Is it even possible to run a successful business from home and still have quality time with your family?
The simple answer is yes.
Do you often find yourself wondering why it’s so hard to juggle your business and family commitments when you work from home and have no one to answer to?
I asked myself that exact question every single day when I first started my business six months ago.
The problem is that because the lines are so often blurred, creating and then maintaining a healthy work/life balance when you work from home can be trickier than most people think.
So what’s the solution?
By implementing a few, simple strategies, achieving an ideal work/life balance is easily within your reach.
This is the first and most crucial step in achieving your ideal work/life balance.
Spend some time deciding what’s most important to you, and then make a list of what your top priorities are at home and work.
Then, ask yourself if there are things you need to start doing, do better or stop doing in your day so you can be more productive and efficient.
Amazingly simple isn’t it?
Stay with me now because I know what you’re thinking; how do you prioritise your time when you have a to-do list with 50 tasks on it?
The trick is to prioritise those tasks into four categories:
Now you’ll be able to see what tasks need your attention immediately, and you won’t be overwhelmed at the thought of a long to-do list.
By turning your priorities into measurable and achievable goals, you’ll make progress quickly in completing tasks.
How awesome is that?
Don’t try to be all things to all people. Instead, focus on your strengths and outsource anything else.
Here’s what I mean.
I realised after many hours of stress and frustration that I just didn’t have the knowledge or skills needed to develop my website when I started my business.
I finally realised that the smartest thing I could do would be to outsource the development of my website to an expert. By doing that one simple thing, I ended up saving myself money, time and a bucket load more stress and frustration.
So, if you don’t have a good head for bookkeeping, or the creative flair needed for graphic design, outsource these tasks instead of wasting your time.
If you’re a morning person, do the tough tasks that require high levels of concentration first thing.
And vice versa if you’re an evening person.
But why is that important?
The answer is simple.
By completing tough tasks when your concentration levels are at their peak, you won’t find yourself floundering; which will only increase your stress levels and anxiety.
Do you often find yourself working until late into the evening trying to catch up on work?
This is where many people run into trouble when they work from home.
So, what’s the solution?
Set yourself work hours and do everything in your power to stick to them.
Another helpful tip is to set aside a time during your “home” time when you won’t check or respond to work-related emails or messages.
Have you ever heard the saying; “successful people plan their work and then work their plan”?
Just stop and think about that for a minute.
By creating a timeline of your activities, both work and family-related, you’ll have a better understanding of what lies ahead.
Setting aside 10 to 15 minutes at either the beginning or end of each day to plan your tasks and activities for the day and evening ahead can be really helpful.
Computer programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel can be used to create a table or spreadsheet, and it can be as simple as entering your dates across the top and activities down the side.
If you prefer an electronic diary, uptothesky is a fantastic free online diary and journal which can be used for both personal and business use. The features include a diary, notes, to-do-list, address book and expense manager, and there are loads of great themes to choose from.
I like to use a kikki k large planner just because I love paper planners and diaries. The trick is to use whatever works for you.
Just remember not to over-complicate things for yourself.
As a work at home mum running her own business, you need to feel confident about your business finances.
We all know that cash flow is perhaps the biggest challenge facing small businesses, and so using accounting tools will help you understand what’s going on financially.
But how do you know what accounting tools you should be using?
The answer could be as simple as setting up and maintaining an excel spreadsheet or do some research on accounting software packages and, once you’ve installed it and had any necessary training, use it daily.
Again, it’s essential to know your strengths, and if finances aren’t your thing, hire a bookkeeper or accountant to do the hard work for you and then ask for regular reports, so you’re always aware of your financial situation.
Working for yourself does tend to require long hours, and sometimes without any breaks.
Even though some chairs and desks look cute in photos, you need ergonomic, comfortable furniture if you’re going to be working for 5 hours or more a day.
Invest in the best ergonomic chair you can afford that will provide back support, and it’s a great idea to have an adjustable footrest.
Equally as important, if you’re going to be working long hours on your laptop every day, buy a laptop stand to make sure that your screen is at the right height and you don’t have to bend your neck.
I use a large monitor and a keyboard which is connected to my laptop. Then I still have the portability and flexibility of my laptop if I’m working away from home.
But wait, there’s more.
Just as necessary as being physically comfortable, make sure your workspace is somewhere you want to be. Add personal touches to your space like photo frames, inspirational quotes or perhaps some greenery or flowers.
It’s tempting to skip the gym, cancel your yoga class or not go for that evening run because a client has an urgent deadline.
But here’s the problem with that.
A healthy body means a fresh mind, which means you’ll function better and complete tasks in less time.
So what’s the solution?
It’s simple. Make sure exercise is given as much priority in your day as your clients and making money. If you’re not in good shape mentally, emotionally and physically, both your work and personal lives will suffer.
At the end of each working day, do a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked well, what didn’t, what went wrong, how you can fix any issues, and how you can make tomorrow a better day.
Importantly, remember that you’re not alone. There are thousands of other work at home mums running their businesses who are learning the same lessons as you every day. And don’t forget to tap into valuable resources – other work at home mums – for help, advice and guidance.
Remember to have breaks throughout your working day.
Sounds simple right?
Yes, but often we forget to have breaks when we get busy or have urgent deadlines to meet.
Make a point of getting up and stretching every 15 minutes. It will help you stay clear, focused and productive. Oh, and do your best to give yourself a lunch break every day.
When fear, self-doubt and anxiety creep into your mind, do something which will put those doubts back in their place.
Meditation, going for a walk, reading a book or spending some time with someone who supports you and lifts your spirits are all helpful.
It’s what every business owner should be doing.
Adopting some simple time-management practices such as grouping emails and messages, avoiding procrastination, and importantly, by learning to say “no”, you’ll decrease your stress levels significantly.
Every work at home mum wants to find that magical balance of combining career, family, relationships and self-care.
Trust me; you can have it.
Just remember that it’s important not to become overwhelmed by assuming you need to make a lot of significant changes all at once. Even if you only implement a few of these strategies, they’ll have a positive and measurable impact on your life.
How do I know?
Because I’ve put all these strategies into effect in my own business.
Start with one clear goal – then add another, and another, and so on.
You can do this.
Now go and continue to be amazing.