I work from a tiny studio in the corner of my home. While it has been great – I have the flexibility to work around the family’s activites, spend time with my kids whenever I want to and need to, there are times that I find it hard to actually juggle between running my business and raising family.
I learned a few things along the years, things that keep my sanity and keep the family happy.
Live for the present.
I used to keep thinking about work when I was with the children – and vice versa, I would feel bad when I plonked them in front of the TV to catch up some design work.
But then thought of the reason why I chose to work for myself: so I could spend time with the kids. Then I made the conscious decision to work when it is my working hours (between school drop off & school pick up) and knock off when I have the kids with me.
Of course, you really need to have the discipline to stick to your time management but it has really helped my work-life balance. I no longer yell at the kids while trying to work around them; and when I am with the kids, I am present and spend quality time with them.
Nomust-to-doare obviously some emergency situations when you still need to plonk the kids in front of the TV. For that I highly recommend Netflix!
Stick to your list
I live by to-do list. I have the top 5 must to-do each day, and the rest of the list are done as I go. But by adding it to the list, I have the accountability to actually finish them.
keep track of your time
By keeping track of your time you could see which tasks are taking longer than expected and you could find a solution on how to to maximise your time. I learned that all the bookkeeping has to be done first thing in the morning, otherwise once I start designing, I tend to keep going and neglect the business housekeeping.
Do not GET tempted to do housework when you are working
My Achilles heel is that I can’t work when the house is the mess, when there are washing to be done, dishes to be cleaned… the list goes on and on. By learning not to worry about them, I found that I normally tick off my list much faster.
Hire a bookkeeper, hire a cleaner if you could use that time more effectively making money. And don’t forget your other half. Raising family is a two-parent job. I try not to work on the weekend but if I have to, my husband normally takes the boy out to the park on the bikes and kick some balls.
The other day I also read in an article, which I think is a great idea especially when you have an online shop, to involve kids in work. Give them responsibilities to package the orders, take them to your errands to the post office, etc. Kids love to help, and it helps them to feel the responsibility.
Finally, when at work…
Don’t forget to take a break, go for a walk, and have lunch. This helps so much with your productivity (and creativity!)