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How to Balance Work, Business, and Family Life

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How to Balance It All

This is a common question I get, and while my husband and I certainly don’t claim to have mastered this art, we’ve discovered a few tips along the way that really help. The life of an entrepreneur is often busy and stressful, and the life of a parent is often busy and stressful. Combine the two and you very often have a life that is both doubly busy and stressful.

Yet, we are firm believers that not only do neither of these things have to suffer (family time or business) but in fact they can help each other thrive.

But First, a Story…

In the early days of our business, I promoted a summit and won a ticket to a small and informal mastermind (basically a support & sharing group for entrepreneurs) in California with other business professionals. At that point, the idea of a business trip and meeting other professionals sounded like fun, but I had a 7-month-old baby who needed me every few hours for food. So, we did the logical thing and hopped on a plane with her for the mastermind.

Our plan was that both of us would attend the mastermind and I’d hold the baby in there while she was good or sleeping and take her out if she got fussy.

The problem was, on the first day, the person facilitating the mastermind (not the host) asked us to leave because it was distracting to have her in there… even though she wasn’t being loud.

At first I was mad, realizing that in many (even informal) business settings, babies are frowned upon. Even perfectly quiet sleeping or nursing babies. Of course, it was a private event and they had every right to make this request, but it still hurt that we weren’t able to attend the rest of the event.

The Silver Lining…

In hindsight, being “kicked out” of a mastermind was one of the best things that ever happened for us and our business for two reasons:

  1. We became determined to win at business in a family-friendly way. This experience made us realize that many people become successful at the expense of family time. But, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We resolved after that experience to become even more efficient and successful at business and to do so while keeping family always the first priority.
  2. We started our own mastermind founded on the idea of family first… and it has been amazing. The second amazing thing that happened as a result of this experience was that we decided to create our own mastermind that didn’t just allow kids, it required them. We formed a group of a handful of families and we now meet twice a year… with our kids. We’ve become lifelong friends and our children have become lifelong friends. And our businesses have all evolved and are thriving over the years of meeting together.

Clarifying the Focus & Priorities

The beauty of that experience was that it helped us clarify our priorities and realize that business was always going to be second priority to family. At the same time, our business was how we were able to feed our family, so it was important too.

We realized that in order to do both, we’d have to be very intentional about focusing on the most effective parts of each.

It helped us narrow down our focus and figure out how to not only balance, but integrate the two.

80/20 Your Life

The first step of figuring out how to balance family life and business life without sacrificing important parts was to take inventory of the most effective and important parts of each. Many times, in business and parenting, we all seem to tread water or exist without any intentionality, just doing things as we’ve always done them.

In any aspect of life, taking stock of the most impactful things we are doing and increasing those while reducing the distractions and unimportant activities will lead to improvement. Tim Ferriss popularized this idea with his book The Four Hour Workweek, but it really applies to all aspects of life: from cleaning to cooking and from business to investing.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept, the idea is that in any given aspect of life, 20% of the input is responsible for 80% of the results… and this seems to work both ways. 20% of customers are responsible for 80% of profits, while an inverse 20% are often responsible for 80% of customer service headaches. Additionally, focusing on the 20% that is successful in any given area and working to duplicate the results of this segment improves the business across the board.

How to Figure out the 80/20 Rule for Your Life

This idea seems easy to apply in most business applications because things like profit, conversions, and clicks are easily trackable and it is easy to find the top 20%. It gets a little tougher in life because, for instance, it is hard to accurately measure the 20% of parenting that makes the biggest impact on our kids, at least in the moment. The results are often clear in 20 years but hard to see at the time.

For family life, this was our process of trying to narrow down the 20%:

  • We made a list of clear and measurable skills and experiences we wanted our children to have before leaving home. Then, we worked backward with a timetable of figuring out how to teach or give these skills/experiences in the years they have left at home. This led to some interesting discoveries, including that we wanted to travel a lot more than we had originally planned, and that we needed to create some kind of system of mentoring them in business while they are young. More on this in future posts.
  • We looked at family activities that everyone enjoyed and that also had a bonding or teachable aspect and increased these. Family camping trips and extended travel both are great for learning, family bonding, and enjoyment. Movie nights, while fun, aren’t as good. We honed in on family activities that we could do together that everyone enjoyed and doubled down on these. The result? A lot more camping, travel, Jujutsu classes together, baseball games, and helping the kids with entrepreneurial projects they love.

Clear and Measurable Goals

So many times in life, we set goals that are not specific or measurable. This makes them almost impossible to track and to even gauge if we are succeeding or not. In fact, I’d argue that for many families, parenting is the biggest glaring example of this.

We want to raise “good kids” but what does that mean and how do we define “good”?

We want them to be “successful adults” but how do we measure success?

In a world where memorization and traditional school subjects are becoming less important and adaptation and the ability to learn new skills quickly are becoming vital, we felt that it takes much more intentionality to raise great kids.

We created trackable and measurable goals for business and family so that we would be able to hopefully achieve them. We created:

  • A detailed list of practical life skills we want our kids to have before leaving home. (still working on these)
  • Detailed goals for each business that we wanted to achieve by a certain point. (We accomplished these and are working on the process again with new measurable goals.

Acting Intentionally

This single step can make a person drastically more successful in any aspect of life. When we sit back and evaluate how many things we do a certain way just because we have always done that a certain way, the results can be astounding.

It seems that even when a person is excellent at acting intentionally in one area (like business), he or she has gaping holes in this in other areas of life (parenting, cooking, cleaning, etc.). Acting intentionally in all of these areas has the potential to drastically reduce stress and improve productivity.

At this point, I should mention that we both strive under structure and routine, so this method works really well for our family. If you are a more spontaneous type who despises structure, you may have to adapt.

Reducing Mental Stress with Routine

We’ve found that by having intentional systems for most aspects of life, we could reduce the stress of actually doing them. For instance:

  • Meal Planning: Having a strong structure for meal planning that included shopping lists gets rid of the daily mental stress of figuring out what to cook at each meal. It lets us plan ahead and even cook ahead and eat healthier without extra work. This is the way I’m able to cook 3 real food meals a day every day without going crazy.
  • Cleaning: Having a structure of when we do laundry, who does each chore and when and how the household gets clean gets rid of the stress of nagging the kids to do their chores and keeps us (the adults) accountable for doing things too.
  • Family Time: We are big believers in kids having lots of independent play time and being bored to bring out their creativity. We aren’t the types to entertain our kids all day, but we do have times reserved for family fun activities like swimming, hiking, camping, family game nights, and other activities.
  • Email: Email can take over your life if you let it. Heck, it can take over your life if you let it. Conquering email clutter has made the biggest difference in our mental free space and free time. The rules? Check it 1-2 times a day at most, don’t answer emails that don’t need an answer and unsubscribe from everything possible.

Family Breakfast & Dinner Are Non-Negotiable

Again, it is easy to say family time is a priority, but often daily actions don’t reflect this. One easy way we’ve made sure that days start and end with family time is by making breakfast and dinner always family activities. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances that occasionally make this not possible, but when we are home, we eat meals together whenever possible.

Family meals are the perfect time for conversation and we all have to eat anyway, so they are easy to schedule in every day:-)

The Bottom Line

There is no simple checklist for effortlessly balancing family and work, especially when both are growing. Balance is a moving target and getting even remotely close to hitting it requires planning, foresight, and intentional action.

The list above is what worked for our family… what works for yours?

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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