Here come the summer holidays. Is panic beginning to settle in?
Home-working has many benefits, but it can also mean that the line between home and work becomes blurred. This is especially true during school holidays. While most of us will have become self-employed in order to have half-terms and summer holidays off (no more begging the boss!) realistically, there will be times when you still need to catch up.
So here are a few tips that will hopefully stop you tearing your hair out.
1. Plan to work for time slots during the day: Plan ahead with the family and agree days that you will have undivided play time with the kids, and uninterrupted work time. Work time might be alternate days, or time slots during the day – you can be surprisingly focused when you know you have 2 or 3 hours to work.
2. Round up support: Plan ahead and swap child-minding days with a friend. Delegate a couple of days when you can both benefit from some child-free time. Once again, you can be far more productive (and guilt-free) when you know you have handy helpers at the ready. Can grandparents lend a helping hand?
3. Pace yourself: When you do have uninterrupted time to yourself, don’t be tempted to sit at your desk all day to slog through that ‘To Do’ list. After a few hours’ work, treat yourself to a brisk walk around the block. The short break away from the computer screen will help to clear your head, not to mention a great way to stretch those muscles.
4. Be Professional: Continue to run your home office like the ‘real’ office. Speaking from personal experience, this is considerably harder during the school holidays. Even if your office is just a section of your living room, don’t allow the kids to answer the telephone – it portrays the wrong image to clients. Divert calls to your mobile, or treat yourself to a Virtual Receptionist. Costs are often as little as £20/£30 per month – although some offer a very handy trial period.
5. Take your work on the road: There’s no harm in taking your MAC/laptop to your local Gambado, Eddie Katz, Gambado, Third Door are a few well-known ones. Whatever your local equivalent is – many have WiFi areas and even free internet access. My kids love our local Gambado and completely forget I’m there – until they’re hungry in which case as it has a lovely restaurant, I simply refuel them and let them run riot again.
6. Relax, have fun: Don’t be a slave to your work routine. Remember why you chose to become self-employed in the first place. Go have fun with the kids!
Do you have any tips of your own?