Visions of outdoor cookouts with family and friends, lounging at the pool with a tropical drink and choosing my work hours carefully to take full advantage of summertime blissfully fill my mind. Ah, the joys of summertime. But wait, what's that? It's little Johnny racing around my feet as I feverishly work on my looming deadlines. Shaking my head, I awake from my daydream and realize, yes, summer is almost here. And if I don't plan ahead, the summer will be anything but relaxing.
Every summer, parents working from home face the challenge of having their school-aged children around all day. After 12 years of working at home, I know it can be done. It takes planning, flexibility and understanding that time with my children is priceless and enjoyable. I remind myself, the summer is short, my kids are getting older, and we need to take full advantage of building some great memories for our family.
To help you make this summer the best it can be with as little stress as possible, here are some tips from some successful home based mom entrepreneurs for balancing your many roles:
Debra Cohen, mother of two and owner of Home Remedies of NY Inc., says:
- Hire a mother's helper or babysitter a few afternoons per week. The kids have a great time, and you can focus on the work that needs to be done.
- Forward your business calls to your cell phone so you can spend the day at the beach or somewhere fun together.
- Have a child-care plan and a basic daily schedule in place before the summer begins.
Diana Ennen, mother of three and owner of Virtual Word Publishing, says:
- Sign your children up for summer camp.
- Create a mini office on the back patio. Work in the fresh air while your kids play.
- Get support from family and friends to help during the summer months.
- Take care of you. Keep going to the gym and keep doing all the healthy activities you do during the school year.
- Work some evenings and weekends to make up time if needed.
Kelly Paull, LCSW, mother of two and owner of Slumber Parties by Kelly, says:
- If you're a morning person, try getting up 30 minutes earlier to get some work done before the house comes alive.
- Have a laminated sign for your office door: one side has a stop sign; the other, a smiley face. The stop sign means "I'm on the phone and can't be interrupted." The smiley face means "I'm working but can be interrupted."
- Plan afternoon activities. No matter your kid's age, things will go more smoothly if you head to the pool or another fun activity after you've done some work because don't have it looming over your head all day.
A couple of final tips:
- If you know your workload is going to be overwhelming, start planning now what you can delegate. Perhaps it's time to hire a virtual assistant to help you in your business. There are many talented, capable assistants who can do anything from word processing and data entry to answering calls, responding to e-mail and much more.
- Look into what you can automate in your business. Perhaps you can set up autoresponders when someone purchases or requests something from your website. A few sites that offer automation solutions include: http://www.1automationwiz.com and http://www.autoresponseplus.com.
And don't forget, summer is short. A few hours of pre-planning now can ensure your summer is full of enjoyable time with your children, precious memories and, yes, some dedicated time for work.