Summer is here!
School is done and the kids are home.
The kids are home.
All the time…
Wanting you to cook for them… Resolve petty disputes… Asking questions…
All the time.
In order to effectively run your virtual business, you’re going to need to develop strategies to deal with your kids (especially middle to high school aged kids). Here are some ideas:
1. Camps — Obviously, having them out of the house is the easiest way to continue running your business. It’s unlikely that they would attend a camp for everyday of the summer. Also, they can be expensive. But having a camp or two will give you a long block of time (usually from 9–3) in order to crush your task list. Churches, recreation centers, even schools offer reasonably priced camps. Plus your kids will get to spend time with their friends, do sports, crafts — creating nice summer memories.
2. Classes — tennis lessons or swimming lessons can often give you a 1 or 2 hour block of time. You may just have to be mobile. It’s great if it’s 2–3 times per week — which allows you to plan some key tasks during these quiet times.
3. Community Service Activities — Most school districts now require student service learning (SSL) hours (or some such similar name). Kids can now be camp counselors, or participate in community projects in order to earn a certain number of SSL hours. While most are not all day, many are for several hours — which would give you a block of time to work.
4. Play dates — Your kids love to go to their friend’s house. Though, it sometimes can be challenging because you’re not really able to reciprocate (though maybe if you’re children are entertained they won’t bother you). Or maybe you can switch with another friend — to give each one of you a block of time. Some parents love having their children’s friends over as it helps occupy their own children — so they can complete tasks around the house. Find one of those people and befriend them!
5. Babysitters/Nanny — obviously it’s great to have someone watching them. I definitely recommend using them for important phone calls, meetings, webinars, etc. Though long-term it may seem expensive, is there really a price on your sanity?
6. Schedule for your kids — since your kids are older, they can have their own schedule. So maybe they wake up, clean their room, practice individually for their sport, practice musical instrument, practice Spanish, use computer for math lessons, etc. Have them create a list on their phone with an app — it will make it more fun for them to track. If their time is scheduled, it gives you more predictability for your business. They will still be at home, but they’re old enough to understand when they can disturb you, and when they have to be quiet.
7. Be super organized — This goes without saying, but you will need to be at the top of your game. If you are organized and focused, you should be able to accomplish some tasks every day. Using something like the Pomodoro technique (essentially 25 minutes of focused work and five minutes of a break) may help you finish larger amounts of work. Also being diligent about writing down all your tasks, phone calls, even pickups and drop offs at camp — will go a long way to helping you remember all the things to do. I also recommend reviewing your list the night before, and preparing everything — so that you’re ready to go first thing in the morning. (Any task/calendaring/productivity app will do — Trello, Asana, Nozbe, Todoist, Wunderlist, Sunrise, Evernote, etc. The key is that you actually use it every day!)
8. Virtual Assistant — It may be time to outsource some of your tasks to a virtual assistant, or bookkeeper, or social media assistant, so that you can focus on the big items in your business. It takes a little time to train them and make sure you’re a good match — so plan ahead.
9. Wake up early or stay up late — There are some tasks that may require a quiet, focused block of time. You may have to adjust your schedule to accommodate your work. Don’t try to wake up 2 hours earlier in one try. Instead, you may have to slowly adjust your wake up time — try 15 minutes earlier everyday. This method will help make it a lasting change. (Check out Zenhabits.net and Lifehack.org for tips on becoming an early riser.)
10. Pare down your business in the summer — Maybe you can work less, not take on any more projects, in order to give you a little more free time and flexibility. Don’t have any big launches. Learn to say “No” to new opportunities or extra work (See Zenhabits.net or MichaelHyatt.com). Instead focus on being consistent in your business — writing blog posts, scheduling social media posts, etc. — discrete tasks. It will make your business more consistent to give you some time to relax.
11. Be realistic — You have to be realistic during the summer months. When you’re on your own, you probably can move mountains. In the summer…not so much. You need to give yourself permission to reschedule tasks, take longer breaks, and actually have a little fun this summer with your kids. Things may take longer to get done, and that’s okay.
Planning for the summer is the best path to success. You’ll still have challenging times, but minimizing them is the key.
We can win the summer!
What strategies do you use during the summer?
Do you struggle with working on your business and finding time for your kids in the summer?
Join my free Summer Planning Webinar for Mom Entrepreneurs to learn how to plan to have a fun and successful summer!