10 tips to ease the children, work, home juggle – from an innovation expert

Are you struggling to be the perfect teacher, partner and professional in lockdown? Read 10 tips to make the juggle easier from Erica Wolfe-Murray, a leading business and innovation expert.

Let’s just put this smack bang in middle of the table… I firmly believe that anyone who can run a busy family is eminently skilled to run a business.

But how do you juggle a business, entertain children, oversee home schooling, keep everyone clean, fed, fit and not lose yourself in the middle?

Well listen up, ladies, because we are going to sort this. Here are 10 tips to help you.

1) Ringfence your most productive working time of day

Work out when you are at your most productive, whether it’s early morning, mid-day or evening. Agree with your partner, teenagers and everyone else in your house that this time is ringfenced for business.

Knowing that you have that time to crack through what you really need to do will mean you stay on top, lessening your stress.

2) Pencil in your ‘treat’ night

Just as Mrs Large retreated to her bubble-filled bath for five minutes peace in Jilly Murphy’s classic tale, book yourself a regular half hour retreat with the door shut.

Meditate, light candles, paint your toenails, read. Taking time to rebalance yourself is critical for everyone else’s health as much as yours.

3) Ask everyone to contribute tracks to a banging chore mix tape

Chores need doing in every household and are not solely your responsibility – corral everyone into sharing them. Write up a big daily chore list limited to one hour.

Ask everyone to contribute to a chore mix tape. Keep the tempo high, with songs aplenty. You can all sing and dance your way through the list.

4) Ask family to contribute to home schooling

Home schooling comes easily to parents, whilst others find it impossible. You are not in this alone. Ask a parent, older friend, colleagues, contacts to help teach your children.

And offer to do the same for others. Using video links, they could run a book club, draw a poster, write stories together. Bring them all to the table to share the load.

5) Find yourself a mentor

If you know someone who’s contribution, support and opinion you value, ask if they would mentor you until lockdown ends and beyond. It could be a business contact or someone in your community. Don’t feel shy to ask– both mentor and mentee can benefit in so many ways.

6) Help your children to understand your working life

My children know I love my work. I’ve always tried to include them, asking them to help me solve some of the issues I face.

Even if your children are small – encourage them to contribute in their own way. And if you are a parent to teenagers, can you involve them in a project? This widens their understanding of your world.

7) Plant seeds and grow things

When the going gets tough, planting seeds and growing herbs, flowers, veg helps soothe me. I’m not sure if it is handling the earth, knowing that water and warmth creates life or the prospect of eating something I’ve grown.

Whether you sprout salad leaves on a window-sill, herbs in a pot by the front door, or dig a veg patch, it will be as magic for your children as it is for you.

8) Don’t overlook the admin

It’s so easy to go a week, two weeks or more without focusing on your business admin – particularly in times like these. But you do so at your peril.

More than ever, business owners need to watch cashflow, cancel under-used standing orders, ensure invoices don’t over-run due dates, manage budgets. Set yourself an admin slot one day each week. Stick to it and you’ll know you are staying on top.

9) Switch your innovation radar on

With old behaviours and worlds we know crashing round our ears is exactly when opportunities for amazing new ventures, products and services present themselves.

Chat with your children, your family and friends about what they think post-lockdown world is going to look like. What will we be doing? What will have changed? Can you spot an opportunity to pivot or build something new in the mayhem?

10) Find time to be thankful

Even when we feel out of control, it is vital to find a moment to take a breath, smile and be thankful. Every day ask each family member what they are grateful, what made them happy.

It is likely that many of these thank-you’s will be something you said, did or suggested. Treasure these and keep them as bright spots in difficult days.

Erica Wolfe-Murray is a leading business and innovation expert. She is also the Author of ’Simple Tips Smart Ideas’.