Here in France we are in our second week of the school holidays. The 8 week long summer holidays. I will admit to having worried about working from home during the school holidays but, with some planning and flexibility, it is do-able, at least in my industry (very aware that not all of these tips and techniques will apply to everyone working from home during the school holidays).
Plan Some Child Free Time if Possible
The last thing any one of my clients need is for me to have the children around me when on a call. They will distract both me and the client. Children are unpredictable; I could hope or assume they will be quiet for an hour, but it is not a risk I will take when on a call with a client.
I have therefore spent the last couple of months making plans for child free time: I have six full days where I have been able to book sessions, safe in the knowledge that my girls will be having masses of fun elsewhere. Clients take absolute priority during these precious few hours – everything else can wait as client sessions are the one thing I can’t do at any other time. Obviously six days isn’t very much time – clients are how I make my money. So some financial planning is also necessary to take the loss of income into consideration.
Plan Plenty of Hands Off Parenting Time
Every day I take the girls to the park or some other wide open space where they can have fun, run about and still remain under my eye. On rainy days I have the option of indoor play (yes, I know, like everyone else in the area…) Now, parks and indoor play are not the kind of places I can expect to fully concentrate on my work, but there is a lot I can do, and to be honest this is my most productive time during the school holidays.
In the last week I have, while in the park, drafted several blog posts, drafted a guest post, brainstormed ideas for the blog (6 month’s worth, actually), put together the skeleton of a new coaching package, done two periscope broadcasts, written dozens of emails. What does this actually mean? Over the next weeks those blog posts will be developed and filled out, drafted and scheduled. The coaching package will go from being a skeleton to a fully fleshed powerhouse of awesomeness, ready for launch. Those clients I am writing to? This is what I refer to across this site as email follow up, and is keeping my clients accountable for their goals between sessions – contact which is almost as important as the sessions themselves. Other emails may be answering enquiries, setting up appointments for after the holidays, setting up the free discovery calls I do with most new or potential clients.
Do Useful-but-Not-Directly-Work Work
While the children are taking a break from learning I am catching up on mine. When there is work-work to be done it is easy to neglect the non-vital-but-still-important work. When I get ten minutes at the moment you will find my head in a book, reading up on coaching techniques or psychology. I might be listening to a marketing or business podcast, sometimes having to press pause multiple times before being able to listen to the whole thing. While waiting for a fellow mum at the park to arrive I go to my saved links on Facebook and work through them, reading articles, watching TED talks, whatever it is that I felt was important enough to save but not important enough to deal with immediately.
Plan your Social Media
I will admit I am brilliant at advising people to do this, but not so great at actually doing it myself. One of those do as I say, not as I do moments. The idea though is to use a platform such as Buffer or Hootsuite and plan the majority of your social media marketing days and weeks ahead of time. The few times I have done this I have really noticed a difference, particularly on Twitter, which I tend to forget exists even outside of the school holidays.
So, before the school holidays start set aside an afternoon or a morning to plan your tweets and Facebook posts – what you will say, what you will link to, and how often. You can also plan, draft and even set up to automatically publish your blog posts for the holidays if you are super organised. If you are like me you have a plan of what you want to write and when you want to publish it, but are still at draft stage for most of them. That’s OK too, planning is a big part of the work done.
You can use the odd minutes in between, while waiting in the car, sitting in the park, cooking lunch, to post more spontaneous social media posts. If you get time. If you think about it.
Have a Well-Earned Break
I am not a machine and neither are you. I do wonder sometimes if I didn’t have school holidays to stop me would I ever stop? I am immensely privileged to be able to work from home, with all the flexibility that entails. One of the disadvantages of that is that you are never far from your work. But surely the opportunity to spend significant parts of the school holidays with your kids is a fabulous advantage.
So make the most of it. The time you do have to work will be far more productive knowing you don’t have much of it, and the time you spend with your children will create precious memories for you both.
You see that quite a lot more can be done than you may think, especially with a bit of planning ahead. Work time will become very precious when there is less of it, so deciding what you can do in the 10 or 20 minute slots ahead of time will be a lot more productive than sitting down at your desk with no plan or list of tasks and trying to get everything done at once. Very ltitle of the work I do during the school holidays is directly income generating – as I said, I only have 6 child free days in 8 weeks. The other stuff I do though, the planning, the work on my coaching packages, the reading and the research, is all geared towards my business running as smoothly as possible year round, so that my term time availability for actually coaching clients is as high as it can be.
How do you deal with working from home during school holidays?
If you have enjoyed this post you may also be interested in my Small Business Coaching Package – a very popular and excellent value one on one coaching package.