How do you do it...?

At the start of the summer holidays I wrote this blog, them promptly ran out of available hours in the day to post it. The thing is, at the start of the summer holidays I felt utterly in control and on top of everything but as the week’s went on I got more stressed and more overwhelmed. I’ve been pulling 12 hour days (with minimal sleep) to get back on top.

What I’m saying is that organisation is key and really important to making things work and go and smoothly as possible but we all face overwhelm and stress too and it’s how you handle that that matters.

Anyway, this is how I started with good intentions and how I regained control…

Over the summer holidays the one thing I hear the most is “I don’t know how you do it”. Actually, scratch that the words I hear the most are “mummy, mummy, mummy” but the first come a close second.

In some ways- and I know this makes me sound like a terrible parent- but in some ways I dread the school holidays. I love spending time with the children but I also love my business, my clients and the work I do and from a more practical perspective, being self employed means that if I don’t work, I don’t earn! In both scenarios it just isn’t viable to take 5 entire weeks off.

So back to the original question, how do I do it? Well the first key is hardly surprisingly- it’s pre planning. The 5 weeks are plotted out (yes, I’m sad enough to have a chart) commitments, invites, birthdays and childcare offers can all go in and then you can see the size of the problem. From there it’s about deciding when to take off, when to work, how will you look after the kids.

Next you need to look at your fixed commitments- Do you have weekly meetings, but can they be done over the phone? Do you reports or invoices you need to collate and submit, but can they be done remotely? Do you have a recurring appointment you absolutely have to attend? Once these are dropped into the plan you’ll start to see the shape of how you’re going to work.

After that stage I’d suggest you look at your clients and their holiday plans. Does a client away for 2 weeks mean the work load drops off or does it increase to cover the slack? That could mean the difference between you taking a block of time off or days here and there.

You also want to stop thinking 9-5, which if you own a business you’ve probably forgotten how to do anyway. The days I have ‘off’ with the children I tend to work after they’re in bed, my 9-5 becomes 7-12 or 5am until they’re up. It’s about using the time you do have effectively... without over doing it. Plus, there’s always tv if you need a quiet half hour to make a call.

I’m going to call this: CHOFF