Working at home with your spouse can be a blessing and a curse. Brian and I have found that the most important key to finding success is being intentional. Here are our top seven keys to unlock a more successful business, but more importantly, a stronger marriage!
1. Schedule Meetings with Each Other
I resisted this first one forever. After all, we see each other every day, all day. Do we really need to calendar meetings with each other too? The answer is one, big, fat YES! To grow your business, you have to set time aside for when you are going to talk about something other than the most immediate to-do list. Weekly meetings keep goals fresh and alive, give opportunity for you to review progress together, and allows space to strategize next steps…all these things take place when you intentionally set time aside for the conversation. Key: Keep this meeting free from calls or checking emails so both of you can stay focused that much more.
Related: 7 things you should never say to your boss
2. Create Your Own Separate Work Space
Start by asking each other what kind of environment you work best in. Brian loves to be around others when working. When he first quit his day job, he tried working in our basement for peace and quiet. But he soon realized that he felt cut off from civilization all day. Even though homeschooling can get a bit loud at the dining table, he'd rather be in the living room near all the action. If I'm writing, I need to have the ability to close the door so I've got my writing desk in our bedroom upstairs. Key: Discover what your different needs are to know where to set up your work space.
3. Set Office Hours
One of the toughest parts to working at home is that you are your own boss. No one is watching the clock when you start work or end work. You have the option of working late into the night after the kids are in bed. But starting late, working late, eating meals at odd hours…make for daily practices that aren't sustainable in the long run. This is all the more reason to set office hours. What time will you start your day and end your day? The kids need to know as much as you both need to know. Key: Take initiative to create your own office hours, and stick to them. This will help manage your family's expectations. You can always change your hours, but at least you have a framework to work from.
4. Get Counsel
Brian and I often coach other couples to find a counselor they both respect. Working together turns up the heat on every stressful issue in your marriage. If you thought your finances or communication skills were struggling before, working at home with your spouse just intensified it by a thousand times. Don't wait for a crisis to get help. Instead, be proactive and start working on ways to communicate better, resolve conflict together and face tough issues. Roger is one of my favorite names because he has been our marriage counselor for almost seventeen years, and I can't begin to express how much his counsel has saved the day (over and over again). Key: Don't wait for crisis to get counsel.
5. Find Ways to Celebrate Your Successes
When you did the day job, there was a boss or manager to pat you on the back and say "Great job on that presentation!" or "Great work on that trial!" But when you are working at home with your spouse, all your successes can feel a bit anti-climatic. As you reach goals together and individually, find ways you can celebrate your successes. Key: Find ways to take a break from work, and celebrate your successes.
6. Stop Talking About It After 10pm
We've had a rule in our marriage for years; we don't talk about finances after 10pm. Do we break this rule at times? Of course. But we try our best to stick to it. Why? Talking about finances is rarely fruitful after 10pm at night. I guarantee you that Brian and I will start fighting if we try talking about finances after 10pm. I'd almost bet that you and your spouse would too. So why not watch your favorite show, read, or cozy up on the couch, and call it a day. All those questions and problems to solve will be there in the morning, but you will be rested and have a fresh outlook. Key: Tackle stressful scenarios after a good night's rest. Very little good happens if you start after 10pm.
7. Take Annual Retreats Together
You are both the boss, so take advantage of it by scheduling an annual retreat for just the two of you. Create space to dream together, push your limits with higher goals, and just exhale. Right the whole trip off as a business expense. And enjoy one of the best benefits of working at home with your spouse! Key: Take time to run away and dream together. Your business will benefit, but your marriage and family will too!
-By Me Ra Koh
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