Brett Wilson is one of Canada’s favourite dragons from the CBC show Dragon’s Den. He wrote a book called Redefining Success after he lost his family in the pursuit of business and riches. I have it here on my shelf. One excerpt says, “Along the path to business success, he tripped over a multitude of misguided priorities. For many years, Wilson pursued business with uncompromising focus, working long hours, seven days a week. In the process his marriage and his health suffered greatly …”
It is true, we get what we focus on.
Starting a new career and business is often thrilling and (nerve-racking) to begin with, but the excitement of hustling and doing another deal can often merge into and replace other priorities if we are not careful.
In the first few years, you may excuse the constant distractions, but many solopreneurs recognize that long term they may be sacrificing the very things that they are working for.
If balance is something you only dream about, then these tips are for you!
Here are three ways to make the most of your time and guard your priorities:
Look ahead over the whole year in your calendar and block off weekends away, holidays and special evenings like birthdays and anniversaries. If you don’t schedule them in, chances are they will not happen. Sure, you may stumble upon a nice long weekend by chance, but don’t leave it up to chance. Prioritize it at the beginning of the year when you create your business plan.
Every expert will tell you that marriage and relationships “take work”. My question to you is. “When are you doing the work?”
During the hours from 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., engage and be present. Look at your family, not at your phone. The truth is, 75 per cent of your phone activity is not the highest priority. This is a habit you can control.
Choose to guard your family time like Bobby Orr – nothing is getting through when he’s on defense! Getting your children up and out the door on the right foot and getting your day started by being pro-active rather than reactive can make all the difference in the world.
I also highly recommend that children under 12 can greatly benefit from bedtime stories. A simple night-time routine with attention from you will cover a multitude of daily interruptions.
And if you have teens (So sorry! I had four of them at one time, thought my head was going to explode!) even the coolest teen will feel special if dates are blocked off for them once a month. Take a simple Sunday each month, or a night after their sports practice when you give them your focus and just listen to them. Priceless.
Moment by moment:
Oprah had a guest on her television show one time who I will never forget, Toni Morrison. She said, “When someone you love comes into the room, see them!” Does your face light-up? A simple habit that takes less than one minute can reap a lifetime of love.
Consider reacting to your family when they enter your space as a privilege and joy rather than an intrusion.
What are the simple, regular moments that you can turn into memories that will last a lifetime? Just think about it. Cooking in the kitchen could become a relationship-building tradition. Just as simple as that.
I want your business to soar, but I don’t want you to be the next Brett Wilson, with regrets and severed family relationships. The great thing is that it is never too late! Brett has exemplified this as he repaired the damage and re-established relationships with all of his children.
Take to heart some simple time management strategies and create the balance that you need, and your family wants.