By Lisa LaMaitre
Health Writer, Wellness Presenter, Lifestyle Adviser, Business Owner
The busy working mum
Being a busy mum means that you may often be feeling torn. Add trying to build a successful business to the mix and it overload can start to sink in. All in all I think that the same business skills apply to all business people. Drive, focus, knowledge and action are the skills that most often lead to a successful business. However being a busy mum can result in the drive, focus and action not always being delivered consistently. That’s not always because of lack of will. There’s fatigue, self management and of course the impact of the kids on your life that all can take their toll.
Tips for mums building a business
Have a look at your day and find the time that works best for you. Depending on the age of your children you might work in your business during school or day care hours. You may decide to get up early, work through their afternoon sleep time, or be in work mode after they are down for the night. The goal is to find time where you will be uninterrupted (or the least interrupted) and work productively in this time. Schedule in your work time as work time. Don’t answer personal calls during this time unless it’s an emergency.
Consider what household tasks or chores can you delegate or let go of which will help free up your time. Can your partner cook dinner and oversee the children’s homework to give you an hour or so to work? Can you get a housekeeper in, so you can work while they clean? Have you thought about purchasing your groceries online, creating a meal plan or cooking up a large batch of food to minimise time spent on meal prep each day? If your children are old enough can they be assigned household chores to free up more of your time? Remember that in ‘The Fit Busy Mum: Seven Habits for Success’ there are loads of tips for you to use to get you closer to ‘success’ each day.
Ok, so now it’s time to outsource some tasks within your business so that you can free up some time to work ‘on’ your business. What can you outsource in your business? What about administration, bookkeeping, cleaning, or social media? The question to ask yourself is what activity brings the most value to your business? Then you need to find a way to spend more time doing this activity, and less time doing the other things that distract you from it. This may mean saying no to certain job offers, hiring an assistant or VA, or directing incoming calls to voicemail.
Set boundaries around your work and family times as often as you can. Schedule it into your diary! So this means no sneaky email checking when you’re meant to be playing with the kids, and no helping with dinner prep if you’ve allocated time to update your website. This can be really tricky!
‘Set boundaries around your work and family times as often as you can.’
Self-care is vital to ensure we have access to high energy and focus throughout our full days. The basis for this is good quality sleep, and yes I understand that this often doesn’t happen with little ones. The best way to improve sleep quality is to have set sleep and wake times. It’s also a great way to set wake and sleep times for your little ones!
It’s vital that you make sure that you are hydrated and well nourished to will help keep your energy and focus levels high throughout the day.
Working in bursts of 60 to 90 minutes and then taking a short break for 5 to 10 minutes, is also shown to keep focus, concentration and productivity high. Slaving away on one activity for hours on end is not the best way to work. Don’t work on any activity for more than 90 minutes before you have a break.
Stress management techniques such as stretching, exercise, meditation, listening to music or self massage will also assist busy mums balance out their energy levels, keeping them productive throughout their day. Schedule these into your calendar too!
It’s also important to stay connected with a network of other business people. This may mean attending a regular face-to-face networking event (if you can) or staying in touch via social media or email with other business owners. Networking is a fabulous way to help you stay motivated, informed and enthusiastic for the work you are creating.
If you are a single parent can you set up baby sitting swaps with other Mums to give you some uninterrupted time to work on your business? Is there a family member or friend who can help out, even just one afternoon a week, to give you quality time in your business.
And how can you minimise travel time or use travel time to best advantage? If you commute on public transport can you return emails, research or write social media posts on the train? If you drive can you return a phone call (hands free only of course) or listen to a podcast to keep you up-to-date in your Industry? You may also find that this is a great time for you to relax and recharge so that you are more productive when you get to work. The point is, you need to plan out how you will use your time and stick to it.
The mums that I know use creative and innovative ways to grow their business that helps them achieve the best business and family blend. Use a calendar, set times for doing things rather than ‘To-do’ lists and get going!