Staying Focused During Summer Holidays
Whilst the school summer holidays are a wonderful time, they can also be a challenge if you’re a working parent. If you work from home or run your own business, it can be tricky to stay focused when your children are suddenly in your office space. It’s also important to find the balance between keeping your business running as normal and not missing out on good times with your family. Here are some of our top tips to stay focussed below:
We are big planners at KM Virtual Office, so before the school holidays begin, we’d certainly suggest looking ahead at the calendar to see what you can do to prepare for the 6-week break. One suggestion would be taking a week or a few days off to coincide, but sometimes that isn’t possible, after all, businesses don’t run themselves. However, there are certain things you can schedule ahead. For example, social media. If you post daily, then to save yourself time over the break, you could draft and schedule your posts in advance so that it’s taken care of. This is something we help clients with as part of our Social Media Management service. The same goes for any newsletters or regular marketing mail-outs that you send. If you create, draft and schedule these ahead then it’s another thing off the list. There could be a range of other tasks that you could work on ahead of the break too, and it might also be wise to ensure that big projects and deadlines don't fall in the middle of the 6-week break (if at all possible!)
Plan your working schedule
It’s important to create and agree a working schedule with your family so that everyone knows what is going on during the summer weeks. Perhaps in advance, decide the hours you will work at home, such as when you start, when you finish and when you break for lunch. Set these boundaries, explain them to your children and then stick to them. This sets the expectation that you’ll be working on certain days and at certain times, which makes it much easier to implement. If you have to make important calls or need quiet time to focus, put a note on your office door or tie something round the door handle as a signal that for a short time, no one is to disturb you!
Go where the Wi-Fi is
Entertaining your children through the summer can be a job in itself and there will be times you’ll need to take them out to have some fun. If they are old enough to entertain themselves, then have a look into places you can take them where they can play but you can use the Wi-Fi if you need to do a quick bit of work or check your emails. Play centres, cafes, libraries, hotels and a range of other venues will let you plug into the Wi-Fi – so if you check ahead with the destinations you’re visiting, then you won’t have to be off the grid for too long.
If you have your children all day, every day during the school holidays, then working a bit smarter might be necessary. This might mean getting up extra hour earlier to work through tasks and emails, before your children wake up, or putting in an hour once they are in bed.
Lists will be your saviour during a busy summer. We can't urge you enough to make a list and then stick to it! When you have children to entertain alongside your business tasks, it’s double the load to manage and this is where tasks could easily slip through the cracks. We wrote a blog post recently on why we love Asana and would suggest that every task that comes in (business and child related) you write down and make sure you stick to, so that that your client service doesn’t dip because you’re super busy.
If you know any working mums in your area, then why not consider doing childcare swaps with them to get a morning or two of free time during the week. Equally, look locally for kids clubs or camps that they could enjoy going to, to make sure they aren’t bored and that you get a little reprieve from entertaining.
Honesty is usually the best policy and if you know that the summer holiday is going to be hectic, then set an 'out of office' for when you’ll be away from your desk, or send a note to clients explaining that it might take you a little more time than usual to reply to an email or request.
Time for yourself
This is just as key as it would be when the children are at school, only even more important as you’ll be busier than ever. Remember to get outside for fresh air, eat well and take even just ten minutes for yourself each day to sit quietly or meditate – you don’t want to burn out, it’s hot enough as it is! If you need any help or support to keep on top of things this summer, then just give us a call.