"Daddy, Please Close Your Computer": Lessons about Balance from My Toddler
I'm one of those people who works from home and by nature of my family's schedule, I tend to weave my work in between our real life. Sometimes this means working until late becomes early, or designing websites with an infant and 3 year-old hanging off of me. Before going full time as a designer, my full time job was as a car salesmen, which kept me out of the house often, even on my "off days". Coming out of that industry, I relish being able to be home, but our busy schedule and the natural flow of having 4 children can cause my life to look a lot like that of a workaholic.
My 3 year-old is the one person who constantly reminds me that balance lies in my ability to stop, drop, and chill. She also is able to show me how working too much can get in the way of having quality relational time. Here are 3 things my beautiful daughter has taught me about balance as an entrepreneur.
1. "Daddy, please close your computer"
Sometimes, you just have to STOP. There's a value in taking the time to distance yourself from your work. This is a especially helpful when you're stuck on a difficult project or facing some sort of creative blockage. Close the notebook, shut the computer, turn off the workstation, and just STOP. Take time to enjoy a snack, a movie, or just quiet time. Let your brain recharge so that you can return to your work with a fresh perspective. Also, this time allows you to focus on who and what really matters, which is the absolute best way to reset your thinking and refocus.
2. "Daddy, I'm hungry"
When my toddler reminds me that she's hungry, it reminds me that in the midst of building my business and serving my customers, I have to practice self care. I have to eat. I have to rest. I have to keep limits on my schedule and my time. I have to create healthy boundaries. If I don't do this, my life ends up becoming a byproduct of my business; a distraction from making money and building a client base. That's how entrepreneurs die and I'm not willing to pursue a dream that ultimately kills me. I have to practice self care as a core discipline.
3. "Daddy, I'm helping you work!"
There are times when I'm sitting at my computer trying to finish a job, and my daughter starts tapping at the keys or fooling with the trackpad. I'll say, "Baby, I'm trying to work!" To which she'll reply, "But I'm HELPING you work". The point she makes is that I cannot cut her off from my work just because I'm trying to wrap something up. Her success in future endeavors leans on my ability to let her glean from my business and I never want her to feel like my work is a place where she isn't welcomed. I want her to know that whatever she wants to do is possible. I can either cut off her imagination or create a space where she feels like she matters in my business; and in my life.