9 Tips To Being An Entrepreneur With A Baby

James Preston Reply 7:54 AM
Well, it's finally happened... I've decided to write about this myself. After mentioning it a few times on my Twitter, and not finding much success on the internet at all, I thought I would simply do it myself: Tackling the challenges of being an Entrepreneur all while having the immense responsibilities of a baby.

It frustrates me that almost every entrepreneur serious about helping and inspiring other entrepreneurs makes mention of the importance of early mornings. Now, I understand full well why early mornings are so important, that message alone is not what frustrates me. What frustrates me is that none of them, not a single one, have any advice for how to balance early morning work with the responsibility of a baby.

I read a lot of material from entrepreneurs, and I am yet to see one article. So I figured the best thing to do would be to bang out what I would say to someone embarking on an entrepreneurial venture whilst being a parent at the same time.

Now, I understand full well the theory and encouragement behind waking up early. Not only have I read enough material, but I have over a decade of experience in the practice. I used to do the Breakfast Show on my local radio station. Although, having to be in the studio at 5:30am was something a 21 year battled to get used to.

The primary reason is because you get more hours in the day to work on projects. And of course, for those who aren't early-risers, going to bed late can perform a similar function. Quite a few entrepreneur writers acknowledge this.

Other reasons for waking up early include the fact that we are most attentive, focussed, creative, and "at our peak" in the morning. So it only makes sense to get the important, meaningful work done in the mornings.

And of my favourites is that early mornings are the most quiet, still and peaceful. There is very little that can compare to sitting down to get work done with a cup of coffee, knowing that nothing is going to interrupt you. (If you don't have a baby in the room, of course). As Robin Sharma puts it: "Get your best work done while the world sleeps." That feeling is genuinely satisfying.

But then life catches up with you.

You can't be a selfish, workaholic entrepreneur your whole life. At some point in your adventure you have to contribute to society and add to the population. And of course meet your inner desires of being a parent.

And so you take the plunge and have a baby.

It doesn't take long to realise that your happy little life of routines, plans and projects are tossed into the chasm of chaos.

In my 30 months of being a father, I have had to adjust radically to the varying sleeping and morning patterns of my son in order to maximise my time. Here's what I've learnt in 30 months...

1. Plan with your partner times to work on your projects

You owe it to your partner to communicate where you are at, and what you are feeling. What your plans are, and what you are working on. If you need extra time like needing to work at night during your weekly TV series watching, then explain this to your partner. It's only fair, and most times, they should want to help you.

2. Plan times when (and places where) you can work away from home

Following on from above, when planning with your partner times to work on entrepreneurial or personal projects, plan times to do it away from home. I have found going into the office earlier, before everyone else arrives, is now far more effective than working at home. But it's only fair on my wife that she knows ahead of time that she'll be on "morning duty" that morning I'm out. And I try not do it too often so we balance those "morning shifts". Most times I don't do it more than once a week.

3. Wake up a bit earlier but less frequently

I am blessed that I only have to be in the office at 8:30am, so it gives me extra time to work on personal stuff. So, before Joel came along, I was waking up on average around 6am about 4 times a week. With one of those usually being 5am. This would give me good time to either write, pray, or work. It was a heavenly routine. All until baby came along.

Now, I find a better way to do it is to wake up once or twice a week at 4am, which still gives me a similar amount of time to accomplish things. (Having said this... waking up at 4am is obviously much harder than 5 or 6am, so doing it once a week is more realistic).

4. When it comes to (personal) work projects; work around your baby, don't try make them work around you

Now, when Joel was born, my wife and I said we were determined to let him fit into our lives, he wasn't going to control ours. Hahahaha. It's so funny how arrogantly naive you are before your first little one comes along.

And as with much of our lives, personal work needs to fit into his routine and not mine. So for me, I've had to adjust as he has got older. His sleeping patterns and his requirements have changed. So for the first 18 months, it was easy to work from 5am - 7am most days. But now he wakes up just before 6am, so I have had to change my routine. Radically.

5. Prepare for the 18 month mark: Things change even further after this!

So you think things are tough with a newborn? Just wait.

Before they can talk or walk, they're just helpless little cutie-pies lying around. The moment they can walk, talk and run, they require engagement (and control) that literally require all the energy you have inside! Prepare your mind for this.

6. Learn to be content with the time your child allows you

It's just reality. If you've had a baby (depending on the circumstances), you've either counted the cost and are willing to pay the price, or else you're just having to deal with the cost. Either way, instead of wishing for more time to yourself, be thankful for the times you do get (which isn't much). You'll be much happier this way.

7. Don't get too lost in your work that you miss out on your kids growing up

I cannot believe my son is 30 months old already! I had a shocking revelation the other day when I said to someone "if I double his age he'll be 5!" I thought to myself "what did I just say!? My son's going to be 5??" It was scary.

I've always said that Einstein's Theory of Relativity goes into overdrive when you have a baby. 1 year feels like 3 months, and 1 week can feel like a month!

It's imperative to make the most of your time with your kids. You only get one chance with the age they are now. And they deserve memories with you. I've had to lay down a whole bunch of personal and work-related goals and projects in order to ensure my son (and my wife) gets enough of me, and I get enough of them.

8. Prioritise what is most important, and be prepared to lay down certain projects

Following on from the previous point, one of the biggest things I've had to learn is prioritising the most effective and impacting work, and laying down the work that just isn't worth the sacrifice of my own energy, and my time with my family. It's hard and really sucks laying down big ideas. But I have my whole life ahead of me.

9. Life means so much more than simply accomplishing stuff

For "achievers" and goal-driven visionaries like me, accomplishing goals and succeeding in projects is the lifeblood of my existence. But being goal-driven can distract you from being present in the current moment, enjoying what you've been given right here, right now. You can never get this moment back again, make sure it's a moment that can be looked back on with thankfulness. Time you were glad you "stopped to enjoy".
That's just about what I can come up with now. There may be more to come as I think of more ways that I have learnt to adjust to being a parent. But this was what came to mind when I decided to write my own perspective on this.

I know that there is so much more to learn. And I've only had one child so far. Who knows what else is to come...

What about you? Are you a parent? What are some of the biggest changes you've had to make since becoming a parent?
Are you still "childless"? What are you preparing for the most knowing your life will change when your first child comes along?

Leave a comment and let me know!

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