A few weeks ago, I delved into our experiences regarding owning a company with your significant other. We were posed with a lot of questions in the beginning. I felt it was important to pass those questions to the reader in the first part of our blog. Now we will start answering those questions one at a time.
I will not be touching on my rant about old boy’s clubs in this edition but may return to it in the future. Both Lisa and I do have strong feelings on the subject and how it should be put to rest. This does not make it any less IMPORTANT, but we feel it deserves its own spotlight and not shared within a topic.
Let’s start with the “SHEER AMOUNT OF TIME TOGETHER” part first, as it is a huge part of it. You are together for, I will say, 18 hours of your waking time with that person. What did we do? We found ways to work around it.
When we have things to get done that is a different ballgame. We put our headsets on and do our work and only speak when it’s a question, at that point. Sometimes I have a lot of questions and annoy her but, we work through it.
We have started doing things like sending hangouts messages that say:
When you have a minute, can we talk?
When your finished what you are working on can we take a few minutes to talk something over?
This way the other person does not lose their train of thought and gets their work done to the best of their abilities. Once those headphones are on it’s like the other person does not exist. I use music, depending on my mood. If I need to intensely focus, I usually have the 80’s songs from my youth and I ignore the world
Note: Currently have Night Train by GNR on and singing along as I write this blog.
Lisa, on the other hand, has a tablet and she listens to podcasts or Netflix shows. No idea how she does it, but she does her best work with Netflix on in the background! I can’t do it, believe me, I have tried multiple times. People are different, so whatever works for her.
Am I saying this will work for you? No, I am not. I am sure you will find a setup that is best for you, with trial and error, like we did.
Another thing we do is make sure we do not stay in the office all day long, together. In the beginning, we used to go down to this beautiful park on the lake, in downtown Burlington. We would walk around and just relax. We would sit on this old log and watch the waves and eat our lunch. The key was we were relaxing even though we were together.
I would sit and watch the waves roll in and Lisa would be sitting with me and we would talk about things not work related. Big key is you need to unplug even for little segments of the day. It is now winter, so we go for small drives around the city, and do errands for the household, get coffee and just spend some time unwinding.
Very important thing to do with all this time together is to spend time in a non-work environment and go have some fun!
This, I feel, is one of the most IMPORTANT things to do. You have this relationship with this person you work with, and you do all these work-related items with each other. You also need to spend the time doing things as a couple!
If you don’t you may have this amazing work relationship but, odds are you are neglecting your partner emotionally, physically or mentally. Go do something totally NOT WORK. Lisa and I do date night every Saturday, never fail. We RARELY miss it. Does work come up? Sometimes but, it’s not the priority. Spending time laughing and goofing around is the priority.
These activities could be anything from going to the movies, a dinner out or meeting up with friends at the local pub watching the Leafs game. I find this is super important to keeping our relationship good on both sides.
If you do not any negativity will eventually creep from the one relationship into the other. This you do not want. It will cause friction that can otherwise be avoided by appreciating them in and out of a work environment.
Sometimes your partner will have emotions or anxiety about something going on in the business and you will have to confront it together. These discussions need to be supportive and tackle the issue head-on. These may creep up at home or at work, and you must work on it together.
You must both try to be patient, listen with an open mind and present logical arguments to allay their fears or anxiety. I tend to try and inject a bit of humour into it, as that is a part of my personality. Might not work for everyone, as sometimes Lisa does not see what I am trying to do with my wit. I then must adapt and try a different route and solution.
I tend to see things in black and white and very little shades of grey. All logical, kind of like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory. Lisa has ways to weasel her grey in there and make me understand somehow. She can ready me like a book and will somehow be able to take the right words and make it, so I see what message she was trying to convey. This is the benefits of having a personal relationship and spending lots of time together over the years.
Now all the things I have mentioned, so far, are to do with time spent together. You need time apart on a regular basis, as well. If you have friends, make sure you are visiting them and hanging out with them when you have free time.
Yes, work takes up a lot of your time, compared to a 9 to 5 job but, you need to make the time to have a life as well. Lisa visits her friend Sara every week. GO OUT and have fun!
I tend to spend time playing Xbox with my sons or going out with my friends from college. We do not have to like all the same things as Lisa and I, so, If I want to go see Black Panther I go with someone that likes it. I will go to something more along with our mutual tastes if I want to go with Lisa.
Lisa will also have girls’ weekends, where her and the college friends will all go to the SPA for massages and getting pampered. Encourage things like this! It will only recharge her and give her a break from all the time you spend together.
We covered a lot of items on the amount of time we spend when owning a company with your significant other. This feels like a good place to take a pause and consider all that was said. I have more to discuss another day; including vacations. We will return to this in a few weeks and explore more of what we did to figure it out together.
Take Care Till Next Time….