08 Jun Work & Marriage
“I don’t know how you do it!!! I would go crazy. I need my space…” These words ring out the mouths of most when they discover we are married and work together. Now, let’s be real, it’s not all plain sailing and as much as we love each other, we do get on each other’s nerves sometimes. But that’s to be expected, right? We’ve been married for ten years and have discovered some useful tips for couples who are thinking about working together or just general insights that you can take and use elsewhere.
1. Who’s The Daddy?
Roles and responsibilities must be identified – first of all! If there is a disagreement on an issue, someone must have been previously ‘crowned’ with the role of having the ‘final word’ in that specific area. Now, this is not an autocratic, free licence to make poorly judged decisions, but rather ask yourself this: Is this going to be a good business decision? Will this make us better as a team? If you can answer yes, then go bravely!!
2. Opposites Attract
While most who know us see us as very similar, we are also quite different. We try our best to separate those differences into strengths and weaknesses to decide point 1 (above) – Who’s the Daddy? Christophe is very strong creatively, but his weakness is that his enthusiasm makes him ignore things like delivery times and charging for his skillset. When dealing with pricing and scheduling, he understands that I can foresee problems that his enthusiasm will prevent him from seeing. As difficult as it is, we try our best to respect each other’s roles and treat each other like professionals even if we have a differing opinion.
3. Time Out! (You’re annoying me, I’m going to another room)
Now and then we need a little space from each other to work on a project with no interruptions or simply just because we’re getting on each others nerves. This time is important and necessary for both individuals and the good of the project. Thankfully, we are blessed with a spacious back and front garden with lots of green palms to create the illusion of another room.
4. Pray Together Stay Together
Praying and Bible study is part of our daily routine. Life issues charge in front and rival for immediate attention, and we do not always have the time, but the intention is always there. For us, it’s also a great time for discussion, bonding, praying for needs and starting the day the right way. This year we started a ‘Thankful’ jar. For all of our answered prayers, we will scribble them on some pretty paper and stuff it in the jar. At the end of the year, we reflect our year’s worth of blessings and give thanks for them.
5. Creative Days
Twice a month we set a day aside to graze in our field and digest all of what is new and cutting edge in the world of creative design. We change locations, head to our favorite coffee shop or pub, hang out and just talk about work as opposed to doing it. Our current read is thedsgnblog.com and mashable.com we also watch TED and keep up to date with our favorite speakers. We are currently listening to entrepreneur, James Altucher via his podcast.
6. Welcomed Distractions
For days that are heavily crowded and can sometimes feel overwhelmingly busy, we break up the day by checking on our newly planted hibiscus hedge, playing with the office dog, Coogee, or have a chat with the neighbour. These small, yet welcomed distractions are like getting your temples massaged, before heading back to the grind.
7. Couples Crush
Keep an eye on couples whom you value as team players. Running a business can be time-consuming, and we can’t always find the time to hang out with couples we admire, but as much as we can, we try to keep them as close as possible. Even if it means stalking them on social media! IRON SHARPENS IRON. Shoutout to Terrence and Carol Pierre, Kenny and Angel Abhayaratna, Ryan and Alicia Shelton, Gary and Talitha McSween, Luke and Rachel Quamina, and David and Madeline McQueen. There are more, but YOU guys…
8. Work Hard & Play Harder
When working together, it’s easy for the business to continuously expand until it consumes life. You find yourself out to dinner, but the conversation is about clients. DANGEROUS!!! We have been to that place where the work hours trail into the night, and it’s not nice. We now have clear boundaries, we try our best to refrain from answering phones and emails, even social media after certain hours. We leave work behind and immerse ourselves in the moment, whether it be vacations, beach trips with friends, walking the dog or a simple dinner date.
Working together is not for everyone but don’t let that stop you from trying it. Hope our tips help.