As one of the many working parents in the UK, I have said before that I can be a bit of a softie when it comes to childcare over the holidays; I promise things that sometimes are a little bit of lunacy, like the summer holiday, where we didn’t use a single bit of childcare *what was I thinking.*
Well after that debark-le, I decided I would be a lot more sensible about my working time, and I actually went about trying to insure that this half-term I managed myself much better so I would end up as I did on my manic mum day jibbering in a corner with a glass of red wine to keep me sane ;-)
But how does one organise oneself when one works from home?
There are too many distractions; even the washing can look enticing when you are faced with a mountain of invoices, or a couple of emails that you have been putting off for ages…
A. Organise the desk
Making sure I had a good workspace was a good plan…at least it was in principle. I decided that a business woman needs a desk that is an organised and as purposeful as she is; with folders and files to boot. As well as plastic boxes; yes they are good too, particularly for organising the mounting paperwork. It’s worth investing in some uber working mum stationery to get you started. The Plastic Box Company has some good files, and boxes for home storage. But don’t be tempted to shove it all in a box and forget about it all, particularly if its accounting…never put off the accounting…
B. Allocate strict social media limits
I spend a lot of time on social media, it is important for my business. However, I ALSO spend a lot of time getting distracted on social media, and this had to stop. In fact, it probably needs to be improved in most people who work within a digital business, or are professional bloggers. We should be on it for a reason over the holidays. It should be important for a) my business or b) my kids.
…But guess what – my kids don’t want me on Facebook! Well, unless I am getting my eight year old a date with Ben Cohen from Strictly…that is an entirely different matter then…
C. Allocate time to work
Instead of dipping in at random times of the day, on the move, with the kids around my ankles; I allocated specific times and days to it. Working seems to work best when I have set them up in an activity, and can let them then get on with it….so when they were:
- Eating tea
- Watching TV or a film for an hour
- Doing craft; making some clay models were a particularly successful interlude for them, and for me
- Playing board games; though a weather eye was always required here to avert the inevitable “cheating” arguments.
D. No over-committing
Last time, I made the carnal sin of agreeing deadlines that didn’t take into account that I would need an extra pair of hands to achieve them. If it’s the holidays, we are not going to be able to be as productive as we are when its not the holidays; therefore lets not think that we are! Not rocket science, but annoyingly, I don’t listen to my own advice. In fact, last week I agreed to a very silly deadline, and missed it thanks to appalling WiFi connections. *promise to be better next time*
E. Take a day off – it won’t kill the business
This is something we all need to remember if we are freelancers, or running our own businesses. One day, two days, or perhaps even a week won’t stop the business in its tracks if we organise it properly. In fact, managing to organise time off will make you more productive. Invest in a bit of help for the holiday period, and give yourself a break. You will be fresher for it afterwards; I promise you. I am a new woman *ish*.
How to you manage your time as a working parent over the holidays? Tips gratefully received.
Image above courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.