As a work at home mom, do you have a love-hate relationship with summer break? On the one hand, you started working from home, so you could spend more time with your children. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to make memories together while they’re home from school. But, it’s so much harder to find time for your business over summer vacation because they are home.
There’s more noise, invitations to play together, and plenty of sunshine calling your name. It’s tempting to just put the business aside and pick it up again in September. And while some moms decide to go that route, many need (or want) to continue working through the summer.
If you’re trying to figure out how to work this summer, here are seven strategies you can use.
Communicate with Your Family
Your family can’t read your mind and instantly know your work plans for summer. This means you must make it a priority to communicate with them.
Hold a family meeting at the beginning of break and talk about what your work goals are. Talk about what projects you’ll be working on, about how long you plan to work each day, and what you need from them.
To help keep everyone engaged, don’t just talk about work. Use this time to also talk about summer plans in general. Will you be taking a trip to the beach in July? Or spending a week at Grandma’s house in August? Talk through your summer, so everyone knows what to expect.
It also helps to start each morning with a quick meeting. I use this time to share what I’m working on that day with my kids, and to talk through our daily routine. It’s also a time they can ask questions and share some activities they want to get done. This helps keeps the family working as a team, which helps tremendously.
Revisit Your Why
When trying to find time for your business when your kids are home gets tough (and it will), remember why you are working in the first place. Why did you decide to pursue your passion and start a business?
Going back to the beginning helps refresh your motivation. It reminds you why what you are doing matters. And this encourages you to keep going. You can do this!
Make Some Decisions in Advance
You can’t wing your summer and expect it to go as planned. To be more productive, and ensure you take time for your business, make some decisions in advance.
Decide when you are going to work and stick to it as often as you can. If you’re an early riser, you can get up and work for a couple of hours before everyone else gets up. You could also plan on working in the middle of the afternoon, after spending time as a family in the morning. Some moms prefer to work in the evenings, when the kids are all sleeping.
There’s no right or wrong time to work, you just need to pick a time that works best for you. Listen to your body and your family’s rhythms to find the best time of day. If you typically fall asleep by 9:00 pm, forcing yourself to stay up later won’t give you productive work time.
In addition to picking a work time, here are other ways you can premake decisions to free up your brain power.
- Make a meal plan
- Create a chore chart
- Write a list of activities for your kids to do when they’re bored
- Create a content calendar for your blog so when it’s time to write you don’t have to brainstorm as well
- Decide on some fun activities to include in your schedule and write them in
Each time you stop to make a decision on the fly, your brain devotes power to it. You have to stop what you were doing and focus on something new. By making decisions in advance, you help improve your focus and productivity.
Remember to Unplug
One downside of working at home is that work is always available. It’s easy to pick up your phone quickly to check your email, and suddenly wind up on a social media rabbit trail that lasts an hour. Your job can take all your time if you aren’t careful.
Make it a point this summer to completely unplug and connect with your family each day. Your kids will look forward to this time, when you are focusing on them and not your business. Be consistent in this, and really focus on your kids when it’s time for family time.
Engage Your Kids
There will be times when your kids need a little help finding something to do. Otherwise you may not approve of the choices they make.
When you really need to focus on your work, or you have a business phone call coming up, you need some activities to pull out that will keep your kids engaged and focused. You can set them up nearby and get to work while they have fun.
Here are five activities I’ve used to keep my kids engaged during the summer. Some are best done outside for cleanup purposes, so I set up a workstation on our porch so I’m nearby:
- Fill a small container with water and add a plastic toy. When it’s frozen, remove it from the container and have the kids use kitchen tools to carefully remove the toy.
- Set up a toy wash station with lots of towels, a bowl of soapy water, and a bowl of rinsing water. Let them gather water safe toys and give them each a bath.
- Create a mosaic picture with LEGOs.
- Build a shoe from LEGOs that you can put on your foot (bonus points if you can stand on it!)
- Wash the table with shaving cream (and draw in it as you work.)
Let your kids help you brainstorm some fun ideas as the beginning of summer and write them down. You can also check out my list of 100 ideas for creative play to see if there’s anything your kids would enjoy. Then you won’t have to spend time searching Pinterest when you need a quick activity.
When what you usually do isn’t working, it’s time for some creativity. Are your kids all grumpy? Throw on some music and have an impromptu dance party to cheer everyone up. Or have a dessert first dinner. Do something crazy and unusual.
Think of new ways to accomplish your work goals. Is there anything you can batch or outsource? What would help you the most right now?
Talk to your family and see if anyone has any ideas. My kids are great at pointing at bottlenecks in family routines. Your kids have insight to the day, so make sure to take their input. Then work together to brainstorm new ways to tackle problem areas.
Remember, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. That’s not what you’re going for!
Have a Plan B to Find Time for Your Business Over Summer Vacation
Life happens, especially over the summer. Your kids might get sick. Or you might get invited to a great pool party when you were planning on working.
Working over the summer takes flexibility, and a pre-determined Plan B. Spend some time now thinking this through so when the unexpected happens, you know what to do.
- Another time of day when you can work
- Ways to repurpose existing content to cut down the amount of work you must do
- Ways your kids can help you get your work done
- What tasks are due on the day in question, and which can wait
- Working ahead to give yourself a buffer
By having a back up plan in place, you make it easier to find time for your business over summer break.
You may not get as much done as you do when your kids are in school. But, you will still be making progress on your goals, and be living the life you want to live.
If you’re still looking for your passion, download the free Passion Challenge workbook below. It will show you the 5 steps to unleash your potential and earn your first $1000 from home.