Whether you are juggling kids, carpools, moody teenagers, or all full time job on top of your business, it can be hard to make time for YOU. Not only do I look forward to my uninterrupted “work time” because it’s essential for my business, I also map out my weekly errands and “me time” based on when I have childcare. Squeezing everything into my planned work days can be difficult, but I’ve learned a few things over the past four years that make it easier to get things done. Keep reading for my 10 tips to make more time for your business, or for individual coaching and advice contact Inspire Business Community today!
1. Find a Sitter You Trust Whether you need a few hours here or there or you want to arrange a regular sitter so you have a “work day” each week, it’s so important to plan your childcare ahead of time. Knowing that’s been taken care of is like a mental weight off your shoulders. Before you plan your childcare, think about what’s easier for you – do you want to take your kids somewhere, or have someone come to you? I highly recommend the come to you option as it can save you a ton of time. Start by asking around, or if money is an issue see if you can “swap” with a friend where you watch her kids one day, in exchange for her watching yours. If money is in the budget for extra help, I recommend Three Strands LLC.
2. Leave a List for Your Sitter Whether your babysitter is grandma, a friend, or a highly recommended sitter, knowing that your kids in good hands is one thing – but knowing your home is in good hands is another! When my childcare time is limited, I don’t want to waste hours grocery shopping or stress about preparing dinner later. Instead, I leave a short list for my sitter. It typically includes simple dinner prep, or I might ask our helper to do some laundry while my kids nap. She also takes care of ordering our groceries with the Instacart app. Time saved on these tasks means less stress, more time for work, and more time for my kids when I get home.
3. Plan Where You’ll Work If your goal is to maximize your work time, think ahead about where you can do your best work. Maybe that’s a coffee shop, or if you’re local, I invite you to checkout the Inspire Business Community Co-Working Space. I love that I can bring my own food and the coffee is free so it saves me $$.
4. Make a List of What You Have to Work On Whether it’s a day full of bills, blogs or client calls, make a list so you can get started right away. The last thing you want is to waste your precious childcare time. What you have to work on might also change where you work. If you have calls to make and need quiet time, the coworking space is ideal, v a noisy coffee shop.
5. Hire a Cleaning Service Do you feel like in your only “downtime” you have to tidy up your house or you should be catching up on laundry and vacuuming? I used to feel like this and it took me forever to get used to the idea of simply leaving to work on my business. I remember feeling downright guilty when I first created my work schedule and left the house each Mon/Weds. If it was a mess it was hard for me to leave and work on anything, knowing I “should” be using my time to get things cleaned up. I Well, after getting some help around the house, I no longer feel this way. In fact, the words that come to mind are relieved, free, less stressed out, and empowered.
6. Create a Realistic Schedule If you have help around the house and you’re happy with your childcare situation, sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring out what schedule works best for you! If you have childcare in the mornings, but your clients typically want to meet in the afternoon, you might need to make some adjustments. My clients are usually flexible, but I find that I am not an early morning person. I prefer to use my first hour or so for errands and then settle into my office by 10 or 11.
7. Plan Weekly Dinners Ahead of Time On “work days” it can be stressful to figure out dinner. Not only do I ask my sitter to preheat my oven and get things started, I plan in advance what we’re going to eat each week so I know that on my busy days, dinner is easy. And sometimes that means we plan in advance to eat out if it’s in the budget.
8. Get Help with Yard Work During the spring and summer months, yard work can feel just as daunting as housework. I can feel really guilty leaving to get some “me time” or work on my business when my yard is a mess and there are “a million” things to do! This is another area it might be good to delegate. Maybe that’s hiring a neighbor to mow your grass, or offering to pay a teenager to pull your weeds. If it’s in your budget and your lawn requires it, hire a professional to keep things looking tidy! You’ll be amazed at how much better you can focus on your work when these little things are taken care of.
9. Put Your Kids to Work Whether it’s a nightly struggling to pick up toys that leaves you exhausted, or it’s the morning hassle to get everyone out the door on time, if your kids are old enough to do some basic chores – start asking them to pitch in. My oldest child is 4 and my youngest is 2 ½. They can’t do much, but they can help and it’s made a big difference in our daily routine. My 4 year old is in charge of our pets and it’s her job to feed them in the morning and again at dinner time. My youngest is responsible for making sure her shoes and coat get to the coat rack and the mudroom at the end of the day. They are also expected to help pick up toys and collect their random sippy cups and water bottles from around the house before bed time. By 4, my oldest is also great at putting her shoes and coat on in the mornings to help us leave the house a bit quicker. Being able to count on my kiddos for help makes my life easier and allows me to focus on my work during naptimes, instead of using that time for cleanup.
10. Get Your Spouse On Board When I first asked for childcare as a stay at home mom, my husband didn’t understand. But now that he’s seen my business grow, he is 100% supportive and it was his idea to get a cleaning person. If your spouse isn’t on board yet, talk to them about how important your business or your passion project truly is. Let him know that less household stress will also mean more time for him! And I should have included spouses in #9… If your hubby isn’t helping with toy pickup, pets and other household responsibilities, he should be.
Running a business and a family is hard work. They say “it takes a village” to raise children and the same is true for growing your business. It requires everyone to pitch in and over time, you’ll find that small changes can have big rewards. Your kids will respect your “work time” and your hubby will admire your hard work. Not to mention the stress you can avoid when you simply plan ahead and make your business a top priority!