If you’re a freelance or business mum, you’ll know that managing your work and family responsibilities can be a tricky balance. Designer, writer, blogger and blog coach Jo Gifford shares some of her best tips for juggling it all.
Time management tips for freelance and business mums
Like most working mums, work life balance is on the top of my list when it comes to the juggling game. As well as running my own business, I am mum to Eva and Mia, my gorgeous four year old twins. I want to be there for the school runs, to know what homework they have, and to be there if one of them is unwell or needs me.
So, how do I balance it? I believe that ‘balance’ is unique for each of us. Every family and each individual working mum will have their own ideal to work towards. We all work in different ways, have children with specific needs, and have personal goals, beliefs and circumstances unique to us as individuals.
My six tips for time management and balance
While I don’t for one moment claim to have it all worked out (in fact, FAR from it), I love to hear how other mums make it work for them. And as a result, I have compiled six effective tips for time management and balance.
1) Set boundaries
Setting boundaries around your working life can help to prevent overload and burnout. If you make it clear to clients and co-workers/colleagues which days and hours you work, how and when you will be available (and circumstances when you will be out of reach) it can go a long way to dividing time between work and family.
2) Use technology to your advantage
Setting up a personal workflow using smart tech is at the heart of managing as a working mum. I use Away Find to filter emails and step away from the inbox when I am with the girls, Skype Spinvox to text me urgent voicemails, and I coach via Skype and Google Hangouts to make the most of my time and service my clients more efficiently. I have also developed some workflows and techniques that help me work in the most efficient way, to maximise my limited work time and to help me leave the screens behind and be in the moment with my children.
3) Schedule social media like a productivity ninja
Social media forms a huge part of my business, as it does for most self-employed mums. I have set up a routine for smart scheduling my posts and updates to make sure my profile is visible, I am engaging with my audience AND I also have time to do actual work.
4) Outsource what you’re terrible at
We can’t all be great at everything. Running a business as a mum means we have so many roles to juggle – from cook to accountant, nurse, sales woman, project manager and cleaner – and there are just not enough hours in the day. I outsource the bookkeeping as it stops me from crying over numbers each month, and when I am running multiple projects and things get busy, I hire a VA. The money I can make from doing what I am good at far outweighs the money spent on outsourcing.
5) Stay human
Staying human means a range of things to me. I explore new things daily and continue to learn and read to expand my passions, knowledge and goals. I love to co-work in various locations, to see different surroundings, to change my perspective, and to be inspired in different ways. I love the flexibility of working for myself, but I do miss the buzz of a studio, so I make sure that I meet with friends and coworkers during the week for real, human face time and banter.
6) Work one-to-many
The one-to-many business model works well for me, and makes the best use of my time. I have written ecourses, and offer group VIP coaching, mentoring and premium content via my Skillshare class and online groups. By working with an online model like this, I can expand my business globally in a way that doesn’t depend on exchanging time for money, and as such is a scalable model.
Like all working mums, I’m just trying do my best. Mostly I manage to stay on top of things. And when things do go wrong, I review and work on them and learn along the way, with the support and love of my family.
Jo Gifford is a designer, writer, blogger and blog coach.Jo Gifford