Blend and Balance

Blend and Balance

For most business owners who are parents to school-age children will be juggling hot potatoes this week, as its half-term. Personally I don’t mind this one as its only a week and it’s easy to flit between the two. Its Easter I am not a fan of, its long with bank holidays and the endless need to have been doing everything.

My kids get bored, they love the week holidays as it’s a little break but the Easter one they get bored, the summer holidays are a very different kettle of fish (where did that saying come from?)

How to manage

Not everyone has the luxury of having family around or nearby, so holidays can be a real juggling act and the sense of guilt, see there is that word again, its an emotion I am working so hard on dispelling for as many parents in business as I physically can, we need to banish guilt, and find a way of making running our business and school holidays work for us.

I blend…………. Not as in Nutribullet kind of blend, but I blend my time between business, children and both. It has taken some time for me to find the right balance and formula so here are my tips on getting through the half-term minus the guilt and truckload of stress!

My Tips for getting through the holidays

Set your intentions – this is the most important step, you need to be realistic with this if you normally work Monday – Friday 9 am to 3.30 pm without the children, then you need to set your intentions knowing that you will have company, take into consideration their ages, are you going to be able to still work those hours?

My two are 7 & 11, they are at that age now where I can do blocks of time uninterrupted, but I know as soon as I jump on a call or do a video war breaks out, so I avoid those tasks until I have business time.

So be realistic, you know that you will not get that normal time, so don’t fight it.

Grab a cuppa and your diary – spend 10 mins looking at your diary, seeing what you have going on, if you know that you have a call on Wednesday then make sure you make that day a business day and work your other days around that, so pick that one thing that HAS to be done and get that planned in and work the rest of your week around that one important task.

For me I know I have a call Monday afternoon, and I have a call Wednesday morning, so I have those days as business days, and the others are blended.

Blend – so when I say blend it’s using your day to please both, so an example of this could be AM family time, watch a film, play games, go for a walk, PM work time, but pick tasks that will only take small snippets of time, save the big tasks for your business days, don’t put big tasks in because if you get interrupted you’ll get frustrated and annoyed and start feeling stuck and guilty.

So, you could schedule some posts, source some images for your blog or newsletter, respond to posts or emails. But blend without GUILT.

Business days these are the days where you get shi!t did! Use these for your full-on tasks, those that you need concentration on, those that you know you can’t do when the children are home, so make sure you use that time wisely, and oddly I get so much more done when I have set time when I know that these things need doing without fail.

Enjoy – we need to remember our children are only small and at school for a really short period of time in the grand scheme of things, so be flexible, be realistic, enjoy your blended time, enjoy those days where you have blocked out to play mum or dad, and DON’T beat yourself up if things go awry!

Half-Term SOS  If you still find that the juggling is too much then you can use my specifically designed package to assist you, you can find out more HERE

I use this process for all of the holidays, it makes for a less stressful time, now I need a process to stop my two arguing…………..any suggestions? I am thinking double-sided Velcro and sticking them to the wall.

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Get Your Biz Sorted for Summer

Get your biz sorted for summer

Here we are just a few short weeks away till the kids break up for their annual 6 weeks summer leave, those that have the employed life will panic over who will have the kids and how much will it cost.

Whilst most self-employed business owners fret over the other side of the coin, not only the same ‘who will have the kids’ and ‘how much will it cost’ but also ‘can I afford to take time off this year’ not just financially but logically with all your work.

That is why I am running my series ‘Get your biz sorted for summer’ over the next few weeks I want to share with you hints and tips on how to get yourself prepared for taking time off, and NOT feeling guilty for doing so, lets face it we have all manners of guilt going on.

Identifying your Time-Wasters

We  all have them, every job I have had, whether its in the days of employment or since running my own business, there are always  ‘those’ tasks that just zap time like Pacman eating those yellow dots!

So what are yours? I asked this very question over on my Facebook Page this week, what would be on the top of your list?

Identifying those time-wasters or time-consuming tasks is key to moving forward, once we find what they are we can start making changes and helping you get some well earned time off over the holidays.

You don't have to touch every task in business

We have this notion that everything in our business, we have to do, and when we realise that it’s not the case, we still fight it, we still fight to ask for help, why? 

The problem is we have got so used to doing everything due to there being no-one else in your business to do it for you, so you have just plodded on, but as the business has grown, the workload has increased you are starting to feel the pressure. 

And this is when I get my torch and shine a very bright light on the fact you DON’T have to do everything in your business, and you DON’T have to touch every task either!

Sounds bonkers right! but it’s true, let’s take social media, yes you write your content, but that’s it! you could have someone else source the imagery, edit the content, make sure grammar and spelling is correct, schedule it onto whichever platform! 

Mind blown yet?

Stick with me over the next few weeks, I am not promising a full 2 weeks off fully paid holiday, but I am hoping to help you offset, add in processes and shift things around to help you carve out some precious time with the family, whether its a block of time or days here and there.

I want to be able to help you have some guilt-free time off from the business and come back feeling happy and refreshed ready for the last run of the year. 

Staying Sane On Social Media This Summer

Guest Blog - Beckie Coupe - Infinity Digital

As a self-employed business owner, taking time off can be daunting at the best of times.  You may worry that your business will grind to a halt without you at the helm, that you’ll lose the momentum you have worked so hard to build, that disaster will strike and you won’t be there to put the fire out and, on top of all that, you feel guilty for enjoying time off when you “should” be working.

I’ve had all of these worries and more and it’s taken me a good few years to truly appreciate that time off – and I mean real time away from your business with the opportunity to unplug entirely – is absolutely essential to both our wellbeing and our success in business.

Read more

Surviving the school holidays!

Surviving the school holidaysIf you are a parent then you know the school holidays are coming around FAST, those that have children and run a business know that this can be one of the most stressful times of the year!

We are aware that our families are probably one of the reasons why we started our businesses, but equally, we know that if we don’t work then we don’t get paid, which that is a concept that some children just don’t understand!
They see mum or dad at home which to them equals family fun time!

So, what do you do? I hear you sigh 

Last year was probably my most successful summer holidays with my children, I removed the pressure from my shoulders and reminded myself why I am doing my business and that my children are small for such a short period of time.


I follow a lady called Claire Mitchell of The Girls Mean Business, and last year she published a book dedicated to surviving the school holiday. Not all of it was relevant to me, and necessarily be helpful to me in my business or with my children, so I had to adapt and learn as I went through the 6 weeks, and I can honestly say, that come September when my children went back to school, I didn’t feel as frazzled as previous years.

What did I do so differently?

Most of my clients are family orientated, so I could let them know that I was still available during the school holidays, but made some changes:

  • I spoke with my children and set a rota, so for an example,  Monday AM I was working, clearing any weekend enquiries, and schedule in my social media for the week. Then Monday PM I would take them out to a park or something fun, this would happen throughout the week. It gave them something to look forward to and I got to tick a few things off my list.
  • My reply time changed from within an hour to the same day response. If I had a message come in just as I went out with the children it gave me some breathing space knowing I could still have fun and reply when I got back to the office.
  • Soft Play! This was a great one for us, it gave my children that time to run off steam and have fun, and I could sit there with a coffee and laptop and work, that was a great compromise, and will be doing that again this year.
  • Park trips, this one was quite useful for me, as it meant I could get away from my laptop yet still get some work done, I found I was able to sit and write or come up with topics for my posts and blogs etc
  • Logging on when they went to bed, this one goes against most of my ethics really, I tend to have one late night a week, but I did allow myself to log on once or twice a week in the evening to clear things and get back to people should they have messaged me. But again, I was strict!

These were just a few of the slight changes I made last year, it was all about compromising with the children, and myself, I also learnt how to manage my expectations on what I can and what I wanted to get done, luckily my children are at that age now where when they see me in my office ‘mummy is working’.

I plan to do the same this year, we will sit down and work out a rota for time with the family and time for work, this will be put in place a week or so before they pack up from school, giving them time to get used to the rota.

Work-life balance is hard to achieve but you can do it, you need to compromise with yourself and cut yourself some slack too. This is your dream, you have been building your business for some time don’t let school holiday break you.

Remember, you can outsource too, there is no shame in having a VA on hand to help you out either regularly or through holidays, this option does give you that peace of mind and free up some time, it’s one less ball to have to juggle.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things, why not have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss outsourcing and how I can help you gain back sometime during your week.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

11 Things to ask your Virtual Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

Hope to chat with you soon

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