My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find the perfect work-life balance this summer? Imagine being able to enjoy time with the kiddos while feeling completely confident that your business is running smoothly. Could that dream ever become a reality?
Heck yeah, it’s totally possible! And many mompreneurs (and pops too!) have figured out exactly how to do it. It takes a shift in mindset and an action plan, and then you can achieve that balance too!
Here are 5 tips to manage stress and create a healthy work-life balance this summer.
You know that woman with the perfect life? With the pristine house, perfectly coiffed hair, and jam free clothes (with matching socks!)
Neither do I.
There’s no such thing as the perfect mom or entrepreneur (despite what you see on Instagram). It’s an illusion. Life is all about choices, and that’s true of both parenting and running a business. The choices you make lead to certain results. It’s all cause and effect.
That’s why choosing to prioritize family time is an absolute must, especially in the summer when school’s out. That doesn't mean abandoning your business. It just means that you have to use your time wisely.
Decide exactly how much time you’re going to spend on your business this summer and slot it into your calendar. Maybe it’s working most mornings but knocking off early, or maybe taking off several Fridays to create more long weekends. Block it off in your calendar.
Next, decide on the highest priorities to determine the best use of YOUR time. Don’t let yourself get distracted by all of the little things that are part of your business but aren’t absolutely essential. Giving yourself time limits can actually help you to achieve more in less time provided that you set out a plan to tackle only the most essential parts of your business. This time blocking approach is a proven way to manage your calendar, and it’s one of the key ways to find work-life balance this summer and all year round.
This is also a great time of year to get creative with your working schedule. Do your kids go to bed by 8pm? Maybe that’s the best time to get a little work done without distractions. Or, maybe you’re a morning person and can squeeze an hour or two in before the kids even wake up allowing you to be free while they’re most active.
Now is also the time to consider what parts of your business could be automated to save you time and hassle. All of those repetitive tasks that you find yourself doing again and again and that eat up so much of your day? You may be surprised to learn just how much of that can be completely automated. Isn’t technology grand?
Once you’ve blocked out time in your calendar, it’s also a good idea to make your availability (and unavailability) clear for others. Decide what hours of the day you’re planning to run your business this summer and let your clients and customers know about your seasonal hours.
Also, make that same availability clear to your kids. Let them know when you’re planning to work and that your working time is protected, meaning that you can’t be bothered except for emergencies. It will be easier for your kids to handle hearing, “Not now, I’m working,” when they know that they will have time with you in the future. For example, you can say “I am working for the next three hours but can’t wait to go to the park with you this afternoon!”
By the same token, when you’re done with your work block and it’s family time, leave your workspace and turn off your phone. Be present with your family just as much as you are at work! After all, kids aren’t the only one who should get to enjoy summertime!
Whether it’s playtime, reading, screen time, or extracurricular projects, one of the expectations you should set with your kids is that it’s up to them to entertain themselves for part of the day. In fact, Kerry Wekelo, an author and consultant, suggests giving kids a list of tasks to accomplish each day such as reading assignments or craft projects, daily chores, and even ways to earn some extra cash (if they’re old enough) like cleaning out the garage. These are healthy ways for kids to spend some time during the summer months.
Once your kids are even older you can set higher expectations, asking them to get summer jobs or to watch younger siblings. Even an online class can be a great way to keep an older child busy and bolster their future CV.
How kids entertain themselves, and for how long, will vary by age. But kids of any age can usually learn to play on their own for some amount of time, which will allow you to accomplish important tasks even when they’re awake.
Kids get sick. Cars break down. Clients reschedule. Life happens! So that’s why it’s important to have a go-to team that can help with childcare and/or business tasks, especially in the summer. Make a list of reliable friends, relatives, paid babysitters, and don’t forget a super duper Online Business Manager (that’s me!), who can have your back this summer. If you have small kids, it’s a good idea to always be on the lookout for good child care referrals. Schedule a few fun play dates for your kids or some paid babysitting time so that even when you’re kids are home all day you’ll be able to focus on the work you need to get done.
Many small business owners think they have to do it all on their own when it comes to their business and even childcare but you can’t be an expert at everything and you can’t be an octopus with eight arms. That’s ok! Remember that it’s wise to outsource, even during the early stages of your business because it can help you free up time to focus on what you’re best at—both at work and at home! Even if it's too late to sign your kids up for summer camp, grandma might be a great option that’s open all year round!
So don’t hesitate to reach out and start leveraging the power of community, and connect with other solopreneurs who also understand the dual struggles of running a business and being a parent, and how hard that gets when the kids are out of school. Maybe you could even share a babysitter from time to time. Connect on Facebook groups or even find communities on Meetup under entrepreneurship groups with a parenting focus.
Did you know that according to a survey conducted by the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship 59.7% of entrepreneurs had at least one child when they launched their first business? Yep, the majority of entrepreneurs are actually parents! That means, as a parent solopreneur, you’re far from alone!
So go ahead. Leave the dishes in the sink. Keep that laundry in the basket. Set aside those receipts to file later. Forgive yourself for losing your temper. No one is perfect, and you’ll drive yourself crazy if you hold yourself to a standard of perfection. It’s okay to ask for help, and you should!
If you must take your child with you to work or to a meeting, bring snacks and quiet toys, and don’t worry. You’re a solopreneur—you make your own rules.
One thing we don’t give children enough credit for is just how smart they can be. All children have a natural curiosity and a desire to learn. As an entrepreneur, you have an opportunity to show them first-hand just how passionate you are about your business and share that passion with them. And what better time to let your kids see the value of hard work than in the summer when they’re already free?
The simple act of involving them in what you do is bound to prompt hundreds if not thousands of curious questions. And you never know, it could even help you view your life’s work and your business from a fresh perspective! Now that’s a great summer activity!
Summer is fleeting (is it August already?!) and your kids will grow up too fast! Don’t let this opportunity to enjoy summer with your kids pass you by.
Do you have any other tips or tricks you use to find that perfect work-life balance during the summer? What about a funny mompreneur story? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
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