It's hard! Most home-based working moms are asking the same thing: "How do I do it all? Run a business and balance a family?" The pressure of clients, busy schedules, snow days, etc., can be daunting. I know, I’ve been working at home since 1985 and although it gets easier, it is still a challenge.
Here are some tips for finding balance. They have helped me considerably through the years and I hope you enjoy them as well.
1.) Keep in mind that it's a learning process. No one is perfect. One of the greatest gifts I gave myself was to stop beating myself up so much. So what if I didn't do it all today? So what if my house didn't pass a white glove test today (or ever)? I really enjoy my business. I really enjoy my family. I feel as long as I set a good example for my kids, and keep my clients happy as best I can, I'm a winner today.
2.) To be able to get it all done and enjoy your family, create boundaries, both work-related and personal. You don’t want to have to do it all and, once you start saying no, you'll be amazed at how truly awesome it feels. When you keep in control, things run better. Plus, I believe your family and your clients appreciate knowing what is expected of them.
3.) Have a schedule to follow and stick to it as much as possible. Avoid unnecessary interruptions, including constantly checking email. Set a timer for checking emails, message boards, and doing other routine tasks. Think of time as money, and avoid time robbers (including friends who IM all day just to chat). This isn’t to say you can’t have fun and friends; you want that, but keep control and don’t let it interrupt your day.
4.) Get out of the office and do your work whenever possible. I do a lot of writing and proof-reading as a publicist and virtual assistant. Instead of sitting in the office, I take it the local coffee shop, bookstore, library, outside patio, beach, etc. It feels great to have a change of pace. A good cup of java and I'm good to go. Plus, find out if you can take your kids places and work. I will often be able to take my kids to the beach where they can play and I can catch up on some edits.
5.) Multitask whenever possible. When I prepare dinner, I will often do a crock-pot meal and prepare a meal in the oven at the same time -- it feels like I have the second night off. Also, I'll prepare my kid's lunches and my own lunch while I prepare dinner. When I'm not in a rush in the morning, I have more time to devote to putting healthy things together. You'd be amazed how good it feels to stop and eat a pre-made salad or sandwich while working instead of grabbing for something else.
6.) Take small vacations to get away. Plan a Friday-Saturday-Sunday vacation. This really helps, because we don't feel like we are always working. Also, when you’re busy, don’t give up exercise and going to the gym -- you need those things for energy.