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Balancing a Home Business with Home Life

Updated on September 17, 2012

Your business can take over your life.

Work can pile up quickly.
Work can pile up quickly. | Source

Combining a Personal and Business Life

It's exciting when you are finally able to quit a 9-5 job and be your own boss. Even while you are working a full-time job and beginning a business at home, you are energized at the possibilities of having your own business. You are dedicated to making it work, even if it means putting in long hours "at the office." However, it's just as important to go home for the day when you work from home as it is when your office is in another building. The difference is that you often don't have someone telling you that the work day is over.

How do you balance your life as a career woman with raising a family? This is a question we all begin to ask ourselves as we go on the journey of entrepreneurship.

Have Realistic Expectations

You're probably not going to be an overnight success, at least not without putting in some serious effort first. Realizing this allows you to work sensibly to reach your goals. Instead of trying to accomplish everything right away, set reasonable goals that you can attain while enjoying the rest of your life.

When I first started writing, I had grand notions of being able to quit my day job within a few months. I'd read where others had been able to do that. However, I had a young daughter and I was a single mom. I knew I had to get a decent savings account before that could happen and it would take longer than a few months. Once I understood that, my question became more about how could I manage building my career while working a full-time job and spending quality time with my child?

One thing I've learned is that each step is one step closer and that I can't ignore the other areas of my life while I build my career. It's going to take some time and I have to set sensible short-term goals.

Make Home Life a Priority

I had no problem making my daughter a priority, but other things got neglected. That included my health because I didn't have time to fix healthy meals or exercise. I often neglected my home and keeping it as clean as I wanted.

I now know that those things are just as important as my business and I have to make time for them even if my business slows down because of it. If you have your own business out of your home, you need to figure out a time that is just for your home life. It can be early morning when you go for a jog or early afternoon when you fix dinner. You can carve out some time in the evening to sit and read a book. The important thing is to find time that is strictly dedicated to your family and you just like you have to keep certain times devoted to your work.

Make Your Business a Priority

The other side of this is making sure your business doesn't suffer because you work at home. It's easy to get distracted when others interrupt you or you have other responsibilities. This is especially true if your business is deadline-oriented and you don't have any current deadlines. You can decide to take the afternoon off and relax.

While there's nothing wrong with having a free afternoon now and then (after all, you are the boss!), you don't want to do it too often or your business will suffer. When you aren't busy with projects, you can be marketing for new clients or learning the latest information about your industry. You will also probably have administrative tasks that need to be handled on a routine basis.

Let others around you know your work schedule. While you will probably work some odd hours, you should have specific times that you don't want to be disturbed. Let family and friends know this so they can leave you alone during those hours. They will learn to respect your work time if you respect it.

Give Yourself a Vacation

Even when you are working for yourself doing a job you love, you need time away. You need to plan a vacation just as if you worked for someone else in an office. When you are first starting your business, it may not be prudent to take a whole week off, but you can schedule a day now and then.

Vacation time gives your mind and body a chance to relax so that you come back fresh and ready for new challenges. The key to making this work is to plan ahead. Get important tasks finished and then promise yourself not to think about work during your mini-vacation. Don't check emails or voice messages and enjoy the break.

It's not easy being a business owner and a spouse and parent. Then when you add in other responsibilities, it can be overwhelming. It is important that you take out time for all of your jobs, but even more important to take out time for yourself. Making your home life and personal life a priority will make you a better business owner.

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