by Guest Author, Jennifer Kolbuc
Even before we were hit with a global pandemic, balancing time as a working mom was never easy. If you’re a small business owner with no clear boundaries between work and home (and maybe limited or lacking access to childcare), it can get even harder.
I don’t believe in a one-size-fits all approach to work life balance, as everyone’s needs are going to be different. There may be weeks and months, when it feels like it’s all work and no play. Or your business may have a quieter time seasonally that allows you to spend more time with your kids. Whatever the case, when you’re working on limited hours a day trying to find some balance will keep things moving forward, without all the wheels falling off.
Here’s a few of my top suggestions to make the most of hectic schedule of any working parent. Let me know which ones work for you!
- Plan your week ahead of time, then break it down by day
One of the best ways to make the most of your day managing around nap schedules and Paw Patrol, is to make an effective plan before you get started. I spend 30 minutes on Sunday evening looking at everything coming up for the week and start to map out my workflow. What is the most urgent? What is going to take up the most of my time? I then break it down day by day, so that when I get an opportunity to work, I know exactly what I am going to accomplish. Try to chunk your work into 30 to 45-minute batches so that tasks can be easily ticked off the list – giving you a feeling of accomplishment to keep going!
Once you’ve done your planning, see what tasks make sense to group together. I try to do all of my content planning in one sitting for the week, so that I’m not trying to write captions, create content and post pictures daily.
(Grab a copy of my free Content Calendar to help you stay on track).
Other tasks that you can batch easily are things like invoicing, emails (only check once or twice a day), mail, shipping your goods, etc. I try to batch my more repetitive tasks like invoicing or setting up new accounts for the afternoons when I know I might be more tired, versus doing content creation first thing in the morning when I’m more creative.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to want to do it all yourself. When you’re just starting out you might have to do all of the work, but at a certain point in your business, growth will only be achieved when you’re ready to start getting some help. There are lots of different ways to go about it. You could:
- Hire a virtual assistant to help you with repetitive, time consuming tasks
- Get an appointment scheduling system in place to help you reduce email volume
- Hire someone to manage your social media channels
- Get someone to help you in the shop
It can seem scary to think about spending money to hire someone. One way to help you make the leap is to calculate how much time it takes you to do a certain task. Now think about how you could spend those extra hours and what you might make if you made additional sales with that time. It’s likely you could be making more money if you focused on the strategic side of your business a few extra hours a week, and let someone else help you with things like book keeping, appointment scheduling or even outreach for example.
In addition to getting help for your business, as moms we need to be willing to ask for help around the home. I know for me when I finally admitted I couldn’t do it all, I let go of some of the burden I was carrying around. Trying to do it all on the home front, manage a business, and raise wonderful human beings is an impossible task for anyone.
Could you afford to hire a cleaning person once a month? Order a meal kit to save time on grocery shopping? Maybe Sunday afternoons you can meal prep dinners for the week.
If you have older aged children, get them involved too! Ask them to plan out their clothes for the week, and make a calendar for their school lunches. Review their schedules for the upcoming week and make a plan for homework, extracurricular activities, and even when laundry needs to be done (which is pretty much daily!)
- Take time to recharge
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure you have time each week to rest, relax and recharge. Get out for a walk in the morning (with or without the kids), plan a night out, or book a yoga class. Swap some babysitting time with a mom friend and plan a date night out.
New ideas for our businesses appear to us when we are open and receptive to receiving them. When you’re sleep deprived, and stressed out from working and parenting 24/7, nothing good can come from it.
There is always more work to be done as a small business owner, but life is short. Make sure you are enjoying the here and now too!
How have you been surviving the pandemic era of running a small business while raising tiny humans?
Jennifer Kolbuc has worked in social media for over 10 years managing millions of followers and is the founder of Mountain Top Consulting, a social media strategy and coaching company for small businesses. Follow her on Instagram or connect directly for a one-on-one consult to start getting results on your social media channels.