Time management is perhaps the most pressing problem entrepreneurs are faced with, and one they deal with on a daily basis. We keep calendars, task lists and notifications in an effort to squeeze just one more hour of work out of the day. It already seems hard enough to fit in time for ourselves, so when it comes to maintaining a romantic relationship, this issue can be uncomfortably emotional and incredibly problematic. Are we being selfish when we have to push back a date to attend a networking event or complete an important project? Are we being delusional to think that focusing on growing our business now will lead to time for a personal life in the future? Where is that fine line and how do we walk it? Here is a list of 5 ways that you might perform this balancing act:
1) Business in the Front, Marriage in the Back
While marriage is a clichéd metaphor for the kind of relationship that cofounders share, there is nothing cliché about individuals who can manage a marriage and a company together. Examples of couples managing a successful business and marriage include: Jessica Rovello and Kenny Rosenblatt of Arkadium, Ouidad and Peter Wise of Ouidad Hair Salon, Julia and Kevin Hartz of Eventbrite, and many, many more. There are also many examples of successful businesses that have emerged from failed marriages, so like anything related to love, it’s all a guessing game as to whether or not it will work.
2) Appy Romance
There has been an explosion in the number of couple’s apps being developed, which seems to indicate that many people are looking for ways to connect remotely when there just isn’t time to meet in person:
Couple: Share photos, schedule dates, make lists, draw pictures, and Thumb Kiss, a feature where you virtually match thumbs onscreen with your partner to simulate a kiss…who else finds this a little creepy?
Avocado: A two-person chat room, shareable lists, synced calendar, sketches and stickers, private photo books, and the ability to send a “kiss” by putting your lips to the screen, or a “hug” by putting it to your heart. Guaranteed to make you look weird in public, but the other features sound very useful.
Icebreak for Couples: Answer questions about your relationship and share them with your partner.
This option alone has very little chance of ensuring the health of any relationship, but it might help you maintain that feeling of closeness when one of the pair is off on a business trips or during the week, if you both have busy schedules.
3) The Weekenders
If you and your partner maintain hectic schedules during the week, then one obvious solution, which couples tend to fall into rather than choose, is to make the weekends about being together. There’s nothing ideal about cramming your relationship into such a limited time window, particularly when you’re both likely to be tired from the week, but there is much bonding to be had over a T.V. marathon and a pizza. You can supplement your weekender-lifestyle with the mid-week sleepover, provided your partner has given you space for clothing storage at his or her apartment, or you’ve mastered wearing reversible layers that your less fashion-conscious coworkers don’t notice. This seems to work best at tech companies.
4) Date an Investor
This solution gives you a convenient excuse for leaving the office and going to lunch with your partner, particularly if your company is looking for a round of investment. All joking aside, investors have a bird’s-eye view of the startup world, so your partner will at least understand that it isn’t personal or a lack of desire on your part to spend time with him or her, if you have to miss a date because of work. He or she might also be even busier than you.
5) Opt Out
We hear a lot of advice in the startup-world geared toward helping entrepreneurs maintain a work/life balance, but sometimes we have to admit to ourselves that this balancing act is putting a strain on our ability to look out for #1- the business. Putting your love life on hold so that you can focus on developing your company might look to the outside world as if you’re one denial short of a getting a third cat, but if it gives you the fuel you need to get to the next level, then so be it! You are the only person who can accurately judge what both you and your company need to stay healthy, and if you begin to feel lonely you can always make an adjustment.
There is absolutely nothing easy about maintaining a business and relationship, but at the end of the day, if it is important to you, you will find a way to make it work. Ambition carries a price, but you get to decide what your success will cost you.