Like most working women, my life is a constant balancing act. Between running three companies, and my personal life, I often find myself spending more time trying to fit it in my schedule instead of actually enjoying the fruits of my labor. As women working hard is in our DNA and when you're a type A personality sometimes that means seeking perfection in everything you do. Well the pursuit of perfection comes at a cost...exhaustion!
My husband and I are entrepreneurs, therefore I don't have the option to just forget about it or leave it until tomorrow. When all else fails it falls on us but primarily me because I take 99% of running the businesses due to his other career.
Although I'm a businesswoman, I make a point to be a wife first. Insuring that my husband is taken care of is a high priority. Contrary to popular belief, you can be a serious businesswoman and also be a great wife. My marriage is more important than any of our businesses. I will choose being his partner in marriage over being his partner in business any day! At one point in our marriage, we spent more time talking about our businesses than ourselves. It caused strife and conflict because we never turned it off. Something had to change. So we created guidelines to maintaining the balance of business and personal.
Guidelines to creating boundaries:
1. No phones or business during meals. The beauty of our careers is that we are able to share several meals together (well at least during off season). We found ourselves constantly on our phones checking emails and returning calls/texts while we were supposed to be enjoying our time together. We have a hard rule with only one exception. The rule: no phones or business during our meals. The exception: we can only answer if our parents call more than once which signals it's an emergency. We communicated with our families and friends about our rule so they understand that if we are spending time together we can't talk on the phone or text them back. We also communicated with our employees and business partners. It took a few reminders but now everyone knows that if we don't answer it's for a good reason.
2. No business talk in the bed. This was a huge problem for us. We would spend at least an hour discussing business before we went to sleep. The problem with this was we would think about unresolved problems that we were discussing before we got too tired and feel asleep, and it was negatively affecting our sleep pattern. Also we would wake up with business on our mind instead of each other. So once we are in bed, there's absolutely no talk about business.
3. No business after 10pm. This time is set for 2 reasons: (1) our store closes at 9pm and if an emergency happens we need to be aware of it first; and (2) we have meetings all day before 5pm and I often have to work late drafting. I'm sure this time will change once we have children but for now it works for us. The point is to set a time and stick with it. It gets the job done by creating a boundary. If you have a problem with remembering things overnight like I do, I suggest writing it down or putting a reminder in your phone.
4. Notify one another of business mode versus spouse mode. My personality is completely different when I'm discussing business versus being a wife. My husband is the same way. We have very dominant personalities and we had to learn to switch that off when we went into spouse mode. Frustrations from business was spilling over into our personal conversations, and this was an absolute no go. We found that notifying one another when we were moving into a more personal conversation kept us from creating pseudo arguments.
5. Carve out mandatory time with each other. We make it a point to carve out time with one another that is not about business. At one point when I was spending an enormous amount of time at our store, my husband said that he considered the time he stopped by the store to see me as quality time. I swiftly advised him that it was not. At the store I'm in work mode and I couldn't just shut it off. We had to schedule time with each other until it became more fluid. Things we do to spend time together: we pray together everyday; we go on a date or have a staycation at least once a week; we spend at least 30 minutes a day talking; and we schedule travel for work life breaks. We work to live not live to work. Our philosophy: we work too hard not to enjoy the fruits of our labor!
Don't get me wrong maintaining our business and family balance is a constant work in progress. One of the hardest things I ever did was become my husband's business partner. It's difficult to learn to distinguish the two but with hard work and dedication we have been doing well thus far. The biggest lesson we learned working together is: we have a right to question each other's decisions and not take it personal. Remember, family first business second!
Forever Fierce Fabulous & Flawless