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Wellbeing / Work & family

Adapt your business to manage work and family

When your kids are at school, you’ll have more time for your business, right? Not necessarily. How do you and your business cope with the constant evolution of your family? Here are some tips on how to adapt your business to manage work and family.

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We often look forward to a time of more freedom when our children go to school. But with the introduction of school comes a myriad of extra responsibilities, especially as children get older.

The endless list of demands begins in kindergarten with homework that requires as much of your time as it does of theirs, reading groups, canteen, sports days and concerts. As they move through the years you can add to that weekend sport with a weekly training session that is likely to be at an inconvenient time, band practice, dance group and choir.

There are many ways that you can fit all of this in and still keep your clients happy. Here are some ways to adapt ypur business to manage work and family.

Rearrange your work hours

Most soloists aren’t constrained by traditional working hours and rearranging your time is eminently feasible.

Events are always noted in advance so you can book the time out in your calendar as an appointment and then make up the hours you miss at the end of the day or on the weekend. The advanced warning should allow you to still meet your deadlines just as you can with any other appointments.

Make sure that the change to your working hours fits in with the family schedule in general and that everyone knows when you’re supposed to be working.

Pool your resources

After school activities often pose problems for the solo business owner. Getting together with other parents and working out a schedule is a great way to extend your working hours. If you can all set aside some time to pitch in and work to a regular timetable everyone knows what to expect and you can fall into a comfortable routine.

"Getting together with other parents and working out a schedule is a great way to extend your working hours."

This can also give you a safety-net in times of emergency as your child will already be comfortable with the people who are helping you out. And, naturally, you can offer the same in return. This can be a wonderful resource for the ever-increasing number of people without family support.

Consider after school care

Most schools provide a before and after school care service that allows the children time to let off steam with some outdoor activities, get involved in some craft and have time to do their required homework.

If after school care makes you feel guilty, you could broker a deal with your kids where they go a couple of afternoons a week and in return you will come and watch them twirl around on a stage or pound down a race track.

Limit what you take on

While it’s great to be involved in the school community and be there for your children remember that you don’t have to take on everything that is asked of you. It’s easy to feel pressured into taking on more than you should when other parents are at the school seemingly 24/7.

Talk to your children and work out with them what you can fit into your schedule. Point out that some parents can come more often than others and that some parents are not able to join in at all. In general, if you can make it to what they consider to be the important events, they’ll be happy, especially if you come armed with every camera, still or otherwise, in your household.

Although school doesn’t really give you more freedom, especially if your children were already in some form of care before they started, a simple assessment of where you can be flexible means that you can put your solo business to full advantage and enjoy the best of both worlds.

How have you adapted your business to manage work and family?

Karen Morris

, owner of Underground Communications, is a PR consultant and business copywriter with over 20 years’ experience in writing communications designed to grab an audience and deliver a clear message for her clients.

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