This article was written by Cheryl Dodd
So far, this summer has been a lot of fun! As a self-employed mum, it’s really important to me that I manage my time well, to be sure that I can spend as much time with my kids over the summer, as well as making sure I take enough time for myself. Even though it’s been the summer holidays, I’ve had a lot going on. In fact, if anything, being out of routine has only given me more to do.
So, how do I successfully manage myself? How do I juggle all these things I have to do and things I want to do? What’s the perfect formula? One thing that I have learned this summer is that there is no perfect formula. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to managing yourself! As long as you’re not avoiding responsibilities, you’re doing it right, however you’re going about it.
To start with for me, it was all about managing my calendar and being strict with myself when it comes to time to work. Essentially, I established a loose temporary routine before summer, and tried to stick to it. My plan was to restrict myself to working mornings, so that I could have plenty of time with my kids in the afternoon.
But, over the summer, it’s not just me I have to manage. As a mum, it’s important that I stay on top of my own routine to be able to promote a good routine for my kids. This has been a challenge to juggle: it’s their summer holiday, but there does still need to be a routine of sorts so that everyone stays healthy. Finding the balance between relaxing and what needs to be done is difficult over the summer. Establishing fair boundaries early on, or even before the holidays, helps to manage the fallout.
As for my team, I was lucky enough to onboard them a few months before the holidays, so I know I don’t have to worry about micromanaging them because they already have their routine and are fairly self sufficient - I trust them and am always available for a call if anyone needs help. Because they’re working with me five days a week, I knew that things will be getting done each day, and I can dedicate the time they need to them. We meet once a week, which will likely be something we continue after the holidays.
I've noticed over the summer, while my kids are home, despite adjusting my working hours to mornings, I still have my regular coaching clients and the courses that I lead. These limited regular commitments do limit me to certain time constraints. I have found myself unable to be spontaneous, which is not something I like when I’m trying to enjoy summer with my family. This wasn’t something I had accounted for because it’s not a situation I’ve been in before. It’s not my first summer self-employed, but it’s my first one where I have been coaching and leading lessons personally. In previous summers, the companies I have run take a break during August - which I plan to do with BizKidz and my business coaching next August!
I’ve learned lots of lessons this summer. If I want to take advantage of the freedom summer brings, I can’t commit myself to as much as I usually do! To stay fair to everyone, I need to make sure I can commit to them, just as much as I commit to work, if not more.
Juggling time this summer has prepared me for next year, where I’m planning on a window in my commitments, so that I can fully enjoy myself throughout the school holidays!