I've spent the last 2 years at home watching my son grow up and it's amazing. I've started a new company in the last 6 months and it's taking off, which is great, but I am nervous about the time commitment it's going to take for the next few years. Any advice on how to balance not missing my kids grow up with giving enough time to my new business?
Congratulations on the success of your company! I'm the father of a 2-year-old boy who has to juggle being a Dad with the demands of a growing Internet-based business myself, so this is an area I deal with on a daily basis.
It helps to get real clear about what's most important. During the first 6 months of being a Dad, my stress levels were through the roof because I simultaneously felt like I couldn't give my son all of the attention he needed, and I also felt like I was falling short of what my clients expected. We live in a culture that says you can have it all, but it's not possible to give both parenthood and entrepreneurship 100% without coming apart at the seams. For me, it meant deciding that I'm a father first and foremost. Anything I do professionally is to support being a father, and if a situation or opportunity arises that negatively impacts this role, it's off the table. No discussion. However, everyone needs to come to their own decision in this regard: if you feel like going all-in within your business is the ticket to lasting success for your family, then of course that's something you need to consider. Just be very careful (and honest) about weighing the pros and cons.
Once I committed to this perspective, organizing my day got a lot easier. For starters, I don't even check email or the phone until after I've had 1 meaningful experience with my son. It's a little ritual that centers me, and I've found it to be very helpful. Second, time management becomes all-important- gone are the days when I could just let a client call continue on endlessly because there was nothing else going on. Nowadays, I will immediately inform the person on the other end of the line of the time limit involved, and make sure to adhere to that. I've also had to get really strategic about which business development and marketing opportunities to pursue and which to let slide- again, the more picky you are, the more easily you'll be able to balance the two hats of fatherhood and entrepreneurship.
One last thing: both of these pursuits will continually humble you, because you never stop learning. It's ok to feel overwhelmed and it's ok to have moments of despair. The important thing is to remain engaged and make forward progress each day. What an amazing journey you're on- I wish you much success! If you'd like to speak further about juggling fatherhood and a growing business, do reach out.