Like most small business owners, there’s more than just the business to focus on. In my situation, I’ve found the need to add work, school, kids and sports to the mix. As Ian mentioned in a previous article, it’s very important to take on contract work for many different reasons:
- cashflow is low in the early months of running your business
- that money can be used to help market your product or service
- it can also be used to hire a good professional designer
One of my long-term goals is to run my business remotely from Spain, because I loved the few months I spent there. I need to improve my Spanish which is why I am taking classes.
I don’t have any kids, but I am the oldest of 4 siblings, and I feel the need to help them in their development until they’re ready to be unleashed on their own. That is why I try to spend some time every week to discuss (and play) with them, help them with their decisions and basically be the good brother i’m supposed to be :)
Finally, life would not be balanced without regular (*cough*) physical activity. I love to snowboard and try to hit the hills at least once a week. I believe it’s very important to stay in shape and/or give your heart a good reason to pump more, because the stuff it releases is fantastic. It awakens your brain, heightens your senses and makes you so much more alert. You have no idea how many business ideas can spring up after only 10 minutes of exercise. Imagine a few hours!
The key to juggling all this is to create a schedule. Assuming you don’t have a full-time job, you should schedule your days as if you did. Here’s how I schedule my days/weeks:
- I like to write to my blog early in the morning
- handle phone calls and do contract work during the daytime (business hours are when my clients need me)
- I also enjoy taking a full day to go snowboarding, usually on wednesdays after 3pm
- chat online with my brother/sisters, hang out with them or just be present in the evening
- school is taken only in the evenings, one or two days a week
- business research and planning at night (this sometimes goes on until early the next morning haha)
- programming and code development really late at night, also until early the next morning
The last point is very important because that’s when I get the least distracted. Developing a software application requires you to get into a ‘flow‘, which could take up to an hour, and once you’re there, the last thing you want is to be disturbed by a phone call, a joke-email or a cool new mac toy.
In writing this, I hope to encourage other small business owners to properly juggle the different aspects of their life. I think it’s important to keep things balanced for your own health and well being. Obviously you can’t divide your time equally between each activity, but assigning a reasonable percentage to each can go a long way.
What do you think? How do you juggle life and business?
Update Jan 15: Pam shares similar thoughts in her article.