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Sun 1 May 2016 02:50 PM

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5 work-balance tips for enterprising mums

Mona Tavassoli, CEO and Founder at Mompreneurs Middle East, shares tips for Mompreneurs who are looking to achieve balance in their lives.

5 work-balance tips for enterprising mums
Mona Tavassoli is founder and CEO at Mompreneurs Middle East.

Is there such a thing as work-life balance for entrepreneurs?

I am not a big fan of the phrase “work-life balance.” It gives me the feeling that we are not alive when working and that we have a life outside of our work, which starts only when we finish our 9-to–5 jobs.

A lot of people become entrepreneurs to find the perfect balance in their lives and then they feel trapped: longer working hours, no financial security and sometimes no balance at all. Running your own business and being a mother has its own, even bigger set of challenges: feelings of guilt, too many priorities and two full time jobs as a mother and an entrepreneur is no easy feat.

The question seems to be, do we become successful Mompreneurs who concede their family time, or do we run businesses as a hobby and refrain from thinking too big? Or could there possibly be a combination – a “Super Mompreneur” – who can manage both the business and family.

Balance does not mean doing everything perfectly all the time – balance is keeping priorities straight within a period of time. As long as we manage to keep our priorities in place during this specified time (let’s call it a week), we have achieved balance.

Here are 5 tips for Mompreneurs who are looking to achieve balance in their lives:

Define your values and priorities in life

It is easy to get side tracked and forget about our priorities when we do not know what they are. Make the time to list out your values and priorities in your life.

This process might take a while, so be patient and write down everything that is important to you, personally and professionally. Quality family time, travelling, being financially independent, yoga, dance, painting, education, offering the best service to your clients are just a few examples.

Schedule your priorities in advance for the upcoming week.

We cannot manage time, instead, we need to manage ourselves to use time correctly.

Dedicate one day in a week to schedule your activities for the upcoming week, this could be your Thursday afternoon from 2 – 4 pm, Saturday morning or anytime that you are less busy. Lock this weekly two-hour slot in your calendar for the entire month.

This planning time is crucial to ensure effectiveness throughout the week. Put high priority activities in your schedule first, such as family plans, personal activities, long-term strategic goals for your business, and similar.

It is very easy to get caught up in day-to-day meetings and low priority tasks that seem urgent but are in fact distractions, and ignore long-term and important activities. When you lock the important tasks in your calendar, it is less likely that you say ‘Yes’ to less important activities.

Use your support group in life and business

The art of delegation is essential for the success of entrepreneurs, both in their personal and professional life.

Use your support group at home, from your husband, mother, nanny, mother-in-law, neighbour, friend and whoever else is willing to ensure that you do not stretch yourself too thin. Do the same at work: delegate tasks to employees or outsource them to freelancers.

There are brilliant support groups such as Nabbesh.com that offer you freelancers at a very competitive rate. Find out the best support groups in your town and use them to free up some of your time. Don’t get bogged down with small and time-consuming tasks.

Cut negative and destructive thoughts, they don’t serve you well.

Women usually deal with shame and guilt more than men. It is very normal to feel guilty when you cannot spend your mornings with your kids, or when you get too busy and actually forget the costume day, book day or national day.

Monitor your thoughts and be aware of which ones make you learn, take action and move on. Keep in mind which thoughts are positive and constructive, and which lower your energy level, and make you feel bad about yourself.

Learn from your mistakes, take action and move on, don’t get stuck in negative emotions. Having several roles is no easy task, be grateful to yourself for trying hard and having a vision to create something new which can add value to other people’s lives.

Take time to sharpen the saw and do what you love

This one is probably my favorite, taking time to empower yourself and invest in your own wellbeing and happiness.

There are four main pillars of energy – Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual – that affect our wellbeing and empower us and all four are equally important.

Take an hour of your time everyday to do some exercise, read, meditate, pray, invest in your relationships or any other activities that recharge and empower you.

You as a mother and entrepreneur, are the center of your family and team, your happiness is essential to raise happy kids and a successful business. Take some time off in a day to do things that you love to do, it increases your energy level and you will be able to focus more and achieve more.

I am a big fan of Stephen Covey and I learned some of the above tips from his books, which I highly recommend you to read: “Seven Habit of Highly Effective People”, “Focus” and “First Things First.”

Life is a game and enjoy playing it while it lasts, challenges make life more fun and make us grow, stay present and enjoy little things in life.

About the author:

Mona Tavassoli is CEO and Founder at Mompreneurs Middle East, a B2B platform that caters to female entrepreneurs in the region to help them promote and grow their businesses. From a one-stop information portal, Mompreneurs Middle East has quickly become an educational forum offering the ‘Entrepreneur Rising’ programme, an eight-week training on entrepreneurship, and many networking events. Tavassoli is also the founder of MomSouq, an online classified for baby and children’s products.