Tuesday, 4 April 2017

#worklifebalance ... and the school holidays

So Easter is almost upon us....

Since Becca is still small, I do not get a lot of work done during the weekdays - she'll 'help' with odd bits, and I might manage a bit of packaging up orders while she's entertaining herself. She likes to have me close by during her downtime (ie when she used to nap, but now just chills out watching cbeebies), so I generally spend that cuddling her whilst doing my planning and social media. Emails, phone calls and speaking with suppliers happen as and when through the day (making me feel - and probably look - like I'm constantly on my phone, rather than paying attention to my daughter). By the time both kids are in bed and dinner with my husband is done, it's 9pm and I'm shattered! But that's then my making / website / blogging time for an hour or two. Or drinking #allthewine if it's been a particularly stressful day!!

But then the holidays start, and it all goes to pot! Don't get me wrong, it's so nice to be able to take my big boy along on our mini adventures, but having my deliciously boisterous boy at home as well as my two-year-old little miss does rather change things.

He has his own chest of drawers in the Craftroom :-)
So without further ado, here are my top tips for keeping your small business afloat over the school holidays:
  • The first, and most obvious one is to close for a week, if you can afford to. Turn your shop onto holiday mode, and put out a notice on social media, remembering to include your return date. Then make sure you reply to all emails and send out all orders immediately upon waving your little darlings goodbye at the gate on Monday. Alternatively, you could just pop a banner across the front of your site stating that whilst you are accepting orders, there will be a delay of x days until dispatch. Include a note on any confirmation emails or receipts too, just to cover yourself.
  • Take it in turns with other parents to host a playdate - then you can all get a break at some point! This can work out beautifully over the summer holidays, if you nominate one day a week in which to get the kids together, then every parent (I refuse to generalise and say 'mum') knows they'll have, say, 5 Thursdays out of 6 to themselves.
  • Share out the holiday with your other half if possible. If they can even take just one day off then it all helps, and it shouldn't necessarily all fall to you just because you're self-employed. Your income depends on you actually working, after all! 
  • On the days when you're staying home, or local, try and allocate roughly the same time each day, to some independent play, or down time. Obviously the length of time depends on their age, but I do believe it does everyone good to have to entertain themselves sometimes - plus it helps to punctuate and reset the long day a little. Even just half an hour after lunch each day will help you to get through your emails.
  • Another obvious one, but get making together! Give the kids a box of crafting goodies (or the contents of the recycling box!) and see what they come up with. Or if there's a step in your process that they'd be able to do, such as sticking address labels and decorating packages? Or counting stock! They will feel valued and get a big boost to their self-esteem, knowing that you trust them enough to let them 'work' with you.
  • I don't know about yours, but my kids always behave WAY more nicely at the beginning of the week and then decline towards the end, so plan your activities accordingly! For me this means that we try and plan the big exciting days out for Monday or Tuesday and I don't work at all, and resort to a pyjama-and-movie day on Friday (and I can work next to them)! 
Stock check and blurry photo courtesy of my 6 year-old
There we go - my 6 top tips. How you do manage to get work done during school holidays, whilst also making sure your littles are having fun and quality time? Xx

Post-teatime painting = wine