As an Accountability Coach, I probably deal with time management and prioritizing the most. The biggest time sucker I see ALL. THE. TIME. is Interruptions from Interrupters. So what can you do about it? Here’s what I recommend to my clients and 3 tips to help you implement it. For the sake of clarity, I’m going to walk you through my day-to-day life as your example.
Identify your biggest interruptors and begin managing their expectations
For me, my biggest interrupters are my family. I love those guys, but when you work from home and you homeschool your children, you spend a lot of time together. As a result, it can be hard for them to recognize when I am trying to work and need some uninterrupted time to get stuff done.
I’ve been on a journey of personal development, and, as part of my learnings, I resolved to make some changes in my approach to trying to reach the Holy Grail we call work/life balance. So naturally, I dug into my own bag of tips and tricks that I would give my clients to begin to figure out what these changes would look like in my own day-to-day balancing act.
Set clear Work, Play and Me Time hours
My typical day looks like this:
- 8-12:30-1pm: Homeschool lessons, activities and explorations 1-2pm: My children have independent play and I get some quick work tasks done
- 2-4pm: Max, my three-year-old, goes for a nap, which is when Mama/Me Time starts
- 5:30-6 to 9-9:30pm: Dad is in charge while Mama has uninterrupted work time
This has really been working for us. Why?
I will get to why I dedicate the entire morning to our homeschool work in a minute.
Let me jump down to independent time for now. I always have emails to respond to, social media channels to connect on, etc. that I only need a couple of minutes of uninterrupted time to get through. I take on these kinds of tasks during this time frame to manage my own expectations for when independent play may not happen as independently as it’s supposed to be…and we all know that happens.
As I have been going through my journey of self-discovery, I have realized that I need time to regroup in the afternoon and fill my own bucket from being ‘ON’ all morning with my autistic kiddos. When Max naps is the perfect time in our house because usually Penny, my seven-year-old, is needing her own time to recharge as well. I have also been able to give myself permission, through this journey, to honour myself and that I am a night owl; making my prime work time the evening.
This all comes together through practice and explicit modelling with my children and spouse. Everyone knows the routine and expectations are; what it should look, sound and feel like.
Fill the buckets before you need to get down to work
Now let’s talk about why I choose to dedicate the entire morning to our homeschool work. Scheduling my morning this way kills two birds with one stone for us. They are learning. They are getting to spend completely uninterrupted time with Mama, which means that they are having their buckets filled up so to speak. When I am not as available throughout the rest of the day, they don’t feel like they are getting the short end of the stick.
Let your clients and followers know what to expect from their relationship with you at the outset
For this last one, I’m going to go outside of my house and talk specifically about it from a scheduling aspect.
Let’s start with my clients. They know that I can only schedule in-person meetings on certain days and have dedicated call times as well. If at the outset, they can’t meet with me during those times/days, then I will let them know that we likely aren’t a good match in the long run. If once we are working together, they need to reschedule a meeting or call, they may have to wait until the following week’s call time. Now, I am pretty flexible for the most part (you’ll find most autistic parents are, I bet). However, having that clearly laid out from the beginning avoids bad tastes all around on the one time I have to enforce it.
Similarly, my follower’s know what’s going on in our community each day. Our Facebook group members know when they can promote themselves and what we’re talking about each day. They know when a new blog post comes out. Viewers know when Fempire LIVE is on each week so they can tune in. They know all this because I have clear, straightforward communication with them and am consistent in my action.
As a rule you’ll find that people feel more at ease and comfortable when things are predictable, which is why both of these approaches have worked so well for me and my business. When the expectations are clear and the enforcement of them are consistent, not only will everyone know what they can ask and expect from you, you’ll also feel more confident when you have to put your boundaries walls up to get things done.
Samantha King is a busy mompreneur and homeschooler with two young children and a couple of businesses at home. When Samantha’s daughter was diagnosed with autism, she had to learn how to keep her priorities aligned within her family, while operating her business at the same time. She is excited to share her knowledge to empower entrepreneurs by giving them the tools they need to do something they love while building sustainable, profitable businesses.