Being a parent is a never-ending job and adding a home-based business to the mix seems like insanity. However, there are millions of men and women, like myself who make it work everyday. As busy moms and dads, our to-do list is ever growing and it is easy to get overwhelmed. For many of us, our business is an outlet for our passions in life, and oftentimes we find ourselves in a tug of war between getting work done and being present in our family life.
One of the most common questions asked by entrepreneurs overall is, how do I fit everything in? Time Management tips are one of the most searched topics on Google, and rightly so. We all want to get the best out of life without life getting the best of us. So as a mompreneur who juggles a media consulting business with the demands of two small children, here are a few tips to help you balance work and home more effectively.
Tip 1: Be Realistic About Your Time and Ability
I know, we’re all superman/superwoman in our minds but the truth is we can only accomplish so much in 24 hours. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your business. Building a business requires a lot of time and attention. When you’re realistic about your schedule and responsibilities, it reduces stress and allows you to create an accurate timeline for your projects, which your clients will greatly appreciate. We have to implement a daily strategy that will optimize our productivity and ultimately our business.
Here’s a process I use that you can swipe for yourself:
- Determine how many days a week you want to work, and assign specific tasks/clients to certain days.
- Take a day to sit down and write your commitments for the month. Break down your activities weekly, and write them in a planner
- Take note of which days are the most hectic, and group certain appointments to one weekday or a specific time of the day and schedule your work time around that, or make it your “off” day.
- Make one day a week a “family day” (preferably on the weekends where you do nothing but spend time with your family).
Tip 2: Create Office Hours
One of the biggest pitfalls of having a home-based business is the lack of boundaries. Some parentpreneurs begin with the fantasy of being free to work when they want. While that’s partly true, we must also establish specific hours of business to avoid the never-ending workday. You know, the day where you multi-task all day and never really finish a project. As a mom of two small children, I set my office hours during their school hours for 3 reasons:
- It gives me the peace and quiet I need to take phone calls
- I can work on my projects without constant interruptions
- It allows me to run my business without taking away time from my children
Tip 3: Tell Procrastination Goodbye
Procrastination is a big problem for many people, me included. It never feels good to miss a deadline and disappoint a client because of procrastination. The key to overcoming it is to adjust our perception. Procrastination is merely a manifestation of fear — fear of failing, fear of trying something new or expanding your ability, fear that your client may not like your ideas. But the best way to overcome your fears is to just do it and be okay if things don’t work out — because after all, if you’re great at what you do, chances are your client will be willing to try out more ideas until one fits.
A few ways to eliminate procrastination.
Be accountable for how you spend your time. One way to do this is to get a journal and record your daily activities for three days. Review it and pinpoint where you are losing the most time. To limit time lost to emails, personal calls and social media, allot specific time periods to these things. For example: 1 hour to respond to emails, 30 minutes for social media and personal calls before or after your office hours, etc.
Tip 4: Use Productivity Tools
Use Asana, Crew to help you with Project Management. Set reminders well in advance to help you meet deadlines. Also set your daily/weekly activities on repeat so that they will be automatically scheduled in your calendar.
Tip 5: Keep First Things First
Family should always come first. There are moments with your children that you will never be able to get back, so make sure that you keep them in mind.
How do you balance work/home life as an entrepreneur? Share in the comments.