Not so long ago, we’d have a clear distinction between work life and home life, even though the lines may have blurred on occasion! Things are far less clear cut these days thanks to the pandemic, where our home is used for work, school and spending 99% of our time together as a family.
While this may make it harder to achieve a good work/life balance, it’s certainly not impossible. Here are the three key steps I suggest you take to help find the best work/life balance for you and your family.
1 – Schedule your time to suit your family
What works for one family isn’t going to work for another, so it may take some trial and error to get things right here but it’s worth taking the effort.
If your children have to study at set hours online with their teachers, chances are you could all be trying to use the internet at the same time. Where possible try to use these times to prioritise tasks that don’t rely on an internet connection, things like:
- your admin – even if they need online submission, you can get things filled in and submitted later
- batch writing blog posts/social media, again these can be scheduled when it suits you
- planning and preparation
- getting some valuable self-care – “me time” in
How independent your children can be with their learning is age-dependent, so you may need to share home-schooling tasks with your partner in order to allocate time for your business activities. Whatever works best for you is the key here, so sit down as a family and have a conversation about how it’s going to work and what may need to change to ensure everyone’s needs are met. It’s a great idea to involve the children in this discussion so they feel included in any decisions that are made.
Remember that setting boundaries is still important here, you can read more on the why and the how of boundary setting in my blog on routines and productivity.
2 – Decide on your contingency plans before they’re needed
It can be difficult to know what might unexpectedly happen to throw things into disarray, like a global pandemic for instance but it is worth having some backup plans in place for things that may go wrong.
Unexpected issues are difficult to plan for because, well, they’re just that, unexpected! Try to think of any disasters that might happen to you, your family or your business so you can prepare for them. Things like ill health, caring for a family member, childcare issues, inability to access work premises, loss of internet, etc are all events that could arise.
So, what can you do to prepare?
Can you move your physical services online? Prepare the infrastructure you’d need to do this now so it’s ready for when you need it and check that your insurance covers you for online work too.
Can you collaborate with others? If you teach yoga and fall sick, is there another local yoga teacher who can cover for you and you cover for them as and when needed?
Can you create evergreen content that’s scheduled in advance? Re-using social media posts is a great way to maintain a presence online and keep your marketing going when you may need to be out of action for a while.
Check your terms and conditions – if you can’t deliver a service what’s in your client agreement/contract about postponements and refunds. Get legal advice to ensure your contracts cover you in unexpected circumstances.
Hopefully, this has given you some idea of what can go into your contingency plans and the kinds of activity you can do now to be prepared to put it into action later should you need to.
3 – Get professional business support from a Virtual Assistant
It’s often been my experience when talking to prospective clients that they were just managing to keep on top of everything when a sudden change means its all got a bit too much and help is needed quickly.
Rather than waiting until things get too much, or one of those unexpected changes arises and you need to put your contingency plan into place; consider outsourcing tasks to a Virtual Assistant now or at least having one on standby for when you need them.
Even outsourcing to a VA for just a few hours a month now can save you time, effort and yes, money too but it also helps you get that working relationship established. You both learn how to work with each other, how to get the most out of the partnership and just what your VA is capable of doing to take your business to the next level.
That way, if things do go awry you already know that you can trust your VA and that they’re ready to step in and ensure your business doesn’t suffer when you need to be absent for a while. Many VAs, like myself, will offer ad hoc services as and when needed so you don’t need to sign up for services now if you’re not ready but you’ll have peace of mind for when they are required.
I hope you’ve found this blog useful and it’s given you some ideas on what you can do today to create a better work/life balance for you and your family. Why not get in touch with me to discover how I can help relieve some of the burden from you with my Virtual Assistant services? That way you can have me waiting in the wings with no commitment so that I’m ready to take on tasks when they arise.