Nearly half of entrepreneurs in a recent survey said that finding work-life balance is their greatest challenge—and when parenting is added to the equation, that challenge increases geometrically. Who better to give advice than fellow parent/entrepreneurs who are finding solutions with a little help from technology tools? Here’s what seven of them had to say:
1. Batch social media tasks: One of the best technology tools I’ve used to help me stay away from the computer on the weekends is Buffer, a platform for scheduling my social media posts in advance—it’s like a Crock-Pot for social media!
—Michelle Garrett, owner, Garrett Public Relations, Columbus, Ohio
2. Combine work/family calendars: I keep my work and kids’ activities on one digital calendar. When people are looking to schedule something with me, they are considering my family obligations as well as my work schedule.
—Kristi Piehl, founder and CEO, Media Minefield, Minneapolis
Nearly half of entrepreneurs in a recent survey said that finding work-life balance was their greatest challenge.
3. Commute productively: One of the best purchases I ever made was an inexpensive one-pound laptop that I use to email on the commute home—I upload/download my emails in WiFi. I always unplug on Saturdays for my Sabbath, and it’s been a great way of getting away from it all.
—Georgette Blau, founder and president, On Location Tours, New York City
4. Outsource and embrace mobility: Instead of doing all my projects myself, I delegate tasks using Freelancer.com. At first the thought of putting my work into the hands of strangers gave me anxieties, but I saw positive results and it freed up a lot of personal time in my weekly schedule. I also use an app called Evernote that helps me organize and share all my projects and documents from my phone. This means I don’t have to be trapped in the office in order to get things done.
—Lisa Chu, founder, BlackNBianco.com, El Monte, California
5. Go low-tech for focus: As a single mom and business owner, I’ve found that my daily successes come when I take one problem at a time and focus on it until I solve/finish it—and the best way to do that is with a $1 kitchen timer. The problem with an app is that it’s on the phone—you look at it to see how many minutes you are into the problem/project, and you also see any and all texts, calls, emails, etc. that have popped up. So I mute my phone, turn on the timer, and dedicate myself only to the project at hand.
—Melissa Scott, founder and head designer, Modefy Wear, Los Angeles
6. Share a calendar with your spouse: Our rule is that if it’s not on the Google calendar my husband and I share, we can’t honor the commitment. This forces my husband and I to stay organized and plan ahead as much as possible. Often I have to work at night or on the weekend. If I block out work time for myself on a Saturday afternoon, he knows he’s going to have to figure out an activity to do with our daughter without me. And when I know he has something scheduled, I can’t use that time to work. It’s such a small thing, but it’s been a total lifesaver.
—Hilary Young, Founder, Hilary Young Creative, Philadelphia
7. Tap into multiple technologies: I use BlueJeans video conferencing for all calls/meetings, which I record (with the consent of all parties, of course) so I can give the call my full focus and not have to take notes. I have an infant, which means she is often nursing or sleeping on me, which makes typing difficult—the Google Docs speak-to-type feature has been a lifesaver. IFTTT (If This, Then That) connects many apps together through a magical process I do not understand, and I use it for all sorts of things—to link social media platforms together, regulate my Nest, sync all my contacts and more.
—Abra Annes, founder and owner, Generosity Auctions, Santa Rosa, California
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