For those of us that work for ourselves, it’s extremely tempting to check e-mail on the weekends, between commercials or during your kid’s soccer game. Just as enticing is taking that client phone call on the way to a Saturday night movie. In your mind, it makes things more efficient and lessens the amount of work you’ll need to face on Monday. Right?

Wrong. Surely, you may have a shorter list (but something usually finds its way on there). What you may not realize is that those actions actually have an effect on you being present to your family and personal life. And when we’re not present and focused, we miss something.

Time is a valuable commodity, especially when your days are filled with presentations, prospecting for new business, following up on pending contracts, and contacting existing clients. Not to mention the need to pay bills, manage employees, field phone calls, plus much more. With this deluge of activity, sometimes our most important asset family and personal life gets placed on the back burner.

In fact, studies have shown that having balance and support with and from those in your personal life will actually make you more productive.

The key: structure your family life as you do your work life. Give the proper time and investment to watching that soccer game as you would launching a marketing campaign. Trust us, the ROI will be enormous.

We’ve compiled some key tips and strategies to effectively structure your personal life in balance with your work life, learned from those who have been there and done it.
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The Juggling Act: Tips for Really Balancing Work and Family

So how do you effectively manage family and work responsibilities in your fast-paced life? Here are 5 tried and true ways to bring structure balance into your life:

1. Put your family first. Regardless of what else comes our way on a daily basis, you need to make time for your family, the No. 1 priority. If it’s just you, make you your family. Just as you would schedule an appointment with a client, it’s essential to set aside time for your family and self. When you work in an office you are, in essence, already doing this. You “schedule” in your family for the waking hours of the day that you are not at work. The same holds true when your
business is run from home.

2. It’s your schedule not your clients. One of the great values of running your own business is being flexible with your own hours. Don’t be afraid to tell a client or a customer that you have a commitment on this day or at that time. If it’s a school choir concert or a Little League ballgame, that is a commitment on your schedule and you should try and arrange another time to work with the
customer.

3. Plan your day in advance. Planning your day allows you to create a road map for the days work and helps you avoid wasting many productive minutes throughout the day. Make sure your planning includes time with your spouse and family. It’s also important that you take your planning to another level: planning your week in advance. Spending 15 minutes to plan out your week will make a big difference in setting time aside for your family and other important commitments without sacrificing the work that needs to get done.

4. Turn off your mobile phone from time to time. Don’t be afraid to turn off your mobile phone or Blackberry when spending time or eating a meal with your family. Society has become so wired with portable devices and communication aids that you often use your equipment without noticing how disruptive it can be to a family outing. Check your voicemail at your first opportunity and return calls later, and change your voice message to indicate you will be unavailable until a
certain time.

5. Give yourself a daily reminder. Remind yourself on a daily basis on your calendar or through an e-mail alert, perhaps how valuable the time is that you spend with your spouse and family. Remember the initial point: if you aren’t successful at home, your work achievements likely won’t matter too much. The key to running a successful business is the support of your family.

It’s never too late to make a change. What’s important is that you identify what needs to change and make a decision to move forward in a positive new approach to balancing your work and family. Today’s the day.

One Response to “5 Tips to Structuring Your Personal Time”
  1. Office Girl

    Excellent set of tips, Kelly.

    I would also add the need to plan a holiday. When you switch to working for yourself, it’s easy to be swallowed by the routine and put any travel plans on hold, until ‘the business picks up’. I found that once the holiday with the family is planned in advance, there is something exciting to look forward to and it becomes easier to plan business activities around those dates.

    You need to switch off while on holiday, too!

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