There are folks who think running a business from home and taking care of kids isn’t that tough… but, the 2020 Work-From-Home cultural shift has rectified that misconception.
So today I wanted to talk about my top tips for running a business from home and raising a kid full-time (especially a toddler).
I’m going to say ‘to hell’ with empathic order, and share the most important tip first. That way, even if you can’t quite find the time to make it through this blog today, you’ll have the most important info.
You have to understand and accept that no amount of scheduling and time-management will eliminate unexpected conflicts or stresses. They will minimize them, but can’t prevent them entirely. And that’s okay.
So the most important thing to do is take a deep breath, accept that things won’t always go as planned and that it will be OKAY.
Your family will be okay
Your business will be okay
You will be okay
Half of mom-stress comes from us putting so much pressure on ourselves to get shit done perfectly, but the moment you realize that you WILL tackle your goals (it just might not be exactly when you ideally want to) it helps alleviate a lot of stress.
Trust me, I get it, we all want to be super-parents, and I think that physically “being home” ignites this sense of guilt that we “should be able to do more“.
But, this is not easy… it’s really hard, and you don’t need to stress yourself to death, or feel guilt when you are doing the best you can. And I have no doubt you’re kicking ass, even if you have a hard time seeing that.
Not to mention: we just don’t think as clearly when we’re stressed or upset, so take the time to practice acceptance, and it WILL help you handle your day much more smoothly.
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So, if you’re anything like me, you’re not a morning person… however, I’ve found that getting up CRAZY early provides me with time to accomplish a lot of my work before my kid even wakes up.
It hasn’t been an easy habit for me to maintain, but it IS insanely helpful and alleviates the stress of trying to care for a curious 15-month-old while working. I can focus, and I can accomplish a lot in 2-3 extra hours.
On the days I get up early, I try to be out of bed and downstairs by 5:30 AM (ugh, blegh, HNNNG), but there’s something peaceful about the morning quiet and watching the sunrise.
I strongly recommend giving early mornings a try if you’re finding yourself crazy overwhelmed. The beauty of running our own businesses is often flexible scheduling, so this is one way to take advantage of it and end up with more time during “regular” hours and less stress.
Alternate Option: Evenings
I prefer to preserve my evenings for relaxation, and that’s why I’d rather wake up early. However, if pre-dawn strategies just aren’t your thing, maybe try to reserve the bulk of your work for the evening, and spend your daylight doing your mom stuff (or less stressful work-related tasks).
All entrepreneurs will have their share of late nights, but if you’re a night owl, you might just find you do your best thinking after dark. So don’t be afraid to embrace that.
When you work from home or run your own business, it’s so easy to dismiss boundaries and burn yourself out. Checking emails on “weekends”, or working through meals, etc, it’s a super quick way to lead to fry your brain and drain yourself of precious energy.
YOU HAVE TO SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES AND STICK TO THEM.
Seriously, you need to review your day, set a time where you are “clocked out” and stick to it. Setting these boundaries not only make living your life easier and more pleasant, but it will build respect with your clients.
You don’t need to be at anyone’s beckoned call at all times, show yourself the respect you deserve, and your clients will appreciate that!
Same with days off, pick your version of a “weekend” and stick to it. While I am so tempted to sit down and bust out some projects on Saturday and Sunday (especially with COVID meaning we can’t go anywhere), I promised myself that Saturday and Sunday are my days to spend with Jake and take care of other non-work projects.
Keep A Journal
This used to sound silly to me, I was never a girl who kept a journal (ironic considering I’m a writer, no?). But I’ve learned and implemented journaling… “techniques”, we’ll call them- and now I do it (religiously) Monday-Friday. It’s even on my to-do list.
All I do is write down 4 things I’m grateful for, 4 things I’m proud of myself for, and a section called “thoughts” where I just word-vomit anything on my mind.
This format accomplishes the following:
- I don’t get frustrated by not knowing what to write about
- Tracking “gratitude” gives me a chance to be present and recognize goodness in even small moments
- Writing out things I’m proud of myself for makes SURE I take a moment to recognize myself and my efforts
It’s quick, but this little habit serves me well, so pick out a nice journal and pen, and sit down to give it a shot.
Remember What Matters
Your business does matter- trust me, I understand how empowering and important it is to create this thing all on your own and nurture it. To watch it grow- watch yourself grow! But just remember the reason WHY you started in the first place, and enjoy the journey as much as working toward the destination.
Spend time with your loved ones, take a day off if you need it, make time for your hobbies. Work hard, but don’t work yourself to death.
You WILL achieve your goals, you ARE a badass.
You are not alone.
We’re all in this together, and I believe in you.