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There’s an old saying: “An entrepreneur is someone who will work sixteen hours a day to keep from working eight hours for someone else.”

This is often too true – especially in the early days when you have to get the business off the ground and focus on making a small profit.

Many people start a business to have more time with their family and then find out they’re spending less and less time with the people who are most important to them.

Don’t let your business cost you your family.

So, how do you find a balance between work and other aspects of your life?

  1. Set a time to stop working and then stick to it. This is hard, but to keep your relationship with your family going well you need to spend time with them.
  2. Decide what times you’ll be working and when you’ll stop. This may need to be adjusted for big projects but keep your family informed so they’ll know what to expect.
  3. If you have a tough deadline coming up or a special project, explain it to your family in advance and ask for their help in letting you complete the project undisturbed.
  4. Offer a reward such as pizza night and the movies if they let you get your work done.
  5. Your spouse and children need to understand this is your work. It’s how you help provide housing, food and clothes for the family. You’re not playing video games or watching movies. Let them know your long-term goals. What do you hope to achieve with your business? If they can share your vision, life becomes much easier.
  6. Try to have a space set up that is for work only. When you walk away, leave the work behind for the day. Don’t bring your laptop into the family room and work. When you’re with your children and your spouse, give them your complete attention.
  7. On that point, learn to be in the moment. When you’re working, don’t worry about the children. When you’re with your children, don’t stress about work.
  8. Don’t procrastinate. There’s nothing worse than having two weeks to work on a project and then waiting until the last minute to get started. You’ll snap at your spouse and children about how you have to get your work done, but the truth is it’s your fault for waiting so long.
  9. Never take the stress of work out on your children or spouse.
  10. Find other interests besides work. Have a hobby that helps you feel relaxed and brings you joy. Not everything is about money.
  11. Keeping your appointments with your partner and children is as important as the ones with your clients. If you say you’re going to take the kids fishing or to the movies, then do so. When you tell your spouse you’re going to hire a babysitter and go out for date night, then follow through. They’ll understand an occasional emergency. But if you make a habit of cancelling on them, they’ll quickly learn they are a low priority in your life.
  12. Always remember the big picture and don’t get so bogged down in day-to-day details that you can’t take time to enjoy life.
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