Being an entrepreneur is hard. While you might be passionate about your work and enjoy some additional freedom, you carry a lot of weight on your shoulders and there’s always so much to do.
Business owners often struggle with time management and prioritizing. When you throw kids into the mix, it becomes even more of a challenge. Some parents feel guilty for always being tied to their business and struggle with prioritizing.
Does this mean you can’t become an entrepreneur or you won’t be as successful if you have kids? Absolutely not.
It all comes down to having the right schedule and being able to plan your time for efficiency. Here are some smart things you can do to help better manage your time as an entrepreneur with kids.
Get on a Schedule
Getting on a schedule is key if you’re going to run a business and balance it with your family and personal life. It’s important to know what you’re going to do each day when you get up so you don’t waste time and energy.
Plan things out on your calendar so you can set realistic expectations for the day. Getting into a routine can make your day predictable but it can also lead you to get a lot done.
Scheduling your day out will also let you know when you have time to spend with family and unplug, do things around the house, workout, etc. As a mom of an 8-year-old, I have to do all of those things and run my business each day.
It can be exhausting when you don’t have a clear and specific schedule to follow.
Put Your Kids on a Schedule
When you get on a schedule, you should put your kids on a schedule too to keep their days organized and busy. Kids respond well to structure and school helps with this, but when school is out or kids are not school age yet, things can get hectic.
For example, my son is home this week since summer camp doesn’t begin until the following week. I don’t take much time away from working on my business so I have to juggle parenthood and work with him being at home.
What helps things stay afloat is having a specific schedule for the both of us. I put him to bed at a certain time and expect him to wake up at a certain time so I can focus on work either after he goes to bed or before he wakes up.
I also include daily activities he can do independently like silent reading, playing outside, playing his video game, and of course a parents’ best friend which are naps.
Putting my son on a schedule allows me to knock out a few work-related tasks while he’s being busy and entertained while still allowing us to both spend time with each other later in the day.
Other activities in my child’s schedule may include library programs or participating on sports teams. As your kids get older, it’s important to help them create a schedule that is fun, fulfilling, and productive just like yours.
Maintain Some Flexibility
When creating your schedule for the day, it’s important to maintain some flexibility because anything can happen to change the course of things.
If you wake up and your child is sick, you obviously won’t be able to get to everything on your schedule for the day and you’ll need to adjust.
Being your own boss allows you the freedom to do that. You can create your schedule around your kids and leave pockets of downtime throughout the day in case you unexpectedly need it.
Hire Help or Get Childcare
If your kids are not school age yet, it’s crucial that you pay for childcare or some type of babysitting help so you can focus on your business without distractions.
I’ve met a few entrepreneur parents who thought they could work on their business late at night while their kids were sleep or during naptime and focus on parenting during the day.
They may work out temporarily but it’s not a good strategy. There may be times when you need to work on your business during the day or attend meetings and it won’t go well when you’re trying to split attention between the task at hand and a restless child.
Both your business and your kids need their own dedicated time slot and you won’t get far if you try to multi-task and pay attention to both at the same time.
This is why it’s wise to pay for childcare or even hire a babysitter to help out occasionally. Consider summer day camps for school-aged kids when they are on break.
I know these things cost money, but it’s a great investment because it keeps your kids safe and happy while allowing you to work on your business distraction-free and make more money as a result.
Slow Down and Be Present
When you are juggling a business with parenthood, it’s easy to want to rush through everything so you can feel accomplished at the end of the day. Make it a habit to slow down and focus on each thing you’re doing so you can be fully present and intentional.
When it’s family time, disconnect completely and focus on holding meaningful conversations and creating memories. You may not have all the time in the world to spend with your kids, but it’s about quality over quantity.
Your child may remember the small things like family dinner each night, building puzzles together, or watching a movie on weekends.
It’s the same thing with your business. You may not have the fastest growth, but you will see improvement so long as you focus on one thing at a time. Whatever you’re doing, put 100% of your focus into it and you won’t feel guilty for ‘working too much’ or ‘not accomplishing enough’.
Cut Out Time Wasters and Stay In Control
Before you had kids, you probably wasted a lot of time doing various things. Now that you’re running a business it’s important to cut the time wasters for your schedule or incorporate them into other things.
For example, I love catching up on celebrity news and gossip videos but instead of watching them during the day and taking time away from my son or business, I listen to them occasionally while I’m at the gym or driving.
Since you work for yourself, you have a lot of control over your calendar. You can schedule meetings when your kids are at school or busy and set deadlines that allow you to have a better work-life balance.
It’s important to stay in control of your schedule and don’t let it control you.
Remember, every day won’t be perfect or balanced. Things will pop up, your schedule may fall apart, and you may not get to wash the dishes or even think about dinner until 5 pm.
Realize that kids will notice your hard work and leadership while seeing how passionate you are about being an entrepreneur and helping people. Try to involve them in your journey to make a difference as much as possible.
Are you an entrepreneur and a parent? How do you manage time and prioritize?