What’s not to love about summer with young children? The kiddos and I can play outside longer and stay up later. (What bedtime?!) There’s no homework to get done, no school lunch to pack. Nothing but freedom… Sweet freedom.
We get to spend more quality time together, so as a parent, I look forward to summer.
Buuut as an entrepreneur, summertime can be, ahem, complicated.
With our little monkeys at home during the day, it can be hard to get the kind of heads-down focus that we small-biz owners need — especially since some of us work from home and can’t always disappear to a separate office suite.
So, how can you survive the summer while keeping your business, your kids, and yourself happy? Here are my top four tips.
#1 – Have a Plan of Attack
Whether you’re working from a home office or an off-site suite, do yourself (and your business) a favor by planning your days strategically. Put together a plan of attack for your To-Do List and stick to it.
What’s your morning routine like during the summer? Is it working? What’s the most important thing you need to do before 1 pm? Before 5 pm?
Every night, try to imagine what you can do to make the upcoming day easier. The possibilities are endless… For example, if you’re doing a half-day in the office so you can have a fun outing with the kiddos in the afternoon, prepare as much as you can for your office day and for your afternoon excursion. What small work tasks can you do tonight? Can you pre-pack your bag of goodies and snacks for the kids?
#2 – Have ANOTHER Plan of Attack
You’ve created a strategy for yourself, but to really take advantage of summer, make sure that your kids have their own plans of attack.
Your child can have a fun “summer job” when you give him or her a routine and a to-do list of their own. My son often spends a couple of days each week in the office with me during the summer months. In addition to any small tasks he can help with in the office (he’s the best stamp-putter-onner), he has a backpack full of things (which was packed the night before, of course) that he can do to keep himself occupied during my work day.
When you plan out what the day holds for your child, neither of you will have to wonder, “Okay, what do we do now?”
#3 – Get Some Help
If you’re keeping half an eye on a six-year-old, you can’t expect yourself to be as focused as you would normally be. Instead of getting down on yourself for it, let’s honor the reality of the situation.
While there are a million perks when working from home, summertime can pose challenges you might not have in a traditional office environment. This is why you owe it to yourself to invest in a babysitter, if even for just a few hours a day so you can get some uninterrupted work time.
Even if you’re working from home, a babysitter could be your best (and unofficial) summer employee. As entrepreneurs, we know of a number of things we can outsource – don’t forget about this very important option.
#4 – Be Your Best Boss Ever
Don’t forget that you’re working for yourself here. Chances are, you became an entrepreneur because you wanted some freedom, right?
When my son is out of school for the summer, my team and I close the office on Fridays. It was a tough decision, but I’ve never regretted it. Now, does this put us on a time-crunch between Monday and Thursday? Abso-freaking-lutely. But I’d rather work super-hard for four days, then enjoy a relaxed three-day weekend with my family for the summer months.
When you work for yourself, you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to create your perfect work schedule.
Whether you’re working from home or in an office suite, don’t forget that you started your business to live your dream. And that dream usually involves more quality family time than what our corporate jobs allowed us.
My biggest fear is that I’ll blink and suddenly find that summers with my kids are a thing of the past. I want to savor those rare, little moments, and you probably do, too.
Your business shouldn’t stop you from living the life you want to live — it should HELP you do that! Enjoy the sunshine, friends!
About Emily D. Tisdale, Founder & CEO
Meet the brains — and heart — behind LEAP for Women. Emily is LEAP’s guiding force, committed to supporting women entrepreneurs at every stage in their journey.
She loves LEAP because:
A resident of Indiana, Emily prides herself on being a transplanted Hoosier and enjoys watching Colts football and spending time with her husband and their two children.