It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>
Summer is in full swing and a lot of people have been asking me about my kids daily to do lists and how I keep them motivated around the house every year during the summer so I can get work done. Instead of just me posting, I thought I'd put the question out to get even more feedback.
So, this week I asked our experts….
If you have kids at home —
how do you manage your home
during the summer to actually get work done?
Include schedules, too, if you have them. Thanks!
I hope you find something in this week's post to help make your own summer break a little less stressful.
Tiffany Dow of The Guide to Shiny Object Syndrome says:
I have three kids at home – a college student, one transitioning from middle into high school, and an elementary school student. When they’re home during the summer, I am in Heaven! But like all kids, it can pose a distraction for me when I need to get things done.
I’ve made the mistake of being a night owl and trying to work past the bedtime of my kids, just so I could spend the daylight hours focused on them, but then I found that I was too tired during the day to work or play.
For me personally, during the school years, I end up losing over two hours a day just driving the kids to and from school. When summer comes, I gain two extra hours, which I love.
A typical schedule for me during the summer is like this:
Wake up between 6-8 AM (because after all, what good is summer if we can’t enjoy not living by an alarm clock?).
Go to bed around 9-10 PM.
Everything in between is a lovely combination of work, cooking and playing with my kids. I don’t live by a schedule. I make breakfast, lunch and dinner when we’re hungry. I take the kids swimming for a couple of hours if the weather happens to be nice.
I like to run errands during regular working hours so that stores are not crowded. I technically work from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, but each day is filled with breaks and cooking with my kids and maybe a TV show or two.
I don’t track time. I live according to what moments my kids need with me and what tasks I have to get done that day. If my daughter says, “Hold me, Mommy!” then I drop the keyboard and hold her.
If I know I need to get something out that day because my subscribers are counting on me, then I tell my kids that morning and they work together to help each other so that they interrupt me less. I’m sure to thank them when I’m done for being so good to me and letting me accomplish my work.
I wish I could provide the perfect “work at home Mom” schedule that’s rigid and foolproof, but I can’t. I don’t even want to. I want to say this: THE biggest perk of this career path is getting to enjoy all of these precious moments with our kids.
So soak it up during the summertime. They’re grown before you know it. Work can wait. Even if you have to set your alarm earlier so that you can get more done, make the effort. You’ll enjoy your summer more when you relax and realize that most tasks can wait.
One thing I’d like to add to this. My subscribers and I recently had a conversation about the noisiness that kids bring. I’ve turned everything (TV, video games, talking) into white noise. When voices become high pitched (like my daughter saying, “STOP IT, SHAWN!”) I instantly tune in and address it.
Carol Amato recommended a great site to help train you for white noise while working. It’s free and it’s called coffitivity.com. It’s really neat and the key is to put it really low and train your mind to work around noise.
Connie Ragen Green of Affiliate Marketing Inside Secrets says:
I do not have kids at home, but I do spend about eight weeks each summer with some or all of my six grandkids. Four of these incredible children live in Finland, so while I am there I get up very early – three or four in the morning – to do my work online. They get up around six or seven and by then I've done as much as I intended to do that day. A couple of times a week it all catches up with me and I simply take a nap that afternoon. The oldest is twelve years old now, so she and I have our own work area when she happens to get up early to see what I'm doing.
When the two stateside grandsons are with me I work around their busy schedules. They are both involved in organized sports, so I attend every practice and game and do not work at all during that time.
Two years ago I started teaching them what I do online, so now we all seem to be working a few hours each day on our businesses. They are homeschooled, and this has been an important part of their education.
I would encourage anyone with children in their life to include them in what you do, as much as possible. As a former classroom teacher I feel strongly about sharing this type of information with kids from an early age.
Felicia Slattery of Signature Speech Secrets says:
My girls (ages 8 and 10) finished school for the summer on May 24. And now I'm stuck trying to figure out what to do with them for the summer. Lucky for me is there's this thing called the Internet :-).
So far, I've found a site that has a cool list of 50 free things to do with kids in the summer, a bunch of kid-friendly recipes, and affordable summer camps for both my girls.
On the days where they won't be occupied outside our house, my schedule will include work time for me from about 7-Noon, with breaks for getting them breakfast and keeping them occupied with various activities from cleaning out their closets, junk drawers, toys in the basement playroom, and more chores. After that, they have lots of self-invented games they like to play including School (I know, go figure), Barbies, and putting on plays that require hours of practice. In the afternoons, I'll take them to the neighborhood pool and let them play with friends outside as much as possible.
June is Effective Communications Month, so I'll be busy offering webinars, teaching classes and creating content for my community. This summer I've scheduled one evening class based on my 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking that will run for 6 weeks. Daddy will be home then to take care of the troops while I work for an hour an evening once a week.
We have a couple of vacations planned and I won't work much (if at all) during those times. We love summer and always have fun, while I always make money!!
Susanne Myers of Daily Affiliate Tasks says:
Summers are always a challenge for me. My main work time during the rest of the year is while my daughter is in school. There are a few things I’ve figured out over the past few years that made my life a lot easier. Some of them I mentioned in last year’s post including not scheduling any major projects and getting work done ahead of time.
This year I’m aiming to do something that’s worked very well last summer. My goal is to get up at least an hour or two before the rest of my family does. Since they are all late sleepers and years of having to get up early has me waking at the crack of dawn anyway, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. I should be able to get most of my work done before the rest of them are up and had their coffee, leaving me free the rest of the day to go explore, hang out at the beach and the likes.
I’m also looking into some summer programs that will keep my daughter entertained for a few hours a week, while giving me a chance to sneak in a few more hours of concentrated work. It always amazes me how much I can get done when I know that’s the only work time I have.
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
My kids are 11 and 16 but this is the system that we've been using since they were each toddlers. Why? Because it's the closest thing to sanity that I can arrange here.
We have a daily checklist that the kids must complete before the TV goes on, the computer goes on, or any game systems get turned on. They also must complete their daily list before friends are allowed in the house.
I found that, if I left the time limit open, that the lists wouldn't get done. However, if they know they can work through their tasks faster and be free of my tyranny – they work through it better. 🙂
Here's their list that I posted two years ago. It's pretty much the same today. You can click on it to view it in pdf format.
The other benefits are this…
1. The kids know what the expectations are in advance. They are better equipped to succeed.
2. My husband and I are on the same page, because the rules are in black and white.
3. I'm not chasing the kids around all day saying “Did you brush your teeth?” or “Have you cleaned up the backyard?” I look at their chart and it's right there in front of me.
4. It teaches the kids that habits are important. And, that a family works on routine. All good stuff. 🙂
I print it out weekly and they just check off the days as they go through them. If everything gets done during the week, they earn bonuses.
For instance, my son has a Gamefly account. He keeps it as long as the backyard is cleaned up daily. If there is an issue, he gets downgraded from 2 games/month to 1 and then to zero. It really never becomes an issue. He's really very self-motivated when he knows the rules. My daughter on the other hand… is a bit more of a battle.
My son is also taking some classes through Florida Virtual School to earn more high school credits again this summer which keeps him busy. And, he is doing some work for me in our business, but I'm not utilizing him enough yet.
Also during summer, I try to limit work to 1-2 hours per day – Monday-Friday. Some days, I work 10 minutes – just to quick check email for emergencies. Others are closer to 3 hours Am I letting some things drop? Yes. But, I'm finding that the important things, like getting a pedicure with my daughter – are getting done. And, it really helps me to sit down and FOCUS on projects and tasks that make me money.
Please share your tips. I'd love to hear them. Also, I'm working on a book about working from home. So stay tuned for that soon. 🙂