This sounds like a multi layered and hard to answer question, but it is really just one question:
“What is your priority?”
Business or family/friends?
You need to be clear on this and keep on asking yourself this question, because it will change over time and with circumstances.
You have very young kids and your partner works long hours:
Kids and family come first for most of us.
Kids move into high school:
You are able to focus more on your business.
A partner is able to step in and take more responsibilities for the family:
Business takes a step forward.
You start working together with someone, or outsource certain aspects of your business:
you are able to focus more on your home live.
For a lot of us growing older means more interest in family, a first step to retirement?
Have you ever looked at your job/family relationship through that pure view of what is important? Because, if you find something important enough, you will find time for it. There is no such thing as no time; there is something like not important.
Ask yourself, honestly, whether you take the ‘Time excuse?
Once you have that figured out, you will find there is less of a conflict between your business and your family.
A couple of key tips to help you get there:
Planning is essential:
With the risk of being boring, but there is nothing wrong with always cooking soup on soccer practise nights!
Don’t get trapped in time traps:
Don’t waste your time with things that are neither family nor business. If you use facebook to relax; do so, but don’t whinge afterwards that you don’t have time to write an important e mail or pick the kids up from school. Be honest with yourself.
Tell your partner and your kids that your priorities have changed; for good or just for a while.
Stick to a schedule as much as possible, but when dinner is late, don’t just serve it late, explain to your kids why you need to work and ask them to pitch in by washing veggies or even heating up soup. They will adapt better to schedule changes when you involve them!
Take short time outs:
Get away from it all. Me time is time that benefits your business AND your family