Running a business can be a handful at the best of times, though add babies and toddlers and it can be complete chaos!
Juggling motherhood and business can be as challenging as it is rewarding, so to help you enjoy the best of both worlds, here are five tips for managing business and babes while keeping your sanity intact.
1. Hang up those “great expectations”
When you are balancing business and family there is no room for perfection and high expectations. Managing multiple roles on both the home and business front you need to be realistic with what you can achieve each day.
The key is to become good at prioritising your time and tasks. Instead of working off a long and overwhelming to-do list, allocate yourself three to five core tasks each day and store the rest in a “would be nice to get done today” list. I also recommend keeping a daily “have done list” that shows every task you’ve done (even down to the loads of washing), so on those days where you’re beating yourself up about not ticking much off your to-do list, you’ll soon realise you’ve still accomplished a lot.
2. Know why you’re in business
When you balance family and business it’s important to know why you’re in business. Getting clarity on the ‘why’ will help you to be clear on your values and priorities and ensure your business decisions are in line with them.
For example, if you’re in business because you want the flexibility of being with your family while earning an income, then you may slow your business growth or focus on developing a high-leverage business model with passive income streams to ensure you still have plenty of time with your family.
3. Make your work flexible and portable
Running a business with little ones in tow tends to mean the usual 9-5 work arrangement just doesn’t happen.
Being able to sit at your desk for longer than 40 minutes at a time with little ones around is, well…a miracle, so don’t expect the usual 9-5 work arrangement to work. You will need to be flexible in your working hours, doing high concentration work potentially around naps and at night when you get a moment to yourself.
It’s also important to be able to work on the go. Being able to check and send emails, update social media, brainstorm ideas or take notes while you are out and the kids are happy and distracted can save you a lot of time and stress. So invest in a laptop or tablet PC, smart phone, cloud computing facilities and relevant apps to make your life easier.
To balance work and family effectively you need to look for ways to leverage your time, knowledge, money, influence, contacts and efforts, and those of others.
Always be on the lookout for leverage opportunities. A good start is to simplify and systemise your tasks to save time, look at what jobs you can outsource, form alliances and do joint marketing with other businesses, and work on passive income streams.
5. Manage your time wisely
As a mum in business time will always be your most limited resource. Finding enough time to meet deadlines, manage clients and run a business all the while fulfilling your roles as a wife, mother and housewife isn’t easy, in fact sometimes it’s downright impossible!
But by building little gaps of time into your schedule, you can give yourself breathing space should anything unforeseeable happen – and believe me it does. Clients run late, meetings run overtime, deadlines get moved up and kids get sick and fussy. When it happens, those time buffers become life savers. So add in extra time for travel in case of traffic, add extra time to the end of your meeting in case it runs late and always, always build in extra time with deadlines in case kids get sick.
When managing your time, it also helps to schedule specific times for each of your roles. A set time for playing and bonding with your kids, spending time with your partner, time for yourself, time for managing the house and of course time for your work. While it won’t always go to plan it will help you achieve more work/life balance.
Do you have any tips for managing business and family?