other for a movie and dinner, and put these activities on your calendar.
There is nothing wrong with scheduling family time.
These connection points make the loved ones in your life feel important and if you do these things on a monthly basis they may be less likely to create fire drills that compete for your attention. A little goes a long way.
Take breaks away from your business to debrief.
You cannot be ALL about the business ALL the time. Your business is important to you, it’s your livelihood and what helps to support your family, but taking short breaks can actually be beneficial to the growth of your business.
Make sure you have trusted employees who can manage low level fire drills without your intervention, but know to keep you abreast of the situation. But take a weekend to disconnect from emails and other business tools. It helps to reinvigorate you and strengthens your vision, which allows your creativity to flourish.
Outsource, processes, and delegation.
In order to stay in line with points one, two, and three it is important to have strong pieces in place regarding four. Having qualified individuals in place to handle important tasks in your business is imperative to being tactical in your life. Hire slow, fire fast when you have individuals who do not meet the measure that your business needs. Also make sure you have an insurance agency to give you peace of mind for your family and business.
Maybe you are not at the place where you can hire a full-time employee. Look into utilizing freelance services from websites like FIVERR and Upwork, where you pay individuals by the hour or by task to perform specific duties. Delegate responsibly in your business as well as your personal life. When and where you can outsource small tasks in your personal life, like trivial errands and household chores to name a few, just do it!
Finally, process, having effective processes in your business helps to create efficiencies and saves time. Also, assess functions that you are doing in your business, if they do not bring value to your bottom line, trim the fat and eliminate them.
Operate lean practices, time is your most valuable resource when you are starting or growing a business, every minute is valuable.
The word “NO” can be said in more than 7,000 languages, USE IT!
“NO” is one of the most important words in any language, but as women we feel bad about saying it and are less likely to use it. We try to be all things to everyone, which creates more stress in our lives. In prioritizing, the word “NO” can be a very effective tool in your arsenal.
It’s okay to say “NO” to a new request from a customer asking you to take on a project that is outside of your scope and capacity. Doing so keeps you aligned with your companies processes and mission and keeps you from devaluing your brand.
“NO” can also be applied to your personal life. Sometimes friends and family can make demands on your time that takes you away from the needs on your business. In instances where these demands are not vital, “NO” is an option.
Finally, with all these things being said, understand that starting or growing a business and balancing your family obligations is a mental exercise. Developing a strategy is essential for your sanity and if all else fails, sell the business, grab the dog and a great playlist and head due north.
In the event that you are sticking it out and you need more support as well as more tools to help you be more effective in your business, seek out effective tools that will help you in the process.
Baby You Got This! Good bye for now until next post.
LaTonya Fourte’-Lyles is a procurement professional with almost a decade of experience in buying from minority and women-owned companies for corporate and government agencies. She has recently started her own endeavor called SpotzCity, a platform dedicated to small business owners to support them in showcasing their companies and providing tools to assist in growing their businesses.