Long before my daughter was born, I had already raised other babies — my businesses.
Building a business is a lot like raising a child. But after the birth of my daughter, I realized that raising a child and a business at once presents a whole new world of challenges. And if your spouse also works, it can be especially hard to find time to spend with each other or have a few moments alone.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from taking on dual parenting roles. But consider some of these lessons I’ve learned. And, since you never want to favor one over the other, here’s what has helped me distribute my attention equally.
1. Establish shared roles and responsibilities
For it to be as close to a well-oiled machine as possible — with a few squeaks here and there — it takes the work of a small army. However, in this case, my wife and I formed that army. We are in complete agreement in terms of who takes on what.
We use a scheduling and task app to keep track of everything. It doesn’t work if you just tell each other and nod in agreement. Let’s be honest, five minutes later I’ve already forgotten who needs to run errands and who is on top of the laundry. My head is in my business primarily so that app helps me remember what I promised to help with.
You can also alternate roles and responsibilities so neither of you feels weighed down. However, there may be some responsibilities you prefer to keep full-time. For example, I cook and she’s got the laundry covered. We share the role of raising our daughter because it gives us both bonding time and moments to step away and handle our businesses.
2. It’s okay to multitask sometimes
I’m typically against multitasking when it comes to work. However, I’ve learned that multitasking can be beneficial in some ways when you have a child and a business. Here, you can — and actually have to — do many things at once. For example, I am that person who made bottles and went on stroller walks while on a conference call.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about multitasking in this sense. Since it’s two separate areas of my life, my focus remains laser sharp. However, when I try to do this in business, I am less productive. It works differently depending on the person, so you may have to experiment to find your sweet spot.
3. That goes for delegating, too
Before we had our daughter it was easy to be somewhat of a control freak about my business. I wanted to handle as much as I could myself to conserve resources. Also didn’t think anyone would care about it as much as I did. However, my daughter helped me take the movie Frozen to heart, “let it go!,” and let someone else take the wheel on certain projects.
Delegating is ideal when you find the right talent you can trust with ownership on projects. As I delegate more work and expand my team, I’ve been able to actually find some personal and quality time to spend with the family. These are priceless moments I would not have enjoyed without delegation.
4. Work while others sleep
I keep even less traditional work hours than I ever did. I can get an incredible amount of work done when the rest of the house is asleep. Plus, I don’t find myself feeling guilty when I need to take care of business. This also leaves time during the day and early evening so I can enjoy my family.
It is also an ideal strategy for anyone who finds themselves not being able to maintain a regimen. Especially if your company or life is throwing too many unexpected curveballs. When my day has gone off track, I know I can make up the time while others sleep. This helps bring mystress level back down.
5. Don’t fixate on perfectionism
This doesn’t mean throw quality to the wind. It just means stop fixating. You can always put something out there and tweak it later. Not everything is going to be ideal or your day may not go as planned, but that’s okay. For me, instead of striving for perfection, I enjoy what I am able to accomplish and watch the results of my efforts.
6. Live the dream
As I watch my daughter grow and develop it reminds me to focus on the very miracle of life. Those are moments we should stop and savor. When you are able to participate in one creative experience, it’s an amazing experience.
However, raising a child and building a business reminds me that I’m fortunate enough to be involved in shaping more than one miracle. When stress hits, I remind myself to be thankful for these opportunities.
This article has been edited.
John Rampton is the founder of Palo Alto, California-based Calendar, a company helping your calendar be much more productive. Connect with @johnrampton on Twitter.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.