Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Manage a Business and a Marriage

The goal of becoming a small business owner is to build your business to a level so that you can provide financial security for yourself and your family. That is one of the reasons as to why you enter into business. In many ways, you work hard now so that you have you can have fun later. Unfortunately, that message often gets lost - especially with new start-ups as more time is devoted to the management of the company and fighting fires. Most importantly, your relationships, especially your marriage, often get neglected.

In many cases, marriages break down because one of the partners spends too much time at work. It doesn’t always have to be that way. Just as you have spent time in writing your business plan, you should also spend an equal (if not more!) amount of attention to your marriage. Here are some tips to help you maintain a successful business and marriage.

1.      Make A Plan

Scheduling out every moment of your life sounds a bit obsessive. But if you can find a way to schedule most of your waking time and stick to that schedule it could pay off in the long run. What you should do is to schedule in the times during a day where you would spend working, and the time where you would relax with your family. For example – highlight in your calendar:

·         The hours 9 am to 5pm for your business

·         And the hours 6pm to 10pm is to be spent with the family

If you can stick to your schedule then you’re ahead of the game. However, to be more productive you need to be ruthless in cutting out non-essential activities that cut into your schedule. During your work hours you want to be completely focused on the tasks at hand. If you schedule time for a special dinner date with your wife/husband or coaching soccer practice with the kids then you should be equally focused on that time – and that means not taking work related calls! It all comes down to matter of good time management. So, be obsessive with your scheduling your day.  

2.      Create Quality Time

Just because you set aside time for “date night” or “family fun” doesn’t mean the work is over. You need to put some effort into creating quality time for those special events. Yes, you’ve spent all week up to your eyes in meetings, conferences and reports. The last thing you want to do is figure out where to go to dinner! Well, going that extra step to take charge will show you really do care about your relationship. It’s simple. Let’s say you have a date with your wife, here’s what you do:

1.      Pick your top three restaurants.

2.      Send an email or text message to your significant other asking them to make a top pick and you’ll handle the rest.

Don’t stop at just dinner. Plan ahead for a romantic weekend getaway, a night at the theatre, or a beach day. If you are really busy, you can hire a virtual assistant to help you make reservations or organize your week. It takes zero effort but holds the promise of great rewards.

3.      Keep the Lines of Communication Open

This is crucial for a marriage whether you own a small business or not. The old adage of “don’t go to bed angry” makes a lot of sense but hopefully you’ll find a way to work out your problems before you make it to the bedroom. Most issues with communication have less to do with what you’re saying as opposed to what you’re hearing. Genuinely listening to your partner’s concerns and applying empathy is crucial to keeping those lines of communication open. When you can put good listening skills into practice, you should get the same in return. That’s going to mean all the “channels” will be open and clear for a success marriage and business.

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