A woman sits at a table scattered with papers and works on a smart tablet with an attached keyboard. Her child, a toddler, is seated in her lap.
There's no definitive answer for how to properly balance family and work. But a mix of strategies and advice from professionals could create a solution that's right for you. — Getty Images/Morsa Images

As a parent entrepreneur, your to-do list seems never-ending and you don’t have enough time to do it all. Raising a family and running your business each come with their own priorities that need your attention. The key to success is balancing these responsibilities and getting the help you need so things don’t slip through the cracks.

Here are six work-life balance tips for parent entrepreneurs from leaders who have been there.

Set priorities

Most people overcommit when it comes to their priorities, said Lola Wright, founder of and coach at LolaWright.com. This overcommitment can contribute to feelings of inadequacy.

“Know what your true priorities are and don’t compromise on them,” Wright said. “This is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your business and your family.”

Anything that isn’t a top priority for you should be delegated out.

“Outsource the low-priority work to somebody who has that time to spend helping you with a business,” said William Gaunitz, certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology.

Additionally, know that there will be times where your attention is split from your business to focus on your family and vice versa, said Cheri Reid, owner and operator of Huntington Learning Center in Skokie, Illinois.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself,” Reid added. “Priorities will ebb and flow.”

[Read more: Work-Life Integration Is the New Work-Life Balance]

Focus on your strengths

There’s no one-size-fits-all model for a successful parent entrepreneur, said Wright. You have to zero in on what you’re doing well when you’re at your best.

“I’m a morning person who loves a schedule, so I can prioritize and be present,” said Wright. “I’ve set my family and business up to play to these strengths.”

For tasks you’re weaker at, Michael Browning, CEO and founder of Urban Air Adventure Park and Unleashed Brands, recommended hiring a specialist who can do the job better than you can.

“This will allow you to focus on the things you love and energize you and things that only you can do that move the company forward,” said Browning.

Schedule time for fun

When you’re juggling your business and your family, it’s tough to truly enjoy the life you’re building for yourself. It’s easy to want to veg out on the couch during your limited free time, said Wright. Instead, plan some fun activities with your kids such as board games, a family trip or outdoor adventures.

“With our long list of responsibilities, it can be easy to forget fun,” explained Wright. “[We schedule] fun with our kids so it doesn’t get lost.”

[Read more: Five Small Business Owners Share Their Secrets for Work-Life Balance]

Your children really get the greatest benefit from you being present, such as during sports, school events or simply going on little adventures over the weekend.

William Gaunitz, certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology

Communicate effectively

One of the keys to running a successful business and raising a family is proper communication. When you’re open and honest about your limitations and expectations, you create a better dynamic for your colleagues and your family members.

“Keeping an open line of communication with my team when I’m out of office, and doing the same with my family when I’m working, is a key piece to assuring that both sides are being attended to or will be if the need arises,” said Reid.

Learn to say 'no'

It can be difficult to stand up for yourself when you aren’t able to complete a task or need to reprioritize, especially when you have a business and children that count on you. However, there’s power in saying “no,” and it’s even a vital skill for success, said Jodi Meltzer, author of Goodnight Star, Wherever You Are.

“Saying 'no' gives me the ability to better balance work and family obligations,” she told CO—.

Setting boundaries can even lead you to projects that are in better alignment with your skill sets and passions that can help grow your business, added Meltzer.

Block out work vs. family time on your schedule

There are only so many hours in the day, and as a parent entrepreneur, you have to make the most of each of them. However, it’s important to schedule the times you are and are not working and stick to them.

“Stick to your schedule as best as possible and try not to do overtime at work late in the evenings,” said Bianca Kamhi, founder of Living With Bianca. “Try not to bring your work energy into your home and family energy.”

When you are working, do your best to avoid procrastination and “focus on time management by creating calendars, to-do lists and goal orientation,” said Kamhi.

Gaunitz agreed, adding that time-blocking can help you prioritize what needs to be done within a certain amount of time — especially when you’re carving out time for family.

“Your children really get the greatest benefit from you being present, such as during sports, school events or simply going on little adventures over the weekend,” said Gaunitz.

[Read more: How to Achieve Better Work-Life Balance Even Though Your Business Never Stops]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published September 17, 2021