This is a question that was thrown at me at my last talk at Builtable (a Co-working space located at Shaw Blvd). It is a question that I feel most entrepreneurs must face – especially if they have a family or are planning on starting one.
Actually the answer is very simple but very hard to do. No hacks, no tricks, no gimmicks. The only way you can effectively, meaningfully give your time to multiple businesses and your family is to learn to say NO.
There is no shortcut.
I have said no to many, many things. Things that are not helpful to achieving my goal as an entrepreneur, a husband and a father. Things like:
- Going out with friends
- Watching TV series
- Playing computer games for long hours
- Working longer hours
- Partying out
- Seminars that are not aligned with my work
- A Master’s degree
- Traveling the world
My life may sound boring because I say no to these things. But the truth is, it’s quite fun.
Building 4 businesses keeps me very busy and fulfilled. It is my mission ground. My calling.
Spending time with my family helps me to achieve my long-term goals of being a great father and husband. It also keeps me refreshed. I love my family.
Truth is, if your priorities are clear, it is easy to juggle your time with business and family. If it is not, then you are in trouble. Without priorities and principles in place, saying ‘No’ increases in difficulty because of the decision making process.
To say no without concrete priorities and principles means:
To face peer pressure
To lose out
To be seen as boring
To face conceivable regrets
All of these things will eat up time, emotions, brainpower and will. Things that could have been used more fruitfully elsewhere.
I still say no to a whole lot of things. That way, I am able to say yes to the most important things and opportunities in my life.
I pray you do the same.