As mothers and business owners, it’s easy to slip into the mindset that you need to do it all. After all, the thinking goes, the more you do for your business and the more you work, the more money you’ll make. Since you’re home, why not do the laundry, clean the house, and cook all the meals, while you’re at it? Just writing this line, I picture myself zipping from office to laundry room – kitchen to the phone like a madwoman.
Although it would be great to be able to do it all, this mindset is not sustainable, and, over time, can seriously damage your health, your business, and your relationships. It’s important to implement habits that promote physical, mental, and financial wellness. To do that, you have to let go of the mindset that says you have to do it all.
This week, we’d like to share with you three tips to help you juggle a growing business and a growing family that you can simply add to your life.
1) Set Realistic Work Hours
Running your business from home does not mean you have to work a 12-hour workday. Or that you should spend your late nights, early mornings, and weekends “catching up” on work. Many mothers and home-based business owners toggle between work-related tasks and household chores throughout the day. This may give the illusion of multitasking, but in reality, you often just start five different tasks and end up frustrated.
According to a study conducted by The Cleveland Clinic, only about 2.5% of people are truly able to multitask. The study also finds that “When we think we’re multitasking, most often we aren’t really doing two things at once – but instead, individual actions in rapid succession”. An attempt to multitask hampers our ability to properly complete even the simplest tasks. In addition, multitasking negatively impacts attentiveness, learning, and mindfulness – all things that are essential in running a business. (aka, the idea that you can do it all simultaneously is a myth – stop sabotaging yourself!)
Instead of multitasking, create a realistic work schedule for yourself, one that is healthy, and based on your lifestyle. Understand that not every day will follow the same schedule and not every schedule will go as planned, but time-blocking and keeping a laser-like focus on your top three goals for each day will streamline the chaos and leave you feeling good about what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day. Remember to factor in breaks for lunch and movement, (Think of it as mental stretching and physical fuel.) and resist the urge to sneak household tasks into work time. Sure, throwing in a load of laundry only takes a few minutes, but by the time you add in switching from washer to dryer, folding, and putting the clothes away, that adds up to a lot of time and gets you out of your workflow multiple times throughout the day. Save these tasks before or after your work hours.
The key to implementing realistic work hours and illuminating multitasking is to set realistic to-do lists for yourself and prioritizing just three things that matter most for the day. Remember, even though you may seem like Superwoman to your children and clients, you don’t have to do everything alone or right now, and you shouldn’t.
2) Be Honest With Your Partner
Many women who run their business from home feel pressure to also complete all of the household chores, but this pressure can be extremely toxic for both your work and your family. The notion of being responsible for a disproportionate amount of household chores often happens unintentionally. (I’m home anyway so I can just take care of it, or since you’re home anyway, would you mind just doing this one thing?) It can quickly become the normal routine, however, and can lead to strong negative feelings toward your partner.
This is why it’s so important to talk to your partner about expectations, frustrations, and your priorities as a family. Does this create tension in your relationship? Does it cause you to lose your temper with your children? Of course, we want to take care of our families, keep the home clean, and have healthy home-cooked meals, but when we lack the time to do it well, we pay with our mental and physical health.
Discuss the best possible route for your family. Are there household tasks that constantly pull you away from work? Address them! Perhaps hiring a house cleaner several hours a week can alleviate stress and work without distractions. Perhaps agree to fifteen minutes each night when the whole family pitches in to cook or pick up around the house. Maybe signing up for a meal subscription service can reduce your trips to the grocery store and meal preparation time. Commit to finding the ideal solution for your family.
Be honest with yourself and talk to your spouse. Don’t keep your stress bottled up inside, but instead work together to find a better solution for your family.
3) Consider Hiring a Freelancer
For many business owners, eliminating laundry, cleaning, and cooking still does not create enough time to implement healthy work hours. If this is the case, it may be time to take a serious look at your workload and hire a contractor or freelancer. Oftentimes, business owners spend copious amounts of time working on projects and tasks that they are not able to bill to clients or have not worked into the price of their product.
What’s even more frustrating is that you know you can do other things that would actually make you money and feed your soul instead of bleeding it dry, or simply give you a well-deserved break. Consider examining your weekly tasks under a microscope to help you determine how much time you are spending on tedious or time-consuming tasks and determining if your time can be spent more wisely on something else.
Should You Hire Help?
Hiring help can be a bit intimidating, especially for the first time. The scary thing about growing and expanding your business is managing the expenses of tools, subscriptions, and additional hired help. Are all these things worth it? Will you actually make money? Those are great questions and you should be asking them. To help you determine the value of hiring help for both your business and personal life, we’ve created a handy guide to walk you through it. This guide will help you think about what tasks you should hire help for and help you calculate if it makes sense financially. Click below to download this guide.