When I transitioned from working forty hours a week on staff in a nonprofit office in Manhattan to working for myself in my living room in Connecticut after my first daughter was born almost four years ago, it was quite a transition. I often still struggle to “organize my gorgeous chaos,” as the brilliant Angela Jia Kim at Savor the Success encourages us, particularly since my second daughter was born about a year ago.
This time of year can be particularly challenging for those of us parents who work at home in cold climates because snow days and delays can wreak havoc on our routines, forcing us to improvise. Today for example, the roads around our house are a sheet of ice so I may be cooped up in side with my kiddos for the day. But my business still needs to move forward and I’m not willing to forfeit the entire day.
Sound familiar? Here are a few tips I’ve put together to help us all go with the flow without descending into complete chaos:
1. Schedule your social. If you find yourself working with kids in the background, think of things you can do that don’t require complete quiet or total concentration. You’re probably skimming social media anyway, so take a few minutes to schedule your posts for the week (I love the HootSuite dashboard) promoting your business and letting your followers know what you have on the horizon. Or catch up on book-keeping or admin tasks.
2. Redefine productive. So maybe you won’t make a huge dent in your business to-do list on days like this. But you can still accomplish things that free up time and energy once you do get back to business. I’m taking the opportunity today to organize my office, catch up on business blogs I’ve bookmarked, clear out a closet and cook a few meals for the week so that I’m in better shape when I wake up tomorrow. Maybe you’ll call a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with and bounce business ideas off of her, or squeeze a workout in while the kids are occupied.
3. Take a breath. Thankfully in my business, and hopefully in yours too, there are few true emergencies. My family is safe, warm and healthy. My daughters are watching me build my business with joy and freedom; in time, they will learn that it’s okay to amuse themselves for a bit while I get some work done.
4. Know when to hang it up. I’m getting as much done this morning as I can because I know I’ll reach a point this afternoon where the stir-craziness starts to set in and it will be more effort than joy trying to work. When I get there, I’ll put my computer away and bake some cookies with my girls. Because isn’t that what life’s all about?