For many parents, working from home is the ideal solution. You can choose your own working hours to fit in around the School run. You can be available to attend Sports days and Nativity plays. However, if your children are younger than School age, off sick from School or it’s the School holidays. You might need to use your best time management skills to ensure that you don’t neglect your business or your children.
Automate, Automate, Automate
Depending what area your business falls into, you might be able to automate some of your tasks. For instance, if you’re an online seller, for a small fee, you can set functions in your website to process sales for you. Just ensure that you have regular advertising set up, driving customers to your website. Credit card payments will then be processed for you and sent to your bank account. An email will be sent stating what has been ordered and by whom. During the School holidays, this can be invaluable as you can spend the days with your children and process any orders in the evening to be dispatched the following morning.
If you work within the areas of Marketing and Social Media, or even if you just like to have a strong Social Media presence. You can schedule content to go out at certain times of the day/week/month. Therefore, if you’re working from home and the School holidays are looming, you can schedule your content the week before. Or you can schedule content each morning for that day. If the content is likely to produce responses, you can reply in the evening. If you send a weekly/monthly newsletter, this can be scheduled in advance too. Look at which regular tasks, you need to do each day/week and decide how much can be prepared in advance and scheduled into the relevant medium.
Check emails only at set times
I always advocate only checking your emails a few times a day. This is a great a time management tool and allows you to focus on one task at a time. During School holidays, this is especially relevant. As you will want to keep track of your business but also ensure that you give your children adequate attention. The ability to receive emails to your mobile phone means that even if you are out for the day, you can check your inbox the allocated number of times. But do not get into the habit of checking every email that comes in. You can also set up an automated email response advising that you will only be checking your emails once a day, so that you do not end up with 3 emails from the same person chasing you.
Outsource, Outsource, Outsource
The great advantage of working from home, is that whilst you are spending time with your children during the holidays you are not paying un-necessary overheads. Therefore, you might want to outsource some of your tasks during this time. For example, Virtual Receptionists will be able to deal with any phone calls. Virtual Assistants can manage your inbox and process any orders you might receive. You never know you might be able to recruit your children to help out with some tasks, whilst they’re off School.
Where you have regular payments to suppliers, set up Direct Debits or recurring bills on your financial system. You can use internet banking to set up payments in the future. Any one-off bills can then be dealt with as and when you get time.
Good time-management allows you to capitalise on the flexibility that working from home gives you. Planning in advance and managing your time to ensure that your business continues to run smoothly, whilst you spend time with your children is vital but easily achievable.
Do you have any tips for Parents that work from home? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor