For the first time in a very long time, I feel completely in control of the school holidays.
For those of us who work from home, it’s wonderful to have complete flexibility over when we can take time off to be with the kids.
There’s no more haggling with childless colleagues, no begging to swap holiday dates, or no more pleading with the boss down on bending knees to give us time off during his “busiest time ever”.
But that also means we’re left wondering “how on earth am I going to manage work while the kids are on holiday?”
Here are my 6 top tips which will stop you tearing your hair out!
1. Halve your workload: Work can wait. Honestly, it’s true. At least the majority if it! The fact is that many of your clients will also have kids, which means they’ll be taking time out over half-term too. Instead of worrying about what you haven’t done yet – and attempting the impossible feat of trying to cram a weeks’ work into the remaining few days that you have left of this week – let your clients know you’ll be out of office but will be checking your emails for anything urgent. At least they’ll know you won’t be available and you can enjoy your time off with the kids. Don’t forget to put a friendly “Out of Office” greeting on your emails.
2. Put your blog on autopilot: To keep your blog traffic ticking over nicely, if you haven’t already done so, treat yourself to Hootsuite, upgrade to Pro and then schedule some messages to all of your social media accounts for the week. It might take an hour to schedule everything – remember, you’ll want to carefully schedule different messages for your different accounts – but the time it will save you each day will be well worth it. Be sure to switch on mobile notifications so that you can answer messages occasionally on the go.
3. Plan ‘work days’ or ‘hours’: Plan ahead and set a couple of work days, or a designated time each evening, so that you can check up on those urgent messages and emails. Communicate this to the family – especially the kids – so that everyone knows when you’re likely to be a party pooper.
4. Put professional calls on hold: Speaking from experience, it’s impossible to have a conversation with a client while the kids are running around the house and garden, screaming like maniacs. Either cancel appointments altogether, or if that’s not feasible, relegate calls to your designated work day.
5. Make mealtimes quick and simple: It’s supposed to be a holiday for you too. There’s no schedule to stick to, so rustle up quick and easy meals so that you can all sit down and enjoy them together.
6. Put the kids to bed early and grab some well-deserved ‘me’ time!