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Overcoming the Challenges of Maintaining Work-Family Balance When You Run a Home-Based Business

Finding a balance between work and life is tough. When you have parental responsibilities tossed into the mix, it becomes even more difficult. If you attempt this along with running your own business at the same time within the limited space of your own home, you can feel completely overwhelmed. 

The coronavirus has forced many individuals to operate exclusively from the homefront. This has made it difficult to find a balance between tending to work, school, and personal responsibilities. 

If you’re struggling with maintaining a work-family balance, especially while running a home-based business, here are a few tips to help you overcome the challenges that you’re currently facing.

Organization Is Key

Running a household requires organization. Launching and running a business also requires this essential skill. When your personal life and business overlap, organization can become the deciding factor between success and failure.

If you want to overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship and successfully parent at the same time, you have to stay organized. This doesn’t just mean getting a filing cabinet or a caddy for your office supplies — although those certainly help. It also means organizing things like:

  • Your computer: Make sure all of your important documents and files are studiously kept in order so that you can find them at a moment’s notice.
  • Cash flow: Invoicing can be a bother, but it has to be done if you want to get paid. Find a good invoicing and payment option that makes it easy to send, track, and receive payments.
  • Chores: If you’re all operating in the same house, it’s easy for the mess to quickly get out of hand. Establish a chore schedule, assign tasks, and consider implementing a time each day for the entire family to clean up together.

Although these aren’t the only things in your life you should organize, they’re good examples of how your life can be drastically improved with a little extra assembly. Look around your home and consider what areas could benefit from some proper organization, especially if it improves your time management.

Create a Universal Calendar and Schedule

An organized schedule is essential for effective time management. Without it, home life can negatively impact your professional career. This is even more true when the two are operating out of the same space.

If you want to maintain a sense of balance and purpose in your daily life, you must take control of your time. There are two particularly effective ways to do this.

First, set up a universal calendar for your household. This should be maintained separately from personal calendars and should include everything in your family’s work, school, and personal lives that impacts your household. Everything from meetings that require quiet surroundings to family dinner time can all be included on this universal calendar.

Second, create a structured schedule that considers everyone. This should include several crucial items, such as:

  • A morning routine.
  • Regular work and school hours.
  • Exercise.
  • Chores.
  • Consistent meals.
  • Quality family time.

A calendar helps you avoid double-booking things and ensures that you aren’t spending too much time with either work or family. A schedule provides a pattern that you can follow to stay productive throughout the day. Both items deliver a sense of structure and predictability to what would otherwise be endlessly hectic days on the homefront.

Set Up Boundaries and Establish Ground Rules

However, hectic days are bound to happen with kids and family members playing, working, and attending school around you while you work. One way to help you keep the peace in such a cramped space is to come up with ground rules as you establish a work-life balance. This can include things like:

  • Setting up a dedicated workspace where you are not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
  • Unplugging from work when you aren’t actively on the clock by turning off notifications and digital devices.
  • Learning to take breaks during your workday to both rest and check in on your loved ones.

Boundaries and ground rules aren’t a punishment. Nor should they be a bother. When used correctly, they can effectively function as peacemakers in a cramped and crowded household.

Finding Balance in a Crazy Life

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken up life for everyone. However, entrepreneurs that were already operating home-based businesses have been given a uniquely challenging situation to work through.

Along with navigating normal things like family meals and recreational time, kids are now remotely learning and partners may even be working virtually as well. It doesn’t matter if you have a family of four or ten, if you’re all trying to get your stuff done from within the same space, it can be extremely difficult to maintain a healthy work-family balance.

Fortunately, there are tools that you can use to overcome these challenges. Schedules, organization, calendars, boundaries, and ground rules can all help to restore a sense of peace and purpose to an otherwise anarchical homefront. 

So size up your situation. Consider the areas where your family or business is struggling. Then make changes in the name of restoring the peace and bringing your family together as you weather the ongoing storm.

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