Balancing business and family is a challenge for most people. Try to remember when you were younger: how you managed to get a school education, had plenty of time to hang out with friends and were with your family for most meals and special occasions.

Remember also that much of the ‘work’ you did at school was later found to be unnecessary, underutilized or outdated. Not every business owner needs to know how to find the area of a parallelogram or that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell…

Applying the Pareto Principle (the “80/20 Rule”) like a laser to your business, you may find that 20% of the work you do yields 80% of the results.

It is then a matter of outsourcing the non-productive tasks: why do your own bookkeeping when you can hire a qualified person who will do it in a quarter of the time it takes you, for under $50/hour? Ditto for those who find themselves being a “jack/jill of all trades”; if you don’t love web design or admin, outsource it to someone who does, using Upwork, Greymouse or similar online service, and focus on your core strengths.

If a school bell rang every day, and you absolutely had to finish work by 3pm, you would find a way to do it. Don’t say it’s impossible if you have not tried all the solutions. Read Tim Ferriss’ “The Four-Hour Work Week” and implement even 20% of his tired and tested ideas into your business. Chat to a productivity expert or someone who has managed to slash their work hours by over 50% whilst maintaining revenue (I did it in 2005 and would never look back).

Who knows? Perhaps spending time with friends and family may bring you fresh new business ideas from the unlikeliest of sources. Nobody ever had a flash of inspiration sitting at the PC or around the boardroom table: these sartorial moments usually occur in the shower, or whilst relaxing out in nature.

Working excess hours can lead to burnout, physical illness, mental illness, divorce, depression and more nasties. Balancing your life can lead to fulfilment, joy and creating a business that others will want to buy.

Your precious school-age memories are probably not about having the best gaming console, the latest toys or the most expensive bicycle; you are more likely to have happy memories of the TIME you spent enjoying them. To create the best business with the best balance, follow the advice of Cat Stephens and “remember the days of the old school yard…”

Jeremy Britton
13 startups, working 24 hrs/week