Are you experiencing any of the following situations or similar?
- Not able to dedicate adequate time to the relationship for what your partner needs or wants.
- Feeling like you’re being pulled in multiple directions and nothing is getting accomplished timely.
- Being overwhelmed with too much to do and seemingly not enough help to get it done.
- Partner being annoyed with you more than happy with you because you’re “always” working.
- Home operations being put on hold or not getting done at all (laundry, cleaning, shopping for groceries).
- Unable to pull your share of the workload at home due to the obligations of building or operating your business.
- Dealing with the insecurities of your partner who doesn’t seem to understand that you are working more hours than a regular 9-to-5 or 10-to-10 job, and it doesn’t end just because it is night time.
- Your partner not respecting your craft and the time it actually takes to make it work, and their actions indicate they do not support you.
- Feeling like you’re missing out on events and unable to make sudden changes because they may throw things for a loop in your business.
- The wear and tear on your physical body because you’re eating poorly or unable to find time to work out or get proper sleep.
- Constantly telling yourself you will do things tomorrow and the “tomorrows” are piling up.
- Starting not to know who your partner is because so much has changed and you haven’t been mentally present to notice until something crazy happens.
- Partner seemingly sabotaging your efforts to stay on schedule by throwing temper tantrums or causing arguments which linger for days which interrupts your work flow or ability to engage in your work when you’re working.
If you answered “Yes” to any of these things, then this article is for you.
You’re probably an entrepreneur who is in a relationship with someone who has a “regular” employee status job or doesn’t have a job and you need help figuring out how to keep things from falling apart. If you are in a committed relationship then you have most likely invested time, money and energy and you are wanting to work things out instead of throwing in the towel.
Ahhhh, “Work/Life Balance”. The cliché of work/life living has become as stale as a box of 2 day old donuts. Why do we need to have a thing such as “work/life balance” if we are truly living in the land of the “free”? I’ll tell you why this phrase is still around and relevant today. As a society, we put so much pressure on being politically correct that any change from a sense of what is normal is frowned upon or those who want to change are too afraid to break from tradition. Work/Life balance shouldn’t be a delicate line between living and working when we are usually always working as long as we live. “Work/Life” only comes into play when there is more of one and not enough of the other. With that being said, how do you…..yes you Mr. or Ms. Entrepreneur keep your home life stable when you are the Entrepreneur and your partner has a 9-to-5 job or no job?
As a former employee of many years, I knew I had a check coming on a certain day of the week and I knew what to expect in terms of net payment and taxes. I kept up with my vacation and sick pay as well as how many times I had called out and for what reasons. I knew I could schedule vacation as long as someone else hadn’t put in for it first and I knew unless it was “Busy Season” [in accounting], I would be leaving the office Monday through Friday at 5:30 p.m. Back then I juggled a family and family activities and some where in the mix I found time for myself too.
However, I became an entrepreneur by “default” after being laid off and vowing to never be an employee again. Although I’ve held on to the commitment I made to myself, my family and family duties didn’t change with me as willingly.
Overtime, I reached a breaking point and forced changes were made which could have turned out better as well as some good changes happened, too. What I learned on that journey to becoming an entrepreneur was to figure out how to simply live, work, and keep my home life stable.
For this article, I’ll get right to the point and give you five steps instead of a story. These steps are fun, easy to follow and easy to implement and you can see results right away if you and your partner have an open mind.
The key to keeping a stable life is to know how you want to live and decide what fits and doesn’t fit. Schedule the talk over dinner or coffee at a place away from the home or workplace, if practical.
Before having the “talk” each of you should have six (6) blank 3×5 note cards and a pen. On five (5) note cards you will list out the most important areas of your life and what that life looks like. This is the time to write exactly how YOU feel and not what you think your partner wants to hear or what you think will save the relationship.
For instance, my cards would read, Health & Fitness, Relationship with My Significant Other, Career as a Writer, Children, and Recreation and I would describe how a typical day would go with my partner. You can use other things such as vacations, place of residency…etc.
List out what’s important to you and how you see the family and or you and your partner helping you to live this life. There are NO wrong answers and you will keep this information to yourself until the “talk”.
On note card six (6), you will list out what you need from your partner to stabilize home life. You are only allowed to use one note card and you can use both sides. For example, my note card would say something like, 1) “Allowing me finish my sentences and complete my thoughts before interrupting.” 2) “Give me your undivided attention for at least 15 minutes of your time when you or I get home after we’ve settled down and relaxed.” 3) “Buy me flowers occasionally.” His note card would might read like this, 1) “Fix me breakfast especially when you’re not in a rush.” 2) “Let’s follow my plans and let’s stick to what we say we’re going to do.” 3) “Trust me blindly because I will always take care of you.”
These are examples of what you may want to write down as note card number six (6) is also the card you will place in your wallet for times when you’re arguing or seem to have gotten off track and you need a refresher of what the other person needs.
Now that you have schedule “talk”, bring your note cards. During the meeting exchange note card number six (6) first and read carefully what the other has to say. Before you blurt out, decide who’s going to go first. When I did this exercise my partner asked me what stood out the most to me from his note card. Once I pointed it out, I asked him to explain why were those things important and vice versa.
Review each others other note cards. Once this done, compare what you have and see how close you are in matching what you want and need and see how far off you are. This is the time to be open about what works well in the relationship and what needs to be developed in order to maintain a happy, successful and stable home life and relationship.
Step 6: After you understand what each other wants, here are some tools you can use:
- Check in daily to know what’s on the schedule upon waking up and before going to bed.
- Communicate daily or often about what you need. Nagging and Complaining are not what I mean. By communicating, simply leave a note or send a brief text. Prioritize it so the most important things are addressed first. Keep in mind, in general, men use fewer words than women and they do not need a laundry list or dissertation to get the point across. On the other hand, in general, women need details. Meet each other half way on this.
- Help out around the house or with things you usually don’t do to give your partner a break.
- Ask your partner what does he or she need or how you can be of assistance
- Change up the routine and do something different
- OUTSOURCE your laundry, dog walking or house cleaning chores and spend an evening with your partner
- Take a day off work and spend time with your partner and let someone else worry about dinner (go out to eat)
Now that you have read and hopefully understand these steps, get to this right away. Even if you don’t have note cards, use a sheet of paper or sticky notes. The bottom line is stabilizing your home life with someone who has a job or no job will take the same effort as being with someone who’s an Entrepreneur. I can give a lot of tools for stabilizing but none of them will work until the hardest part is completed first. You have to know what you want and how you want your life to be as an entrepreneur and you have to know the same for your partner in order to accomplish this goal and life in general.