When you’re an entrepreneur, there simply are not enough hours in the day. A typical week could include your website crashing, unexpected client calls, and way too many painfully awkward networking parties. It’s easy to slip into work mode 24 hours/day, especially in the beginning — when you are a team of one. The problem is, while constantly channeling your inner boss lady could grow your business more quickly, it’s not going to do your marriage any favors.
Oh hey there spouse, the most important person in my life! No, I don’t have time to hang out with you…again.
How many of us have fallen into this trap, thinking that we can constantly work and push without ever looking up from the screen at what is right in front of us? While I am certainly not a relationship expert, I have gleamed a few nuggets from my last five years of being both an ambitious entrepreneur and a (hopefully) loving wife.
Remember Your Why
Take some quiet time to remember why you started your business. I’m betting you started it for freedom. You wanted to make more money and travel all on your own time, without a boss telling you what to do. As your business grew, perhaps you started to see that freedom slipping away. Maybe you became the kind of boss that you were trying to avoid, one that made you work constantly without any recognition.
Your business is here to support your life, not the other way around. Take the control back and put in some serious boundaries for your time and attention. If you started your business to be able to spend more time with your family, start living that way.
Notice the Little Stuff
Last week I was taken down by the flu and could barely lift my head off the pillow. Guess who was there to bring me soup and take care of the kids? Nope, it wasn’t my clients or my Instagram followers. It was my husband. He was the guy who drove to the pharmacy in the middle of the night for cough medicine, and took my laptop away so I wouldn’t be tempted to try to sneak in some work.
That is the kind of love we all hope for, but so many of us already have it — we just forget to appreciate it! True love is not a glossy picture and public letter of appreciation on Facebook. It’s your partner making you lunch before taking the kids out for the day so that you can rest. Notice the little stuff. There is so much right there in front of you.
Plan Your Week with Love
I think a Sunday planning session is one of the most powerful habits an entrepreneur can adopt. Heading into your week with a solid plan saves time and mental energy everyday. When you sit down to plan out your work week, start with love. First fill your calendar with some time for you and your spouse, even if it is just one night of watching Netflix per week. Once you have scheduled time for your family and yourself, go ahead and fill in the work projects and meetings.
Work Time is Work Time
I cannot tell you how many times I have developed the perfect weekly schedule, only to find myself working every night — forgetting we ever planned a date night in the first place. If I am brutally honest with myself, my schedule falls apart because of my own lack of discipline. If I spend my scheduled work time scrolling Facebook or watching TED videos, that work is going to have to spill into family time.
Next time you start to feel yourself fading during work time, commit to taking a five minute break. Go for a walk or read a blog you love. Then when the break is over, get back to your project. Remember that being disciplined now means making time for the good stuff later.
This is What Matters
A thriving business and satisfying career is a top priority for me, but it isn’t everything. My yearly income goals and Facebook likes mean nothing if I am miserable and feeling disconnected from my partner.
So close the laptop, plan the date night, and keep your phone in a drawer. It probably isn’t easy being married to a fabulous boss lady, but I’m betting your spouse wouldn’t have it any other way!