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Work for yourself and work from home

Working for yourself can free up time to spend with the kids, but it’s still a major juggling act. Louise Ramsay offers some tips on how to get the balance right Work for yourself and work from home

Time off to look after your sick child, making it to the school gates for pick up and seeing every nativity play. Any parent worth their salt wants to do all these things, but negotiating a deal with the boss to do it can be an uphill struggle.

It’s why working for yourself can sound so appealing - you choose when you work, putting in the hours that suit you. Of course, you don’t want to undermine your business by not putting in enough hours, but there are lots you can do to ensure you get the best of both worlds.

Kill the commute

A big bonus of working for yourself is you decide where the offi ce is. No longer need you waste hours a day on a journey to and from work.

Perhaps you can base your business from home, or if not you can opt to set up close to where you live. If that isn’t possible, you could even move close by to your business location - if it’s an area you’d like to live.

The fact you can choose your business location is all part of the joy of it. The benefi ts are that both work and home will most likely be close to your children’s schools, so easy for you to pop back and forth as need be.

Work at night

The ability to choose when you work is another benefit of running your own business. If you’re needed at home, you can often bring unfinished business along with you, meaning you’re there for the children.

To get the best out of this, try not to take calls or work on your laptop during family time. Getting ratty in the middle of a business call when your six year old decides telly is boring and wants you to play football instead doesn’t do your business or your child any favours.

Put in the hours with the kids and go back to work once they’re in bed. Likewise, you can start work before they get up, meaning you’ve already got a head start on the day before everyone else has even got out of bed.

Be super organised

Every morning, create a to-do list for the day ahead. This should include professional tasks such as meetings with clients and family commitments, such as running a stall at the school fete or having children over for a play date.

Plan the days and weeks ahead in your calendar and include every family obligation you hope to make, however small it may appear. Ensure you aim to prioritise family over business commitments at least 90 per cent of the time. If you can’t make a business commitment, ensure that you reorganise well ahead through friendly, personable communications.

People can handle change if you make them feel important in the process of it. Remember, there will always be more business opportunities, but there will never be another chance to see your five year old do the very best she can to win the egg and spoon race.

Learn to let go

A typical trait of an entrepreneur is to do everything themselves, but learning to let go and allowing others to do what you can’t is important to work-life balance - as well as to business success.

You need to build a business culture that doesn’t rely on you micromanaging every decision. Instead, let it find its own wings and learn to fly.

If you employ others, make sure they’re not just capable of working on their own initiative, but they also share the same beliefs that you do. This way you can delegate tasks and feel confident they’ll be done to your standards.

It’s okay to ask for help

The idea is that you’ve gone into business so you can be with your kids more, but this doesn’t mean you have to be there for them all the time. Developing a network of other parents who can help out every now and again is a brilliant way to get you out of tight spots. Offer to help out with their kids and you’re halfway there.

Be careful though that you don’t ask for help too often and ensure your need is genuine. If you’re going to be five minutes late, the school will look after your child until you get there. You don’t need to use up any carefully saved brownie points by asking another parent to pick them up for you - save favours for when you really need them.

Seeing you negotiate for help with other parents is also a good way to build social skills in your own children.

Stay strong

If you think a lot of this sounds exhausting, you’re right. Make sure you schedule in rest time so you don’t burn out and remember, being around for your children is priceless.

If you’re tired, the temptation will be to eat convenience foods high in fats and carbohydrates to quickly restore energy, but in the long run you’ll sink only lower.

Keep up your strength by eating nutritious foods and building exercise into your daily routine. It takes a bit of extra effort, but ideally you’ll be providing healthy meals for your children, so ensure you do the same for yourself. Doing so will give you more energy, not just for your business, but also for your kids. Read more like this

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