How do you do it all? Balancing Business and Life for Entrepreneurs

boys-in-the-woods That’s the question I got from another mom – also with three kids and also the owner of a creative agency.

We know each well other from in-town connection points, but we hadn’t “met” on the internet until a few weeks ago.

She wanted to know how I’d been able to accomplish so much online.

Let me stop right here and tell you: this is not a self-promotion post. [I will share the same “secret” with you: many, many small actions add up over time, in my case going all the way back 1996.]

Rather, it’s kind of a self-reflection on making sacrifices/tradeoffs and setting priorities in life – and in business.

And, it’s also a kind of apology to my readers. I didn’t realize I had taken so much time off from regular posting until I looked at my LinkedIn profile and saw “last post 8 days ago” a few days back and resolved to write all the posts that are stacked up right them, right there.

But, I didn’t write a single one.

Instead, I directed my attention to serving clients, writing presentations, answering questions, promoting SMC Chicago’s July event, uploading images and getting two sons ready to take off on their big summer adventures. It’s the last assignment that got the least amount of attention and time.

On Friday, we were shopping up until the very last minute for work gear, socks, swim trunks [he went with the one with the Cubs logo, which means his sister will not be seen with him on the beach], snacks, toiletries [he loves this word] and magazines. It’s the kind of trip I know by heart: this is his third mission trip and our fifth year sending kids off. But, this time it had to get tucked into the last in line spot. Too many deadlines kept me from being able to break away.

I had to convince my son that the grocery store was where we would consolidate purchases. He wanted to go to Walgreens and Trader Joe’s because that was his tradition. There wasn’t enough time for that. As I waited at the checkout line for all of the groceries to go through, he wandered away.

“How’s your day going?” the bagger asked. At first I didn’t hear her. So she asked again.

“Okay,” I said as I watched the collection of toiletries, snack, magazines, Foster Grants and bandanas roll by. “My son leaves for a mission trip tomorrow,” I said.

At that point, my 6’ 3” tall son came back to stand beside me. When he walked up, the checker and the bagger asked about his trip. Hearing him share his excitement and commitment to serving, with two strangers, made me realize that no matter how much time we had to get ready, this was the moment that brought us together.

Today, his mission work starts and tomorrow our youngest son gets home from a singing tour in England. 

Back to the question: How do you do it all?

I might ask the same question of many of my friends.

Being able to balance creativity, work, family, community, volunteer work, free time and everything else in life requires a delicate and daily balancing act. Even so, here are . . . 

12 Ways to Do it All: Balancing Business, Life and Branding for Entrepreneurs

1. Change “Doing it All” to “Doing What’s Important”

2. Dedicate time only to what really matters

3. Look for magic in the moment, not so much the epic adventure

4. Talk to people you love and honor your relationship

5. Make time for people you like and let them know you like them

6. Stay close to home and focus on what you know

7. Invest in existing relationships first before you go out and look for new ones

8. Tell people why and how they fit into your life and understand how you fit into theirs

9. Aim high and follow leaders who have success paths you’d like to follow

10. Stay in touch and stay committed

11.

12.

How about you – how do you do it all do what’s most important? 

Image: two brothers, Morton Arboretum, Mother’s Day 2009

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