What are your best tips for juggling your business and parenthood?
First, Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there. Being a mom of two young kids myself, I am always looking for tips on how to better manage my time, particularly when it comes to balancing work and motherhood. I tend to always feel like I am behind or not doing even. I would really like to find a way to appreciate all my efforts and not be so hard on myself.
Hi Jen! Happy Mother's Day to you! My first piece of advice would be to stop striving for balance. Balance assumes that you can give all areas of your life equal attention. Instead try to build your business around your ideal life, rather than making your life fit around your business. Decide first what your top priorities are in your life. What are your goals within those priorities. Actionable steps include doing one good thing for yourself (like exercise, or an indulgent cup of coffee, or reading a good book) and one revenue generating activity before noon. Being hard on yourself is a state of mind, it's something you choose to do. But simply telling you to choose not to be hard on yourself is hard, I totally understand as a business owner and mom myself! But it is true, you must choose to be ok with slowing down. Simply decide on the 3 (or two or one) most important things that must get done that day, and only do those. Don't get distracted by email, internet surfing or the busy work that we mompreneurs have so much of. One more actionable piece of advice: make a master to-do list, categorize them, then prioritize them, set due dates for them, then break down each to-do into doable tasks (something you can finish in one hour or less) and put only three things on your to-do list for any given day. You will slowly but surely chip away at your goals until you achieve them, and you will maintain your sanity in the process! Best of luck!
My recommendation is to change the mindset of striving for work-life balance and thinking of it as work-life integration. For most of us entrepreneurs, work is a part of life, as is family. Forcing yourself to 'balance' work and family is going to cause strife and constantly pit the two (work and family) against one another.
I have been a father and entrepreneur for 10 years (a single dad for almost 7 of those years due to the loss of my wife to cancer). The most important part of my life is my son, so I always put him first. I work my business schedule around his schedule. Customers will come and go, but that school play isn't going to be re-scheduled because mom or dad has a business meeting.
I believe the key is to firmly stand by your priorities. If family is number one, it should always be number one. Your clients, co-workers, and co-founders will come to realize that you will ultimately put family over business. This isn't a bad thing and most of your customers and co-workers will respect you for it.
We are all different, but here's how I accomplish a happy work-life integration:
1. Stick to my priorities with family at the top
2. Keep a single task list based on what's absolutely needed to be done, this includes work tasks and personal/family tasks
3. Don't do something if it's not necessary
4. Put near-term tasks in my calendar - a single calendar
5. Have a buffer zone of time each day for unexpected things (i.e., don't try to accomplish too much on any given day, you'll always fall behind)
Here's a couple of articles on work-life integration:
You can also look up interviews with Tony Hsieh of Zappos who espouses work-life integration.
Monitoring, controlling and mitigating your day can help you to be more productive at reaching your goals.
Self discipline is not easy! However, take the challenge and overcome by creating a schedule and keeping to it. Order reduces chaos! So spend some time to think about what appointments you already have for the month. You can write them down or add them to a calendar such as in Microsoft Outlook or Google. Using electronic calendars is the best idea as you will receive reminders that will help you to keep on track with making sure your goals established.
Following these Three (3) basic steps to schedule your day will help you to achieve your goals.
Monitor Your Day
Keep track of major and minor obstacles that prevent you from staying on track by recording every appointment and task you perform on a regular basis. Keep track of daily, weekly, and monthly task that you normally perform.
Determine if you can make amendments to reduce time when exploring your current state of lifestyle. Once you have documented either in a manual planner or electronic planner, you can begin to work around they dates you have entered to see what time is available for you to make specific and achievable goals.
Control Your Day
Make a schedule and keep to it. Avoid making changes when you can. Schedule appointments that are made for you and that you make.
Be aware of things that make you inconsistent in your scheduling.
Make sound decisions when approached for appointments.
Keep track of your day electronically or manually in an appointment book or calendar.
Even though you have schedule events one month in advance, it does not hurt to look at the recordings at the end of the week to see if updates may be needed. You should also check the calendar at the beginning of each day before starting task so you do not miss anything. This will help you to avoid chaos and running into conflicts within the days you have already scheduled. Avoidance is always the best practice.
Mitigate Your Day
Before scheduling appointments look at your schedule to make sure you are not conflicting with your quality time.
Consider how you can eliminate or manage obstacles that may prevent you from fulfilling the schedule just as you have aligned it to be along the way.
Determine if there are any major or potential risk with times and dates you schedule.
Write each obstacle down and decide how you can overcome them. Don’t delay.
Happy Mother's Day. This is never an easy situation. (I wrote a blog post about it a couple of years ago in response to Anne-Marie Slaughter's article on "having it all" in the Atlantic: http://www.mimiran.com/can-you-have-it-all-of-course-not/.)
We all have 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, and a limited number of years. If you have a rich life with lots of interests, you'll want to do more than can fit in. Make the choices based on what's really right for you, not what you think "society" says you should do. It's easy to try to fit so much in that you don't appreciate or enjoy any of it. Especially with kids, just being physically "around" is not the same as being fully present.
I have a number of small business owner clients who have children, or have raised them, including my wife and me. As I think about all these people, here's what I see:
-- Have a spouse. (This includes gay couples with kids.)
-- Divide the duties. But both must be willing to take 100% responsibility
-- Both may work, or one can be stay-at-home. Either mom or dad.
-- Work with people who understand your situation. Employees, partners, customers, etc.
-- If a single parent, then there was always help. Grandmother, nannie, or somebody.
-- Enlist the kids' help as early as possible. Be straight with them that they need to pitch in and help for the sake of the family.
-- Set barriers between work and the rest. Keep your agreements with yourself and your family
-- Recognize that it can be a grind, and practice serenity.
It's the "Lean In" regimen for small operations.
Happy mother's day. You don't have to juggle anything when the right choices have been made. Working 9 to 5 jobs or whatever you call it is not family friendly. That's why I'm a strong advocate of working from home, running your own business. If you want financial, time and location freedom, then this is the way to go!
As a team leader with Strong Futures International SFI, I've had to raise my kids with the best things any parent could hope for for their children. No financial worries, working 2 hours or more from home and always with the kids receiving the attention they needed.
Happy Mother's Day!!! And let's not forget you ladies are not the only ones taking care of kids and running a biz. ;-)
My wife loves being a Speech Pathologist, therefore, I'm home with the kids most of the time (MWF to be exact). With a 3 year old and a 6 month old, it's been extremely tough and I found if I do these things in this order, it makes it easier:
2. Family & Friends that are like family.
To me, there's 24 hours in a day for all of us to accomplish these things. I'm a 6 hour sleeper on the dot so that helps, too. We sent the 3 year old to a montessori school this past summer from 9am to 12:30pm which is his fall/spring times too. The 6 month old naps during this time or is in her jumpy or sitting on my desk with her toys and I'll play with her while I work. She usually sleeps though so guess what? Almost 3.5 hours of work in, baby!!! ;-)
Due to the 6 hour sleep, I sometimes fall asleep early at night like around 9pm so I'm up way before anyone else. Sometimes I get 4 hours of work in before anyone is even awake since I'm up at 3am and they wake at 7am. Yay!
When our son gets home, we go to the park or whatever until his nap time at 2pm. He'll sleep until about 5pm and the 6 month old with go down during this time as well so that's another 3 hours. If you don't like math, that's almost an 8 hour work day (7 hours of work in). But we don't just work 8 hours now do we? 7 hours of naps, 8 hour work day and 6 hour sleep leaves another 3 hours for myself time or more work time. 10 hours I've managed to free up for the biz on those MWF days. My wife is home Tues and Thurs so I can either do my MWF schedule and spend time with all of them or utilize this full day for the biz.
I'm in no hurry as we're extremely good at what we do, and I know if I do get the office space and start building it like it wants to be built, I'll be working 12 hour days so my energy flows to the rest of the team, and we go BOOM!
However, I love #1 and #2, therefore, #3 has taken a backseat for the time being. We're result driven and I know without a doubt we can go BOOM since we do it to our partners that find us (don't want to get too busy now, do we?) Not at least until we're in elementary school.
I hope my little story helps everyone, and gives you some ideas on how to run both, Family and Biz. Good luck!
Parenthood first. I recommend you start listening to some productivity and time management podcasts, and check out Tim Ferris' book, the 4 Hour Work Week. He also does a podcast :)
Decided in 1960, when defining my Definite Major Purpose, I will always work from HOME. Therefore, I was mostly always around to help raise the children. Sometimes travel was nescessitated, but kept at minimal. When I did need offices, they were very close by, within walking distance.
Obviously when those choices are made one need to be realistic toward Income levels etc.
Best business was the Truck Farm, which provided opportunity for kids to be totally involved.
The beauty of being alive is WE can be in total control of our time and productivity and NOT be subject to societal pressures.
manage actions not time whether it be at home or at the workplace
make every interaction with family/ colleagues productive
take breaks and do nothing to get your cells rejuvenated.
give yourself a pat on the back rom time to time
Remember appreciation does not necessarily have to be verbal- appreciation could be silent too
Really well, at first of all you have kid, so there is lot of stuck in work time. But best idea is you have choose management kind of business. Its time free and tracking of job only
check out www.JenSlawSpeaks.com for juggling and balancing life
Try to figure out a way to remove any of this guilt...Do the best you can..."Elephants don't bite, its the flies and gnats that kill you.."
“Brother Yeap looked at the little ones who were full of voices and said, “We have children not to make an extra pair of hands, not to produce the next generation of hungry mouths or scampering little feet but to achieve the penultimate function of life: becoming an expert emotional juggler and star actor or ‘World’s Best Dad’. If you get this on a mug your kids painted and fired over at the mall, you’re doing too little”
Excerpt From: C. K. Yap. “The Analects of Elder Brother Yeap: Sutras in Modern Speak for the Mentally Ill.” iBooks.
My businesses is part of my family because it helps me provide and care for them. If I keep that in perspective then I know that I have both aspects of my life in balance.
Answer is dead easy.
If you want your career to come first: do not become a parent. It is you childred that suffer in the long-term, while you strutt around like a frsutrated pheasant trying to impress people that you can "multi-task". If you can't handle raising a family and working at the same time, marry a rich bloke who can make up for the financial short-fall.
If you can't, then don't have kids. I get P**sed of with mums who claim that they have to extra days of becuase their little one needs to be looked for a runny nose, or other (slgihtly) more serious family issues. That is the "risk" you and your partner take when you start a family. If you can't afford it: don't do it.
I worked of a large PLC back in the 1980s who had a near partity of men, to women workers. Women were the better time keepers; however their "compassionate leave", over and above their general and annual sick leave out-ranked everyonelse.
I feel sorry for very small children in particular (1-5 years old) who are not brought up by the mother as she feels her career means more to her. I acknowledge that some men are bstds and will leave some girls (and that is usally 17-25 year olds) up a gum tree, mainly because (usually the male) have not the emotional and psychiatric maturity to raise a family.
Sorry girls, but you can't have it both ways either:
1.Start a family and dedicate yourself to the childrem,and ensure that your "hubby" can
raise suffuient income to keep you all safe.
2. Don't get married, have children and then expect the Sate to bail you out; cancel or
your dreams of "super-mum", and then cry in your beer when it goes wrong.
I know that it is expensive to raise children, particularly the peeer pressure they are under today, but if you can't afford it, don't do it. That also includes all immigrants who thing that they can come to the UK, and expect Nanny State to do everything for them.
Sorry, but see and heard too much of it, and getting Pi**sed off with women and forein nationals screaming DISCRIMINATION ! It was your choice, and you take the consequences.
in my experience you may be comenting that because you seek excelence and seek excelence, I know the feeling : )
Since there are numerous tasks/activities that must be completed to meet the need of both family and business, it is necessary to prioritize and select the most important event/activity to address family needs and complete the same prioritization process for business tasks with revenue generation as the focus. Then carefully and thoughtfully plug each activity into an assigned slot in your daily schedule to cover your entire week of activity making sure that you allow for mental, physical and spiritual recuperative time in the schedule. The daily schedule should also allow a nominal period of time which could be used flexibly for yourself or to help others.
Dear Jen, as a senior parent let me give you my pice of advice from a mother's perspective.
1.Never, ever, be discouraged about the importtance of you work. No matter what man say about the subject, keep on working.
2. work close from home and organize children's activities close to home.
3. Be always truthful to you kids and you'll together cope with all difficult moments, believe me, there will be a lot of them. They must know your limits and how to deal with the difficulties that a working mother goes through.
4. When with your kids, be 100% with them, does not matter if it is less time than you'd like to.