It has been a long time since I last blogged. Life has happened.
Apart from being very busy in the business side of things (that’s a good thing, isn’t it?) we have had some family things unexpectedly come up in the last couple of months that has made me drop some of the balls I juggle in the air, this blog being one of them.
A death in the family, three birthdays (myself and my two children), and a sick child requiring hospital visits have all conspired to make me ask the eternal question of entrepreneurial mothers: how do you balance business and family?
I wish there was an easy answer. A magic bullet. A formula to get your life on track to be the super-mum who can do everything all at once to the best standards.
But the truth is, that doesn’t exist. We each muddle through in our own way, finding our own path to some semblance of “balance”.
In the last couple of months though, I have found some little techniques, thoughts and routines that have helped me keep my business ticking over while still being there for my family.
- THIS TOO SHALL PASS – my daily mantra. The biggest piece of key advice any mum, in business or not, should have.
- Try to be with the kids when they’re awake. Work when they’re asleep. Personally, I do all computer-based work during day naps and all my creating at night after the kids have gone to bed.
- Expect late nights. As much as you may not want to admit it, sometimes a post-midnight bedtime will be required just to get stuff done.
- Schedule your time. I have a sort of timetable written up and stuck right at eye level in my work space so I see it all the time. It outlines my house and business work to be done each day during the week. For example, on Tuesdays I vacuum and mop, wash my son’s clothes, do my professional development readings and courses or research new product ideas and supplies, and make jewellery in the evening. I am writing this post on a Friday because Friday is my blog-writing day. Each day has its own housework task and its own element of business to be taken care of. I may not always follow it but if I sit down at my desk and think “What should I do?” a quick reference to my timetable gives me direction so I don’t waste time faffing on Pinterest or Facebook!
- Schedule family time, time with your partner and time on your own! In my experience, if it’s not written down, it doesn’t happen. Plan it. Write it on the calendar or To Do List. Make it a date.
- Schedule your Facebook posts. It’s a nifty little feature, so use it! If you can gather yourself to be organised, sit down and schedule a mix of photo and plain text posts on your Facebook page over the weekend or any time you will be away so you still have an active social media presence without having to be constantly on the computer or “doing work” on your phone. Knowing that this is taken care of can release your mind to focus on your family or wherever you need to be in that moment. If you don’t know how to do it, learn here.
- Get support. Try to surround yourself with people who understand you and what you are trying to do. I am part of some fantastic business groups via Facebook where we are all in the same position of being mums trying to make a small handmade-based business work. Working from home is isolating and you can often feel like you are not doing the right thing as there is nobody to affirm that you are doing a great job. Venting and using like-minded groups as sounding boards has allowed me to feel like I am not failing, that I am doing a good job, and that I AM NOT ALONE!!!!! We all need community. Find one!
- Admit and come to terms with the fact that there will be days where it all goes to hell in a handbasket. You’ll have “one of those days” with the kids. You’ll get rejections in your business. There will be times when you don’t make a sale. It’s hard. I know. My solution is chocolate, coffee and at the end of the day sometimes a wine….and more chocolate. But (and I need to take my own advice here) tomorrow is a new day so try not to beat yourself up about the challenges of today. It will get better.
So, there are just a few of my thoughts on this whole balancing act that many of us are doing. They work (most of the time) for me. They might work for you too. the thing to remember is that we are all different, we have different strengths and weaknesses and so the tools that work best will be different for each of us.
I, by no means, am an expert. There are days where nothing gets done or when I feel my biggest achievement of the day is getting dressed before midday. And that’s ok too. It all balances out in the long run.