This is a story about how one Easter holiday turned out to be a decision maker for how I manage my business in the school holidays.
For past school holidays, I made a concerted effort to make sure I did my client work in advance. My own rules are that I don’t work when the kids are around. They get cross, I get stressed, it’s a lose-lose result.
But this time, I thought I would wing it. I had a couple of options for some mornings to work and I would just do the rest in the evening and still have the time off.
Big mistake #1
In fact, what happened was my Mum came to stay unexpectedly. My plans of working in the mornings and evenings went out the window straight away. I didn't feel like I could commit to a whole evening in the office with her sitting alone in another room. So, I made the mistake of thinking I would be able to do some work each evening to manage it.
Big Mistake #2
When I did go to work, I ended up getting caught up with Facebook, emails (relaxing, procrastinating...) AND doing client work. By the end of the first week I seemed to have been in the office every single night for hours. I felt tired, guilty and fed up.
So what did I learn? How can you manage school holidays so that your business doesn't become your enemy when your kids are off school?
Here are 7 ways to defeat them.
1. Don’t think you can wing it!
You don’t know what will happen over the holidays. Sick children, unexpected visitors, business emergencies – fighting fires and juggling family doesn’t work. Although we all manage this throughout the year, school holidays always seem worse no matter how prepared we feel!
2. Take a Break.
Plan in advance for the holiday period coming up and prepare to rest – we all need to be present with our kids but also use the enforced break to have a break ourselves. Do work before the holidays. Set times to do work in the holidays without the children if possible.
3. Set boundaries with your clients.
Manage their expectations of when you will be available and when, if appropriate, you will be able to do their work.
4. Take a Social Media holiday.
Tell everyone on social media that you will be having a well earned break too. Schedule your social media posts. Make a deal that you will only check things when the kids are in bed so that you’re not hanging off your phone all day (and don’t let it suck the whole evening either!).
5. Don’t be glued to your emails.
Have an out of office on your emails to inform anyone who sends an enquiry when you are checking emails and realistic timescales of when you will reply. It takes the pressure off you too to be checking every ping of your emails on your phone (turn that off by the way!!)
6. Outsource for the holidays.
Are there things that you can outsource, even just for the period of the holidays? Then do it so that you know things are running smoothly behind the scenes.
7. Make wonderful plans to enjoy your time off with your family.
After all this is why we are doing it – to enjoy this time while we can. It makes me remember my WHY, even if I still can’t wait for the holidays to end!!! So when the next holidays hit, don’t let the fact the kids are off turn your business into your enemy! They need to be allies and support each other.
Did you put plans in place or find yourself stressed over the holidays? I’d love to know if there are any other tips you have to managing kids + business, pop a comment below.