For the single solopreneur, working on your business can be as time consuming as you want it to be, with no repercussions when it comes to romantic relationships. For those of us who are coupled up, however, spending time with our significant other can prove difficult when running a business. After all, if you’re anything like me, your business is a huge, all-consuming part of your life.
Listening to a recent episode of the She Can. She Did Podcast (which I highly recommend, by the way!), the interview briefly touched on the subject of running a business while maintaining a healthy relationship. The general consensus? It’s hard. Especially in the early days when you are spending more than ideal hours growing your business.
If you find yourself struggling in this area (like I have from time to time – no shame in admitting it!) here are a few ways to help balance both parts of your life more effectively:
Set your working hours
When it’s just you working on your business, it’s easy to bend the rules a little every time you want to get something done that’s outside of your usual routine. Being a solo business owner has its advantages, since you get to decide how and where you will spend your day, with whom and when you will work. If you’re a sucker for a routine, though, then you might find yourself being less productive the more you chop and change.
And of course, you will likely find yourself working at unsociable hours to make up the time, which can have a direct affect on the relationships in your personal life. Stick to set working hours to protect not only your productivity, but the time you spend with the people who matter most.
Agree on “drop everything” situations
Starting a new business can take over your life and isolate you from everyone in it. It doesn’t have to be this way of course, but for most the reality is a lot of long hours and graft in the early stages. If you’re feeling the friction between you and a significant other, then it may be helpful to agree on the situations where you will give your full attention to your partner. For example, if they have their own work event that they would like you to support them at, if they have a family engagement that they want you to be fully present for, if they’ve had a hard day and need some encouragement from you, and so on.
You can agree with your partner what your “drop everything” situations will be, and negotiate on the times when you do need to give your business all of your focus. Deciding this in advance makes it easier to bring it up when something is important to you or your partner.
Communicate your stress
Work stress can be a huge strain on any relationship, as well as on friendships and family relationships, too. When you work all day and then come home to someone who wants your full attention, it can often feel even more stressful and possibly cause tension. Learning how to discuss your stress in a calm way, with a solution in mind (not just a general moan!) can help you both navigate a way around difficult situations, and be part of the solution together, rather than one person being shut out.
If you find yourself unable to make prior commitments and are constantly cancelling plans, communicate why you feel you need to do this, and try to work it out together so that you can eventually spend more time together.
It can be difficult to find time to spend with your significant other when you are running a business around your life. My boyfriend and I are both self-employed, and we have had to put systems in place to ensure we spend time together while still getting done what we need to do. It’s hard sometimes, but not impossible, so if you feel you are in a relationship with your business instead of your partner, it’s time to make some positive changes and get a healthy balance back!
I’d love to know how you balance work life with your relationships. Comment below or get involved in the conversation on Instagram.