The baby is crying, the toast is burning, you can’t find the paperwork you need for that new client and some days you wonder if the madness will ever end. Juggling a business and a family creates challenges that you might not have expected. Fortunately, others have paved the way before you and implementing just a few of the ideas of other successful entrepreneurs can help achieve success both at work and at home.
Keep To-Do Lists
When you don’t know whether to butter your contract or sign your toast, start by creating a to-do list. A simple notebook or an Excel spreadsheet works to list the items you need to complete. Most mom entrepreneurs choose to keep one large list that has both work and personal items. This is easier than flipping back and forth between lists.
- Do list items in order of importance
- Do list small and big tasks
- Do cross items off as they are completed
- Do keep a daily to-do list and a weekly list so you can see what work is upcoming
Forgetting to flip a grilled cheese and scraping the burnt sections off the sandwich is much less devastating to your business than forgetting an important meeting or deadline. Use automated reminders to keep you on track and ensure you don’t forget an important appointment.
Utilize smart phone apps like TextMinder. Many e-mail clients offer free reminder services as well, especially those that are integrated with an online calendar like Yahoo or Gmail. You could also utilize a free online reminder service like Freminder.com or Memo to Me.
As your professional career grows, you’ll have less time for tasks at home. Finding an excellent support team to fill the gap is a vital part of being successful as both a solo entrepreneur and in running your household. The easiest place to start is with tasks you don’t mind passing on to someone else. For example, hiring someone to clean your windows in the spring gets the job done and frees up your time to build your business. Consider hiring help for daily tasks, such as:
- Common house cleaning tasks
- Meal preparation
- Part-time childcare
- Errand running
- Paperwork filing
Learn to Multi-Task
The most successful business owners learn to do more than one thing at a time. While you don’t want to make a business call while the baby wails in the background, you could start dinner and make a quick phone call while the pasta boils.
- Do go over contracts or proposals while waiting at the doctor’s or dentist’s office
- Do check e-mail on a smart phone while in line at the grocery store
- Do go through bits of mail while waiting in line at the bank or fast food drive through
- Do catch up on reading during slow moments at your child’s practices or games
Cut Out Time Wasters
According to A.C. Nielsen Company, the average American household has the television on 6 hours and 47 minutes each day. Add to that our obsession with social media and you can see where most people waste time. Of course, everyone needs entertainment and a release to lower stress levels, so it’s probably a good idea to limit your television and Internet play time rather than cut it out altogether.
One free download that is very helpful in limiting social media and online game playing is called Cold Turkey. Download the freeware and set the clock for as long as you’d like. Have a big project due at the end of the week? You can turn off your access to Facebook, Twitter and online games until the project is done.
Although many of these ideas save time and allow mompreneurs to juggle home life and work life, keep in mind that there are times when you should separate work and home and not let the two overlap. On the business end, you want to appear professional. On the home front, it is important to be present. Don’t multi-task during important moments such as when your daughter scores the winning goal at her soccer game or your son sings a solo in the school play. Children grow up quickly, so finding the perfect balance between building your business and building life-long memories is as important as keeping an ongoing to-do list.