Question: What’s the best way to balance having kids while also running a startup?
1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
“As an entrepreneur who is also a mom to a 19-month old, I understand balancing work and kids while running a business. The key is to schedule out as much as you can, but maintain some flexibility. I have a set work day but I also know that if I wake up and my daughter is sick, it’s going to mean shifting things around. Most days though, I work my full day and then leave to be with her 100 percent.”
2. Prioritizing Your Life
“While you job is important, so is your family. As a father with a 4 and 2 year old, kids know when you don’t spend time with them. You need to make your schedule so that you have family time. If you travel for three days, make sure you can work from home the day after. Or, turn your trip into a family vacation. Your family’s support will make your work better.”
3. Enjoy Each Moment
“When you’re juggling 1,001 things with kids, startups and daily life, it is so easy to rush from one thing to the next without ever really being there in each moment. Whether you’re working on your startup or playing with your kids, instead of always thinking about what’s next or what you’ve not done yet, invest in and enjoy every single moment. You’ll never get it back.”
4. Hire for Home and Work
“Your home team will ideally include a supportive spouse who also has a somewhat flexible job, as well as a trusted caregiver who is on the same page regarding how your children are to be raised. It also helps to have some local family members available to pitch in. I actually feel that kids learn a lot about time management and life balance from startup parents.”
5. Date Your Kids!
“I have two short dates per day with my infant daughter, Ella. Around 6 a.m., I take her out of bed and change her diaper. Then we read a book and dance together during one song before my wife Annie takes over. In the evenings, I make a point of getting home in time to cuddle and interact with Ella before humming her to sleep. I guard these dates on my calendar like important business meetings.”
6. Just Do It!
“As a father of three kids under 3 as well as running a busy startup, I’m asked all the time how I do it. I always joke, “Well, I choose one of the three to love each day, which makes it much easier.” The fact is, when taking the plunge of launching a new business, you need to have the chops to get up at 5 a.m. with a crying baby, help clean up after dinner, and still find a way to hustle at work.”
7. Compartmentalize Everything
“We spend hordes of time trying to balance work and life when sometimes, learning to compartmentalize the two is the better method. Leaving work at work and leaving family at family may prove to be the best way to stay 100 percent focused on each.”
8. Use Your Time Wisely
“When you have a kid, you quickly realize how much time you were wasting before you had a kid. I find that allocating time and using it wisely makes a huge difference. I try to get a lot done during naps and while my little guy is in bed at night.”
9. Focus on the Task at Hand
“Balance or focus? Focus on what you’re doing at the moment; if you’re working, work your butt off until you’re done so you can go home feeling accomplished. When you’re at home, focus on your kids. There is no such thing as giving equal time; it wouldn’t make any sense. Put 100 percent of your focus on one thing and it will be better in the end.”
10. Incorporate Your Life into Business
“I introduce different projects that incorporate what I’m doing in my life at the time. Currently, my kids are 7 and 5, and we’ve actually created a series of trips for entrepreneurial families in order for the kids to learn about business and engage in these conversations.”
11. Get Rid of the Excuses
“Don’t try to justify spending more time at work by saying it can provide a better future for your kids. Personal time with your kids is a very limited resource, and you can never get it back. Put down the iPhone and focus on your kids when you’re with them.”
12. Honor Rituals and Commitments
“Children thrive on routine so develop and honor certain rituals like family dinner, bedtime or movie night. Make sure that no matter what’s going on, they can depend on you to be there during those key times. Also, make and keep your commitments to your kids. This shows them that they can trust you and that they are a priority.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
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