Every 10 weeks or so another batch of school holidays roll around. In total they add up to around about 12 weeks – that’s a quarter of the year and far too long for most businesses to be able to simply close entirely every time. For mums in home based business this can be a challenging and frustrating time, trying to juggle fun activities, playdates, bored kids, extra housework, emails, orders and all kinds of deadlines.
So here are my top tips on how to put the fun back into holidays for you and your kids:
1. Plan your week
It’s supposed to be fun and a time for you to bond and reconnect with your kids, so make sure you’re not trying to work all day every day. Working around the clock isn’t a good idea, your kids want to spend time with you and they need to get outdoors with you and have fun. Try to plan an outing each day to prevent cabin fever. It can be as simple as a walk to the playground or the shops, but getting some fresh air is good for all of you. Plan time for working too, depending on your children’s age you can explain to them that you’ll be doing work between X and Y and then after that you’ll do something with them. I have a new baby as well as school aged kids so I work when the baby is asleep and then we all have together time while she’s awake. Of course there are times when I’m interrupted and they need me so I allow for this in my goals for the week.
2. Scale back
This isn’t a good time to launch a new campaign, product or project, wherever possible in your business you want to be doing less, while you have children around. So scale back your usual activities where you can. You are in charge so don’t let the business run you, you have to run the business. Decide which tasks you’ll leave till school goes back and just focus on the most essential things during this busy time.
As well as scaling back your activities you can also implement extra automation. Anything that you can do ahead and schedule to happen automatically is so much better for your business. Programs like hootsuite allow you to schedule your social media in advance and wordpress and blogger allow you to schedule blog posts as well. You can even schedule your newsletters.
3. Lower your expectations
It’s important that you’re realistic about what you can achieve when you have children home on holidays. You have less time and you’re likely to be more distracted too. It’s not helpful to put big expectations on yourself during busy times and it can just lead to increased stress, which doesn’t help anyone. It’s better to set one or two goals and achieve them than try to get through a long list of tasks and just becoming more and more frustrated at not achieving them. Set small achievable goals and celebrate by switching off once they’re done.
4. Under-promise & over deliver
If you’re dealing with clients, be honest and up front with them, you don’t have to tell them that you have school holidays happening but if you’re able to be flexible with your deadlines allow extra time in case you have a run of bad days. For example instead of promising to have a job done by Monday, say early next week or by Wednesday. You’ve given yourself a whole extra few days to achieve it and if it does happen to be done by Monday then it makes you look good.
5. Get up early
This is when I work best, I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but getting all of your goals done before everyone else is up leaves you free to spend the rest of the day as you please, and is a great way to be productive in school holidays. Research has shown that working late at night is not as good for you as getting up early and I always find this is true. It’s recommended that you try to get to bed by 11pm for the best night’s sleep.
How do you cope with the school holidays? Share your tips with us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.
I’m a night owl so my ‘get up early’ is ‘work again when the kids are in bed’, but not every night.. I need a break too!
In the school holidays it’s even more crucial to be organised with the work things that can be (eg when bills need to be paid by), so make sure your To Do list starts with what absolutely has to be completed that day, and move your deadlines earlier to avoid last minute pressure. Be flexible though with the things that can be moved .. my finances don’t always get wrangled on Tuesdays and my Inbox gets a little out of control instead of me being in it constantly.
Now my girls are a little older they understand that the downside of mum working sometimes in the holidays while they are at home is an acceptable tradeoff for me attending school functions and them not being in holiday care … though I do sometimes 4 weeks annual leave. But I love that your tips focus on how to make this lifestyle choice easier.
Great advice Sonia, being organised is even more important than usual in school holidays!
Fantastic advice! I particularly love over promise and under deliver.
This is a subject dear to my heart and I’ve actually just been blogging about it for my UK audience as our six week summer break is almost upon us. Some of my tips are the same but a few are different which your followers might be interested to read:
I’m also encouraging my ladies to ‘Choose Summer’ this year. Yes there will be some non-negotiable work that must happen to keep the business running but it’s such a special time of year to make memories with the little and not so little people, we need to make the most of it.