When I launched Your Executive Secretary Limited in December 2012, i didn’t really shout from the roof tops that I was a mum. I really wanted Business Owners to see me as a Business Owner first and foremost. But the reality is, my husband and I both run businesses from home and we have 2 children (age 4 and 8 months) of course they will have an impact on us and our working lives. My eldest finishes pre-school next week for 6 weeks holiday before starting School in September and so I am about to increase my juggling ability.
Being a Working At Home Mum or Dad can often turn into a juggling and balancing act. The duties of work and home begin to overlap, and often one can take over. Many mums decide to work at home to spend more time with their families, but end up dedicating even more time to work. Here are a few tips to help you juggle.
1. Get organized. Figure out what your goals and priorities are, in your business and in your personal life, then figure out how to achieve them. Then put your house, office, and life in general, together in a way that will help you achieve your goals. Outsource the things you can get someone else to do for you.
2. Lists, lists, lists. One you have your plans and goals, make to-do lists. Try to organize your lists by priority. If something doesn’t get done, it probably wasn’t that important anyway. (Personally I use my filofax diary, a notepad for my daily To Do List, the ToDoist software (come back next week for a blog on ToDoist) for managing the work of clients and a weekly wall planner for managing the children’s activities.)
3. Multitask. At some point, you’re probably going to get burnt out doing things that seem tedious or that you just don’t want to do. Try mixing it up. If something is really stressing you out, go on to something else and come back. There ís always something else that needs to get done (like put the washing on or empty the dishwasher).
4. Set work hours, and follow them. Set work hours for times when the kids aren’t around, or don’t require a lot of attention. When your work hours are done, stop working. If you can’t manage to get your work done, you may need to reset your work hours, but you most likely need to look at how much work you can actually take on. At the moment due to school hours etc, my typical working day can be from 0630 – 0830 (normally in my pi’s, while the children are playing, having breakfast etc). I then get into the office for 0910 and work through to 1530 – between 1530 and 1930, I am mum. Then once the children are in bed, its back to work for me til about midnight.
5. Make a separate space for work and family. While it may be easy to work and play in the same area, it helps to have a dedicated office area when you work from home. This will help you focus on what you need to be doing, and even help protect you from getting your work disrupted by your family. (My husband and I share an office – we converted the garage, so that we have dedicated space to work and we actually feel like we leave home to go there!)
6. Get the family to help. Sure, if your kids are young, they aren’t going to be able to help with much, but even very small children can often help organize the house or dry dishes. Make sure everyone does their part. We have a Nanny for 3 days a week – she is awesome and part of our family, (it scares me how alike we can be sometimes) but it means that I don’t have to worry about certain tasks relating to the children.
7. Take time for you. When balancing work and family, you often forget an important part of the equation: you. When scheduling your work and family, always schedule some time to relax, socialize, and do what you like to do. If necessary – put it in your diary.
8. Make friends. Even if you don’t get to see them a lot, friends are an important part of maintaining your physical and mental health. Remember to take time to keep your friendships alive.
9. Stay positive. One of the biggest keys to success is keeping a positive attitude. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish as long as you believe you can do it. Plus, you’ll be setting a great life example for your kids at the same time.
10. Remember that you are unique. Trying to fit into someone else’s schedule and someone else’s plan isn’t necessarily going to be successful. You need to tailor your plan into the unique needs of your family and find something that works for you.
So if you need some help (or a sympathetic ear) with your juggling and staying on top of either your administration or social media, please either drop me an email to [email protected] or call 0800 612 5596. I would also love to hear your tips for juggling your business and your family at this time of year.