A Mompreneur is creative and resourceful!
Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard the pitches for the productivity and time management courses. And then, of course, you’ve seen all the planners that promise to turn your chaos into instant order. The problem is that so many online business courses and productivity tools assume that you have 8-12 hours per day to work on your business. That is just not the case for many people. Especially for a mompreneur who has her kids home all or most of the day.
I’ve had kids home all or most of the day for over 23 years because here’s the thing… I’ve been homeschooling since my oldest was in kindergarten. I have 6 kids and my youngest is nine. I’ve been a mompreneur for 16 of those years, so I’ve HAD to figure out how to get work done with my kids around all day.
So, let’s address the elephant in the room and talk about your day and your schedule. Starting and growing your business is not an easy, effortless task. It requires work. But just like any other worthwhile endeavor, growing a business is worth the effort we put into it.
And, as you know, pretty much anything worth doing in life requires some effort and planning on our part.
It’s important to keep that in mind, but also keep in mind this fact. Work is never truly done. There will always more to do. If you clean the entire kitchen, it looks great for about five minutes. Or about as long as it takes for somebody to walk through with dirty feet or a growling tummy.
You could clean the kitchen all day, but should you? You could work on your business all day long also, but should you? I would argue no. I would argue this even for the person who has nothing else to do. Work has its place, but it should be kept in its place. Your business can take over your life if you let it, so don’t let it. Even if you LOVE your business (I do!), it’s still important that we nurture the other aspects of our lives, most especially, our families. Remember that, as a mompreneur, you are the boss and get to decide how much of your day and/or your week you will devote to it.
Here are five tips for setting up your work schedule, based on principles that have worked well for me.
- Two to five hours per day is plenty of time.
- The time of day isn’t so important, but consistency is. It could be afternoon, late night, or early morning.
- Find a time or place that’s not prone to interruptions, because, for every interruption, it takes 20 minutes to get back into the zone, which is the time when you’re really focused and getting a lot of work done.
- “If you don’t write it down, it isn’t real,” quote by Tony Robbins. So make appointments with yourself literally. Write down the times that you will work on your weekly or monthly schedule. And then honor yourself by keeping those appointments.
- And finally, don’t multitask. Be present, right where you are, because your time is precious. Don’t waste it. Be intentional with it.
We all know this to be true, but it’s worth saying. Don’t multi-task, but be present where you are. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve tried to do too many things at once and we’ve ruined something.
Some people are determined that they are great multi-taskers, but you only have 100% focus. No more, and when you’re dividing it between two or more objects or tasks, nothing gets your undivided attention. Sometimes it’s the burnt dinner that suffers or the receiver of the sloppy text message or the child who is trying to tell you something of the utmost importance. I don’t have to preach to the choir. I know that you know, that this is true. So, don’t try to work on your business when you’re watching your kids. Your work will be half-baked and take twice as long or your kids will feel that you’re not listening or not available to help them with their needs and probably both will be true. So, be present where you are.
Part of figuring out your schedule is determining who will watch your kids if they are home with you all day. Childcare doesn’t need to be expensive either. There are some free options, but to use them, we’ll have to get resourceful to create the opportunities. Feel free to download the PDF version of this blog post to save and refer to again later.
Here are some of the ways you can free up some time during the day to work on your business.
- Playdate Swap: You can trade babysitting or playdates with a friend. She can probably use some time to work on projects too. Put your swaps on the calendar and make it part of your regular routine.
- Mother’s Helper: Consider hiring a teenager to come over for a couple hours after school each day to play with the kids.
- Grandparents: Generally, grandparents love any excuse to spend time with the kids. Ask them if it can become part of the regular schedule.
- Older Child: If you have an older child, say 12 or up, hire him or her to babysit the other kids. You will need to give the child power to make decisions, back him or her up in front of the younger kids, and then correct (if necessary) in private.
- Husband: Plan your work around your husband’s schedule. Discuss this in advance.
- Nap Time: If your kids are still young, you can try to work during naps. But this is dicey.
- Quiet time: More predictable than nap time, teach and train your children to spend quiet time reading or listening to audiobooks (or napping) for 60-120 minutes each afternoon.
- Early Mornings: Get up 2 to 3 hours before your kids do. Stay focused.
- Late Nights: While potentially difficult because you may be sleep deprived, late nights provide a quiet time to work.
- Weekends: If you husband is game, a long Saturday of work may do the trick. Maybe the absolute best way to get some uninterrupted time to work on your business is to schedule it on the weekends when your spouse is around to help out with the kids.
I’ve used all of these tactics throughout the years.
When I first began my business, I used to trade play-dates with a friend and work during her shift with the kids. Later, my mother-in-law moved next door and used to have the kids over for lunch almost every day (but that was before her dementia got so bad). Now I work around my husband’s work schedule, who also works from home. He works from 7am to 1pm, and then I work from 1pm to 5pm. He works 6 hours; I work 4. We both love our work/life balance!
I used to be a night owl, but not anymore. If I have a deadline closing in or a launch in the works, I will get up early to work for a couple hours before the kids get up.
Now, this brings us to the question: When will you not work? Just as important as it is to schedule your work time, it’s also important to block out your non-work time. If you want to take weekends off, mark out those days on your calendar with the words: Day Off. If you’re planning a vacation this summer, mark those days as off as well.
As strange as it sounds, there is something addictive about work. Especially when you begin to see the money roll in, so be careful that you don’t let your business consume your family time. I have a big desk calendar on which I write the days that I will take off. At the beginning of the calendar year, I mark off the days we’ll be gone on vacation. As the year progresses, I’ll scratch off more days when something more spontaneous comes up. Be generous with your family time because being a mom takes precedence over being a mompreneur.
Here’s your homework:
I want you to head over to the local office supply store and pick up a calendar or an appointment book of some type. It can be small enough to fit into your purse or large enough to lay flat on your desk. Mark off the days that you will not work. Then write in the dates and times that you will work and arrange for childcare on those days.
Your business deserves your full attention, just as your children need your full attention when you are with them. This is the beautiful and full life of a mompreneur. Embrace it. Your kids will be okay without you for a couple hours; in fact, if you’re fully present when you spend time with them, they’ll be happy to support you in your business endeavors when you step into your “no interrupt” zone. In fact, it’s going to teach them about healthy boundaries for work and home life.
Feel free to download the PDF of this blog post so that you can refer to it again later:
You are an amazing sacrificial mom and a creative, productive mompreneur. May God bless you deeply for the devotion and time that you lavish upon your kids and for the time and effort that you direct toward your business.
Your Mompreneur Mentor,