With the summer holidays in full swing it can be tough to balance work and family life. If you’re a mum you’ll likely be juggling work and childcare commitments and even if you’re not, chances are that your clients or people you work with may be and their reduced hours will possibly have a knock-on impact on your business too.
To help support you through this challenging time of year we’re gathered together some recommended time saving tips for you!
1. Be realistic
As a self-employed doula and mother you’re going have a limited amount of time and energy to dedicate to your business over the summer holidays; so try not to over commit yourself. Struggling to fit work into time you really don’t have only leads to stress and exhaustion.
Even if you’ve got a foolproof childcare plan in place, there’s always the possibility that your child could get poorly, so give yourself a little wiggle room!
2. Don’t feel guilty for taking time off
We all have limitations on our time. You work hard to meet the needs of your clients and you deserve a break every now and then. The key is to communicate your plans in plenty of time. If you’re taking off, let your clients know as soon as possible.
Whilst you’re away make sure your email out-of-office is turned on. If you have a Facebook page it’s worth setting up an automated response for potential clients who may contact you there.
This is really important because if a client sends you an email or a message via your Facebook page and they hear nothing for several days they may start to get a little frustrated, even go elsewhere. However if they get a quick auto-response that lets them know that you’ll get back to them in a few days they’re informed and much more likely to wait.
3. Be clever (and efficient) with your time
When you’re working during the summer holidays it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to work a full day, so look for smaller chunks of time within your day that you can use for work time. This could be anything from 10 minutes in the morning when you could check your social media channels or an hour in the afternoon when you can get stuck into a bigger job.
4. Get organised
Once you’ve figured out when you can work, make sure you are ready to use that time! If you’re visiting clients, teaching a class or on call, make sure your kit bag is ready and waiting by the door. When it comes to admin and other office tasks, keep a running to-do list so that when you sit down to work there’s no faffing about, you can get stuck into a task you need to do straight away.
5. Stick to the three D’s
A long to-do can look impenetrable, but there’s a simple way to break it up and make life a little easier for yourself over the summer. It’s time to prioritise! Divide all tasks into three categories, you’re either do to…
- Do it
- Delegate it, or
- Dump it
If a task isn’t essential or time sensitive then consider dumping it until you’ve got more time on your hands. If you’ve got the budget consider outsourcing some of your admin or marketing tasks. Social media posting, blog writing and even general admin can all be outsourced and with the rise of virtual assistants and freelance social media managers, people can often be contracted for a little as a few weeks. Anything that’s left goes on the do it list. These are the tasks that are important, time sensitive or only able to be done by you.
6. Divide and conquer!
Like a big list, a big job on your list can be hard to get stuck into, it just feels a bit overwhelming! If this is the case then try dividing your big jobs into small tasks. For example, if you need to write and publish a blog post for your website, split the task into small, manageable chunks. For example:
Task 1: Research
Task 2: Write first draft
Task 3: Find quotes and suitable images
Task 4: Check draft and update if needed
Task 5: Load the content to your website, add images and publish
Task 6: Promote your blog post
See! Now that wasn’t so hard was it? Rather than trying to find a big block of 2-3 hours, you can complete the job in a series of 20-30 minute blocks.
7. Cut yourself out of the equation
Often times you’re needed to personally complete tasks in your business, but there are things you can do to make your life a little simpler. If you find yourself answering the same questions from potential clients over and over, consider adding an FAQ’s section to your website. Use an online diary management tool like calendly to enable potential customers to book slots of your time without having to call you. Add a shop to your website where they can buy packages quickly and easily. Look for opportunities where you don’t necessarily need to be involved.
Find yourself with a large chunk of time? Blogs, newsletters and social media can all be created and scheduled in advance, which means you can get ahead of yourself when you have free time, and enjoy your family time, knowing that your content will be published automatically.
9. Finally… relax!
Let go of the idea of working full-time over the summer, accept that you have less time and that’s just the way it is. Think positive, stay focused and most importantly, really be present in the moment. You’ll be better and more productive at work if you really commit to the task at hand and you’ll be a better, more fun mum if you’re able to put down the tablet and really enjoy your down time with your children.
Have a great summer!