14 tips for being the best BusinessMum
I know how the days go rushing by in whirl of family, work, house, work, and more work! Trying to fit it all in, and have some sanity time often feels like an impossible task, leaving you drained and desperate to hide away! Here’s a few tips on being the best BusinessMum that you can be, based on the last 26 years of being in Business while bringing up my delightful brood, who are now aged 27, 24, 21 and 9!
1. Know what you want: Each year I start a new year with my list of what I would like to achieve and what my targets are. This is themed around 4 areas of life 1. Fitness and Health 2. House 3. Activities and Holidays 4. Work and Ambitions. I scribble all sorts of ambitions on there, and divide it into the months of the year so I know which targets I need to achieve for the next step, for example if I want to go on holiday in August I need to start saving. If I want to run a half marathon in September I need to plan my training. If I want to do a course in WordPress then I have to factor in when that will happen around my current work.
2. Be organised: Do not set off on a journey without knowing where you want to end up, you must define your map. Write down what needs to be done and what you want to do to achieve your targets. A planner or diary helps to plot out what needs doing from day to day. Set yourself a daily, weekly and monthly task list and put it on a noticeboard where you can see it. Renew your daily task list each evening, it should only take 10 minutes and make sure you refer to your weekly and monthly task list when updating your daily one so you don’t miss any important activities or deadlines.
3. Routine: I often have so much to remember that certain tasks may be forgotten, despite referring to my daily task list. It’s important to keep a routine, not only so that you do not have to rely on memory but also because it is good for your children to have routines. It adds comfort in knowing what comes next in their day, which builds confidence, and allows them to take responsibility for certain tasks. As they get older the responsibility grows steadily, developing confident, happy children who are less likely to forget their spelling books or gym kit.
4. Include a business routine: Keep your routine in your business day too, for example check emails 3 times a day and act on them. Do not keep randomly checking emails throughout the day and then not making time to act on them because you were actually in the middle of something. Allocate your day the night before, allowing for some random time in case something changes. If you work from home, keep the office routine as if you were clocking on, including factoring in breaks.
5. Focus: Set a task from your task list and do it to completion. You may have a whole bucket full of tasks to get through, but focus on priorities and completion. Ticking off tasks that are done feels so good! If concentration is an issue, give yourself timed tasks. See how much you can get done in 45 minutes, reward yourself with a drink and a 5 minute break then return for 45 minutes.
6. Delete, remove and throw: If there’s anything that you don’t need to do, that has no relevance to what you want to achieve or what you have to do, delete it! Whether that is sales emails for something you might possibly buy next year, a phone call from a friend who always bitches about her husband, or the pair of trousers that your baby grew out of 2 years ago, throw it out, delete it, remove it from your life – it is cluttering up your energy, space and time – you do not need it.
7. Delegate: Your child of 8 years old can pack their own school bag; your husband can make his own lunch; each member of the household over the age of 3 can remove their dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket (put a laundry basket in each bedroom if it helps); every person over the age of 3 can help to clear up after every meal. Make it routine that everyone helps where they are capable of helping. This works in business too – everyone who is involved and/or employed in the business can keep their spaces tidy, and be an ambassador of the business, do not leave it all to the Marketing specialist, if you’re lucky enough to have one! You can delegate some tasks to digital tools too, for example payments can be scheduled by Direct Debit, social media can be scheduled by programmes such as Hootesuite, saving you valuable time.
8. Delay: prioritising tasks is important. If your credit card payment day is the 2nd of the month then schedule it to arrive that day, is there any need to pay earlier? Tasks that have a longer timeframe can be scheduled later, as long as they are on your to do list and you do not over delay!
9. Do: I will borrow Nike’s strapline for a moment to say ‘Just Do It’ – stop putting it off, get it out the way, get it done!
10. Be reasonable: You may have a whole load to get done, but you have to be reasonable with yourself and remember that you can only do so much in one day. Do not get stressed out about the little things that don’t matter – the lower priority jobs can be done when you have a few spare minutes, if they don’t get done of day 1 of your list then do not worry. If they are still on your task list by day 10 then you need to ask yourself if it really needs doing (see delete or delegate above).
11. Be flexible: Things happen to surprise you, particularly when you have adventurous children like mine! You may need to take time out to be a taxi service to the doctors, or see your little one perform in the school play. These moments are important for Mum and child, if you can attend then do so, but do not allow the guilt to set in if it can’t fit in with work.
12. Time management: Try to make appointments at the beginning or the end of the day to make the most of your time. Get up early and go to bed at a decent time, only allowing a few exceptions. Being tired drains your ability to work and to be a good parent, factor in your sleeping hours to make sure you get as much as you need. If you have young children, you may need to learn the art of cat napping to keep sane during those hectic BusinessMum years. Breaths of fresh air and sipping cold water, help to deal with tiredness temporarily to help you through the day.
13. Seek Help, guidance and a confidante: Whether life is going well, or if it isn’t, you must make sure you have someone to talk to, someone to confide in, and someone to share your ideas with. Do not exclude yourself from the world. Husbands, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, siblings, older children, colleagues and best friends should be there to help, to advise, give you guidance, listen to your dreams and hear your tears. Make the most of them.
14. Be positive: When you’re tired and anxious it can be so hard to enjoy your days, and getting bogged down in negativity can impact on your health relationships and your business. It is important to remain positive and enjoy your time as you’re living it now. I’ve coached many entrepreneurs and CEO’s whose negativity has nearly resulted in tearing family’s apart and killing businesses, life should never get so bad that you hate to get out of bed in the morning. Take positive action if you feel everything is getting too much. Every morning, think about what makes you happy? What are you grateful for? What do you love about your life? In the words of Peter Pan ‘Think Happy Thoughts’ – your family, and your business, needs your positivity to thrive.
Some of these points you may be already doing, and perhaps you think about doing some of them, or not at all. Try to get a balance of thinking, doing and enjoying in your life, always enjoy the moment you are in before its gone. Your children won’t stay little for long and nothing is permanent, life is always changing. Make sure you and your brood are changing, learning, growing and happy Good luck to all the BusinessMum’s out there! Let me know how you’re getting on.