At first, it starts as a shift in position, a minor cooing can be heard followed by a deep breath (disdain or annoyance, I couldn’t fathom). My 4 month old son, Logan, rolls over on his side, his cooing abruptly changing to a shrill cry.
As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I can see the outline of his body wiggling to free himself of sleep. His eyes are still closed, but he’s obviously ready to get up.
“I’ll get ‘em” I tell my wife.
As his eyes peer into the darkness, I sprint downstairs, grab a bottle and proceed to place it on the warmer. Looking at my phone, I time it. Then, I scoop up Logan, cradle him in my arms and watch his cry turn into a faint smirk.“Yeah, you better pick me up.”
I guarantee you that’s what he’d mutter under his breath if he could. At that moment, I’m tired as hell, and groggy, but duty calls.
It ain’t all rainbows and sunshine in this kid raising stuff.
While feeding Logan, I take a few to check my phone, making sure I spend at least the first few minutes making sure he was eating properly.Sifting through emails, I respond to a few (I use Boomerang to schedule them out so I don’t respond in the middle of the night like a madman) and proceed looking back at Logan.
On this particular night, I realized that my entire existence, at least momentarily, had shifted to raising my son.
My days of working 16 hours with no breaks are gone
I had instantly needed to change my priorities and leverage my time better. In the four months since Logan was born, I’ve significantly become a better entrepreneur by delegating more. Thus, learning to balance life just a tad better. Below, I’ve broken down some ways I’ve shifted focus:
1. My Delegation Skills Have Increased Substantially
Having a kid is a time suck.
A good one, but a time suck, nonetheless. They need food, caring parents and ATTENTION. Did I mention they s*** like gerbils? Yeah, that, too. So, I had to reassess my time. I was spending a lot of time IN the business as opposed to managing it. In the past four months, our marketing agency, 5Four Digital has grown significantly. So much so, that I’ve hired a full-time Project Manager and Account Manager. I wanted to ensure clients were still receiving a high level of work and pull myself out of the daily grind of workload to focus on high-level marketing strategy.This actually leads into my next topic:
2. We Created a Detailed Training Regiment for our Internal Team that Includes Video Training and More to Empower Remote Members
Most of our team members work remotely, so in order to maintain work quality and balance, we use several tools to communicate, delegate and get s*** done.I understand that to scale my business, I need to have a solid way to execute with my team so that I could get some of my time back to spend with Logan and my family.
After realizing that using a systematic approach to everything we do (big thanks to my buddy Ryan Stewart who is an automation beast), I began to create a process. The process follows these simple tasks:
- Step 1: Break down the job into itemized tasks
- Step 2: Create a video tutorial of each task with text based reference content
- Step 3: Create a detailed google sheet where the process can be recorded
- Step 4: Delegate that task to a team member using our task management system, Asana
- Step 5: Notify that member via Slack (like WhatsApp for business) that a new job is ready for review (we have an API that does this, but I digress)
To be honest, it’s a grueling process upfront, but necessary for delegating workload and creating a process that alleviates time and increases scalability.
3. I Learned to Say NO.
I used to say yes to EVERYTHING. “Yep, that project sounds great, let’s do it.” I’ve only been an entrepreneur for a few years, I need to prove my longevity by taking every project under the sun. Or so I thought.
After having a kid, you realize how crucial and important your time is.
Is it smart for me to take a project that won’t have a larger ROI for my time and that of my team?
I began to bundle services, offer more and only provide our services to clients that fell in line with our mantra and ideals. If I had an inkling that a client wasn’t a good fit prior, I’d stake my chances. Now, if I can vett a client and realize they’re probably not the most conducive to our growth, I’ll say no to a project.
This, of course, comes with expertise, and proving our worth to clients has allowed us to be a bit more choosy.
4.Managing Time to the MINUTE is Crucial to Success
Logan goes to day care at 7am. My wife, Deandra gets him ready and takes him to school in the morning. So, my regiment follows a strict dedication. I wake up at 6:40 (I actually want to start earlier, but I’m not a morning person) and work the following checklist:
Thereafter, my day consists of a workload broken into 3 parts:
- Hardest tasks first — this usually means marketing campaign updates.
- Medium tasks second — this usually includes phone calls and delegations.
- Light tasks third — lingering jobs and task management review.
By 4pm, I’m on my way to pick up Logan. From 4–9, I allocate family time.
Once Logan and wifey are asleep, I’ll work for another 2.5 hours preparing a list for the next day and finishing any tasks not completed during the day.
5. Work Isn’t Everything
Prior to Logan being born, I admittedly put work at the forefront of EVERYTHING. Sacrificing family time, quality time with my wife and neglecting queues from others was adamant in my daily routine. In order to be successful in my career, I felt working 16 hours days was crucial. Now, in many cases it is, but it’s impossible to scale a business if you’re involved in every single task.It’s important to decompress, spend family time and enjoy your loved ones. My mantra:
We’re here for a good time, not a long time
All in all, for those with “baby fever”, I don’t advise having a kid to improve your work ethic. Thankfully, my wife and I share the workload as we both have pretty demanding careers. It’s rigorous, challenging and sometimes scary, but you learn to love your kid’s personality, their smile and that soft, authentic giggle (jeez, who am I?).
Honestly, I want to be a role model for young Logan, while giving him the most time I can in this life.
If Jeff Bezos can start the day by sharing a healthy breakfast with his wife, the novelist MacKenzie Bezos, it’s possible for anyone to have a life of BALANCE.