Well it's hard to believe that the school holidays are here and it’s mid July and with this time of year comes the challenge of the work life balance.
If you are a self employed, working parent, it is always a juggle to balance both the children, your work and most likely if you are anything like me, your ‘guilty working parents’ conscience. However you can manage it all quite successfully if you start planning ahead and putting in place some ideas for where you might be able to grab a little bit of time here and there. Here are a few top tips that I would like to share with you, they won't necessarily work for everyone, but they will most definitely get you to thinking about what might work for you.
1. Allocate Your Time
Look ahead at the calendar and be clear about work time and family time. It is very important to spend time with the family, but your business is also important to you and so by allocating time to focus on work you can enjoy 'conscience' free time with the children.
2. Getting Organised
Think ahead about tasks you can plan for e.g. social media, newsletters, blogs etc. and work hard to get ahead of yourself with content and then schedule it. Knowing that this is all done and sorted and that it will go out automatically, it will make you feel so much more in control.
3. Pad & Pen
I always carry around a pad and pen in my bag when out and about with the children (I could use the memo on my phone, but I'm a self confessed stationery addict), because when you are sat with a picnic at the park and they are having a game of bat and ball, at an indoor play and the children are letting off steam or even when the little ones have nodded off in the car and you are sat in the car, parked on the drive and enjoying ten minutes of peace, you can brainstorm ideas or jot down your flashes of inspiration and it is amazing how a ten or fifteen minutes here and there will amount up over six weeks!
4. Take a Turn
Six weeks is a very long time for the children to be off school and even with taking two or three weeks off work to spend with the family, there's always quite a period of time to cover with childcare. However, you are not on your own and many working parents are in the same boat, so why not use that to your advantage? Think about other working parents you know who have children of a similar age and arrange for take a turn play dates. You look after their children for a morning or afternoon and they do the same for you. This will enable you to gain some invaluable time and can allow you both to keep in touch with your clients, customers or simply work on your business.
5. Audio Books and Podcasts
Audio materials can be an easy way to absorb information generally, but they are a great way of making good use of time during school holidays whilst on a car journey, when the children are having screen time, a nap or playing in the garden.
6. Each end of the day
We all know that there are a set 24 hours in the day and we cannot change that, but one thing we can influence is how we use our time. I have found that by setting my alarm an hour earlier than when the children rise in the morning, or if your children are early birds, spending an hour every evening, across the week you will gain a full working day and then across five weeks you will claw back a working weeks worth of time.
Don't try and be a superhero and battle your way through the school summer holidays, ask those people around you for help. Many people that are self employed are often extremely independent and determined, but there is no shame in asking for assistance. Call upon friends and family members, look to get some hired help at home or outsource and get some support with your business while you are off.
So there we have them, seven top tips for overcoming the challenge of juggling and balancing your work and home life during the school Summer holidays.