Written by Ally Loprete
The thought of actually sitting down and scheduling some lazy "do absolutely nothing" time probably seems very stupid as well as a waste of time. Entrepreneurs, especially parents who are constantly on the go between their company and their families, really need to schedule some time to where they just sit back, relax and decompress.
When you are constantly on the go and running all over the place, attempting to work 7 days a week, in between playdates, naps, mealtime, laundry and grocery shopping, not only do you get overly exhausted by the 4th week, you run the risk of beginning to resent your company, the company that you started out loving. You may even begin to resent your children, the ones who you fell so madly in love with, you decided to work from home to be closer to them. Both responsibilites will soon seem like a ball and chain that you can't get away from. This is not why you decided to work from home.
A written schedule can fix all of your problems. This is something that you should do every day of the week, whether you schedule your down time for the Saturday and Sunday weekend, take Monday off of work, take an extra long weekend, or just cut out of work early on one day a week. Your job as a parent continues all week long, so it’s important to account for ALL of your time.
1. Schedule in Realistic times to work, remaining flexible. For me, I am able to work Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons when my oldest son is at preschool and my youngest in napping. Every once in awhile my schedule is blown by an early riser, but it’s a time I can count on for the most part. I can also work for a few hours in the evening when my husband comes home, and Sunday nights when the weekend festivities are over and my husband can take over.
2. Make a list of weekly tasks and dedicate a day to each task. Mondays are for blogging and posting, Wednesdays are for social networking, Fridays are for PR. Evenings are for responding to emails and getting organized for the following day.Weekends are for catching up, but never more than 5 hours in a single weekend.
3. Schedule in “Mommy” or “Daddy” time. I had made a promise to myself and both my sons that each morning until lunchtime I would not work at all. I could schedule playtime, take them to a park, arrange a playdate, or even do some mommy chores, but my laptop was to remain closed. I also used this time to do mommy chores such as go grocery shopping or folding laundry. Because I was able to find ways to include them in these mindless tasks, they did not appear to resent this time as it did not seem like “work” to them.
4. Schedule in time for you. Just as the body needs food to stay nourished and sleep to stay refreshed, taking time to relax and clear your mind will work wonders for your health and your productivity.
5. Schedule time with friends and family. Date night with your spouse, with another couple, game night with neighbors, a visit with relatives, or out with your friends for a social gathering. It’s as important to your sanity as a good night’s sleep. Commit to 1-2 nights a month, if that is all you can squeeze in, but make that minimum a priority. It should give you just enough of a break from your work that you can go back with the same appreciation for your company that you started out having.