I run my own copywriting business, am completing a degree and have two children aged 4 and 5 (oh, and a husband and a shrimp!). I often get told ‘I don’t know how you do it all’.
First off, I’ll dispel that myth, I don’t do it all, but I do manage to get a lot achieved most days, so here’s some of my tips to balancing it all –
For me that means
- I plan our weeks’ meals ahead of the week, so that I can put it into my online food shop, which I religiously book weekly. I have a pretty good grasp of what’s happening most weeks, so it’s straightforward to plan (although there was the notorious ‘prosecco Friday’ where all that arrived was two bottles of prosecco as I’d forgotten to finish the shop).
- Be strict about your work. If you need to, use a timetable to mark out when you’re working. As a freelancer I have to be strict with myself. I make sure I work three hours in the morning when everyone is at school. I squeeze in an hour after nursery when my daughter is chilling, and usually I do another hour or so in the evening. Once a week my daughter is at nursery all day, which means I can do more on those days. I use the weekend to catch up with my degree, but when that comes to an end in May I’ll be pleased to have my weekends back!
- Answer all texts/letters/emails immediately. I go through school bags as soon as we get home, that way I can answer any party invites, mark down on my calendar and diary anything important and generally be on top of what’s needed from school. I make sure I check my phone’s messages and emails and try very hard to answer them immediately. Otherwise I forget instantly…
- Shop online as often as you can. That includes food, cards (I highly recommend Moonpig, as you can put reminders in which is brilliant and even book cards to be posted a few week’s in advance) and clothes.
This covers a lot of areas
- Be honest with yourself. How much work can you do? I know I can do approximately 20-25 hours a week.
- Be honest with your employers (if you work for someone), if they’re giving you too much work, or under the wrong idea of when you’re available, you need to be clear. I will answer my work phone in the mornings and I’ll keep an eye on my work email all day, but I won’t take business calls after school, that’s time for the children.
- Be honest with your family. If you’ve got a big work project on, make your family aware that way they know not to expect too much
You cannot do it all. I promise that’s impossible. Whether that’s making all food from scratch, creating fun and interesting craft projects, keeping a clean house, working and looking after the children… you cannot achieve everything all the time.
Once you allow yourself the opportunity to f*ck things up once in a while, you’ll be much less hard on yourself. If there are shortcuts, take them. If you can afford to get some help, do it.
And make sure you don’t say yes to everything!
What about yout? What advice do you have for working from home?