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10 Work-Life Balance Tips For The Business Owner/Mom
Work-Life Balance, What is it Really
Is work-life balance achievable for mothers? Committing time to both, your career and your personal life commitments may seem impossible. We’re here to tell you it’s absolutely possible. First, though, you must understand that balance in life is an ongoing process. Look at it as a holistic lifestyle that takes a certain level of commitment and planning ahead. Planning ahead allows you to see the big picture and commitment will allow you to be consistent.
The real issue with the working mom’s view of work-life balance is we believe that it is a state that MUST be sustained at all times. We may also believe that if we are unable to maintain this balance at all times then we have failed. Fortunately for you though, this is not true. You should aspire to be consistent in managing your time commitments much more often than not. Being consistent all of the time is IMPOSSIBLE. Expecting to maintain work-life balance at all times is the best way to give up and start feeling like you’ve failed.
For most folks, “LIFE HAPPENS”. Though, for the Mom/Business Owner, life doesn’t just “happen” every day. Why??? because we make an effort to plan ahead and manage our time well. Yes, there are those days when you may have to work late. There are also those days when you may have to leave work early. Having to occasionally disrupt your personal time for a business-related event or disrupt your workday for a personal situation does not mean that you have failed. It just means that life happens.
Below we discuss some of the ways that we can better maintain work-life balance much more often than not.
Be A Pivot-Master
The best way to deal with the types of disruptions mentioned above is to follow through with any commitment that you’ve dropped due to the disruptions. Remember that each time you get a new responsibility or have some sort of disruption you will have to pivot. This means you’ll need to make an adjustment to your intended plan. This is fine don’t panic, we’ve got a solution that may help.
Make technology work for you
There exist a mobile and desktop app that makes pivoting a lot easier. When pivoting, there are two questions that normally come to mind. What do I still need to do today to stay in line with my deadlines? and How will I get them done? Trello can make pivoting a lot easier in this case.
In Trello, you’ll find all of the tasks that you are supposed to complete, organized by priority. This sort of task management system allows you to have a clear picture of which tasks still need to be resolved so that you can easily pick up where you left off when time allows. It will show you what you’ve completed and which issues still need to be resolved, making it easy to pick up right where you left off. Check it out.
You’ll notice that this tool is used mostly for business teams. However, it can be used for both families and professional teams. It very flexible and has 100s of integrations with other apps like Outlook and other Google products. Want to integrate your personal and work calendar to prevent clients from booking appointments at the same time as your child’s dentist appointment? Trello can do that!
Professional Use Case
Personal Use Case
Let the Guilt Go Away
It is pretty common for working mothers to feel the guilt associated with having to leave their children behind while they go off to work. Even if you’ve found the best daycare in the city or you’re lucky enough to leave your child with a family member whom you trust 100%. The guilt may still be there. Long hours can make this absence and guilt-trip even more difficult.
Guilt, or being in a state of mind that is filled with guilt is not good for anyone, not you, your team members who depend on you, your customers or even your child for that matter. If you are going about your day, performing your daily business tasks with a cloud of guilt floating over you at all times, are you at your best? Is your business in the good hands of a cleared-minded person (you) who is focused on growing and improving the business? Likely, no. So let it go! Guilt does no one any good, it serves no purpose.
Rather than going about your day with a cloud of guilt, get focused, be organized and set boundaries. Think about what tasks are a priority for you. What do you absolutely have to get done today? What can wait until tomorrow or the next day? Don’t try to cram too much work into one day, this will help you decrease the number of hours that you are working each day.
Consider your work hours, ideally, 8 to 9 hours is a normal workday for anyone, business owner or not. Align your work hours with a normal business day like 8 am to 5 pm or 7 am to 3 pm. This is your way of setting boundaries around your personal time and working hours.
Get a Great Childcare Service
Truly one of the most difficult things to do it seems is to actually find good AND affordable childcare services. Depending on the state in which you reside, childcare can range in price from $600 per month to as high as $1600+ per month. As a small business owner, you’ve got expenses on top of expenses and the last thing you need is to incur an expense upwards of $1600/month. This, however, is one of those decisions that can not be made by considering cost alone. Quality of care should be your #1 priority, so you may have to grit-and-bare the burden of high-cost childcare.
In order to find out the best available option, you should first ask your family, friends, and colleagues for references to daycares, pre-k schooling, or even private sitters. Getting recommendations from those whom you know well is a much better approach than relying on online reviews or even localized social media Mommy groups.
Make Your Mornings & Night Easy
Well, planned mornings and nights are probably the two most essential components of your work-life balance lifestyle. Planning ahead when it comes to meals, bath time, bed-time, prepping clothes the night before and of course blocking out some time for prayer, meditation, relaxation, and exercise will contribute to a better quality of life and healthier mental and physical health state.
Meal prep for breakfast and/or dinner. There are plenty of ways to do this…even if you’re not a good cook.
One way is to use a weekly or monthly meals menu. If you have hectic mornings, try these make-ahead meal options for breakfast. SEE HERE Believe it or not, in most cases dinner can prepare itself these days. With automatic start/stop ovens and slow cookers, you can make virtually anything from mac-n-cheese in a slow cooker to the world’s most tender pot roast. SEE HERE
Pack backpacks and lunches for school the night before when all family members are home and can help with the preparation. You will be surprised to find how smooth the morning will go when you complete morning tasks at night when your spouse and children are home and can help.
Make a Flexible Work and Family Calendar
Events, activites, clubs and more. Kids, today have very active lives. Unlike the generations before, children depend heavily on parents to get them to and from a lot of these activities. It may seem like your life as a mom/business owner just never stops. If it’s not a business function you’re attending, it’s a child’s activity. Your days are beyond full. Staying organized may feel impossible but anything is possible when you’ve got a good plan.
One of the best tools to create a family/business calendar is to use the Planyway Calendar that integrates with Trello. See Trello link above. With this calendar, you can link your outlook calendar, google calendar, even the booking system that exists on many company websites can be linked to this one calendar.
This helps for many reasons, for example, let’s say a site visitor books a consultation or spa appointment on your website. If your booking calendar is linked to your outlook or google calendar then all of these appointments will show up on one Planyway calendar. If you have an awesome booking calendar like the one we use from Hubspot, everything is integrated into the one Planyway Calendar. When you’ve blocked out some time for your child’s dentist appointment on your Outlook or Google calendar then this time will automatically be blocked out on your Planyway and website booking calendar. This way, customers and site visitors can not schedule a time to meet with you during the same time as your kid’s dentist appointment.
Talk To Your Business Partner & Team Members
Be open with your business partner about what he/she can expect from you on a weekly basis. It is best to have a weekly round-up meeting with your partner and team members. Everyone, not just you, should make everyone else aware of any upcoming personal appointments or commitments that you will have for the coming weeks. This is the best way to make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page and has the same expectations as it relates to your availability.
Have a backup person
Things come up that you don’t plan for, that’s understandable. Having a company-wide plan for this as well will help. What are the protocols if you or another team member has to leave work early due to an emergency? Who needs to be notified? Who is responsible for handling your meetings and/or tasks in your absence? A plan of this sort will help you to feel more secure with leaving when and/if a family emergency comes up.
Connect With The Kids While You Work
Today, technology has made it much easier for moms who are running a business to connect with their kids in so many ways. Face-time, Google duo and other kid-friendly applications can make it easy for you to connect with your kids anywhere. Let’s say it’s homework time and your child needs your help with an assignment but your day at the office is a little longer than you expected. Talking through the assignment over video chat can give your child the feeling of having your presence and support even if you can’t be there physically.
Older children may even enjoy coming by the office during the summer-time, or no school days to help out. Need some papers copied? There’s a kid for that. Need someone to greet guests as they enter your boutique? There’s a kid for that. In some situations, depending on the age of the child, you may even be able to hire and pay your child for his/her time.
Driveaway The Distractions
Distractions, the word is used so much more today because we are inundated with distractions from everywhere. The business owner/mom who works from home may find that personal distractions are one of the main reasons why they choose to work in coworking spaces and coffee shops sometimes.
One of the biggest distractions for many of us at home and at work is our smartphones. Browsing through social media to see what your family and friends are up to or taking time out of your day to post to your business page can turn into an hour of social media activity easily. Business owners can do themselves a huge favor by using applications like Hootsuite to schedule posts ahead of time and using the Blocksite web extension to prevent them from browsing social media and any other website like blogs during work hours. Blocksite is also a great tool to use at home on all of your family member’s mobile devices to prevent them from accessing time-consuming apps during family time. GET BLOCKSITE
Make Family Time Special
Time with family should be special. It’s your time to let go and let loose, have fun and nurture your most important relationships. Instead of slothing on the couch, or binge-watching some tv series, take some time to plan ahead. Depending on where you live, family activities may vary but as far as Charlotte NC is concerned there is always something to do here. Two websites that you should bookmark or even download the app for is 1. Groupon and 2. Charlotte’s Got A Lot. Even if you have not had the time to plan ahead, these two resources are the best ways to find affordable family-friendly things to do in the area.
Not interested in going out? That’s cool. Make the day a great day by playing an indoor/outdoor game, cook a big meal and invite the family over, or maybe even host a play date or sleepover at your house for your child and his/her closest friends or cousins.
Resist the urge to check emails, or voicemails that are related to your work-life. As much as you can, put away the devices and just enjoy your time together.
Connect With Your Partner
When parents have a great relationship, children get the privilege of seeing a healthy marriage as an example of what they may want to aspire to in the future. Even if parents are not married, whomever you are involved with romantically, believe it or not, the relationship is witnessed by the child in most cases. Taking time to nurture this relationship will not only make it stronger, but it will also have a great lasting effect on your child.
Take care to carve out some time for your partner. Often times people in relationships may think that there is the need for some grand show of affection to validate the time they’ve spent together. Not true at all. Take a walk around the park, go on a mid-day lunch date, even something as small as going for a drive on the weekend to anywhere can be a gesture of affection. Again, as much as you can leave those devices behind.
Taking Care Of Yourself & The Founder’s Dilemma
Last but certainly not least, take some time for yourself. Easier said than done in most cases, but it is possible.
In order for all of the things in your life to run smoothly, you’ll have to remember that if you are not healthy, mentally, physically and spiritually, being on your A-game is not possible.
Let the delegating begin
One of the most difficult things that many small business owners struggle with is the ability to delegate to others, trust others and not micromanage their team members. This is understandable but it is in no way acceptable. This mindset is a recipe for becoming over-worked, exhausted and frustrated to the point of wanting to quit.
Required reading for any small business owner, especially the business owner/mom, is the Harvard Business Review’s 2008 article entitled “The Founder’s Dilemma”. In a nutshell, it describes why business owners may struggle with the ability to actually let employees own some of the responsibility for their business’s success. The Founder’s Dilemma is one of the main reasons why small businesses have high turnover rates and often close their doors.
To effectively run a business you’ll have to learn how to trust your team to manage what is their responsibility to your company. Otherwise, why are you paying them if you don’t trust them?
Home-life & Social-life management
As far as home life goes, mom’s would do great justice to themselves by relinquishing some of the responsibilities at home as well. Holding everyone in the home responsible for the day-to-day task management will give you back the time you need to take time for yourself. Children as young as 2 years old can be assigned tasks to do in the home. Here are some chores for ages 2 to 18 year old SEE HERE.
Homelife management also includes social life management. Yes, you’re tired and totally uninterested in hanging out with friends or family members but this level of connection with other adults is absolutely necessary. Even if you just connect with friends for a movie, card game, workout session, or whatever it is, hanging out with friends is a great way to spend some time away from kids and/or your spouse. It is important that you allow yourself to have fun, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
As mothers and business owners we have lots of responsibilities. However, it is the way in which we manage these responsibilities that will determine whether or not we are able to have work-life balance. This lifestyle is not about making sure that you split your time evenly every day between work and your personal life. The work-life balance lifestyle is about being able to present in whatever part of your life you are tending to at the moment so that you can easily and effectively complete the tasks at hand. If for some reason there is some sort of disruption to your work or personal life it’s okay because you’ve planned ahead and had the proper tools and protocols in place to easily pivot without everything falling apart. Maintaining this work-life balance becomes so much easier when you understand that it is impossible to maintain work-life balance ALL OF THE TIME.