A wall calendar, an egg timer, and a handful of water balloons helped this work-at-home mom stay productive during the hazy, lazy days of summer.
Months and months of carefully planned schedules, routines, and systematic living abruptly ends, and as exciting as summer break can be for both you and the kids, it’s also a time of year that can wreak havoc if you work from home. Gone are the days of quiet, serene, and reflective “alone time” where you can retreat back home from the carpool line to a full pot of coffee and daily to-do list.
Instead, hello summer! It’s a busy time for entertaining energetic kids, friends, pets, and projects all while managing the chatter, excitement, and constant activity that happens steadily through your slamming front door.
No wonder the summer is the least productive time for women who work from home. Our momma gene kicks into high gear as each of us strains to balance work life with family life. We don’t want to miss a single work-related deadline OR magical milestone in the life of our children, and summer break puts extra special challenges in our way.
But working from home can be a blessing in the summertime, especially if you have the tactics to not only survive but to thrive. Take it from this work-at-home mom – yes, you can have your watermelon and eat it too.
1. Be Prepared.
It’s no secret that school is ending on such and such a date. Be prepared in your mind that things are about to change and that routine will change with it. Embrace a summer mindset that is less scheduled, and less structured.
2. Embrace a Summer Routine.
This means having a plan for putting in the work hours, but also being flexible enough to take a break with the kids if the ice cream truck unexpectedly comes around to your neighborhood.
3. Put it on a Wall Calendar.
If your children are young, you may want to look for summer day camps and fun activities that they can do at another location. Schedule play dates, sports camps, cooking classes, or art classes to keep them occupied, and commit to it in ink on your wall calendar. Use these dates to bump up your focus at work knowing that your kids are in a safe place and having fun.
4. Consider Hiring a Sitter.
If summer camp is not an option then consider hiring a sitter or nanny who can come and do crafts, go swimming, or play outside with your children. Just three mornings a week such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will give you the peace of mind you need to focus on your business while staying productive.
5. Use an Egg Timer.
If the kids are old enough to play on their own, consider setting an egg timer or alarm to let them know when you are ready to give them your full attention. Even 60 minutes of work time can help you stay in control of your business while giving the kids an understanding of when lunch will be served or when a break will be taken.
6. Have Rules and Boundaries.
Make sure you sit down with your children and explain the rules and boundaries for when you are working. For example, make sure they understand what is expected from them when you are on a business call, and how you would like them to act. Understanding the rules and boundaries up front will help everyone with a smoother transition to summer.
7. Don’t Forget to Have Fun.
Even though summertime is still work-time, it doesn’t mean you can’t let your inner child shine. Plan some fun activities with your kids like water balloon fights, bubble blowing, skipping rope, or Frisbee toss. Getting fresh air is not only good for the kids but is also great for clearing and resetting your brain so that your work life shines too.
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Jan Pinnington is a Nutritional Consultant, wife, mother, and “consummate foodie.” She specializes in teaching nutrition and healthy recipe preparation to kids. In an effort to fight childhood obesity, Jan’s company, Healthy Hands Cooking, teaches other women across the U.S. to do the same. Her philosophy? Love what you do, do what you love, and share your experience with others.