Thinking back 11 years ago, when I was juggling my new business with a family of 2 small children, (then aged 4 and 8), I was always
Life was tough but I survived. Now, I am happy and grateful that now, I have two independent, resourceful and creative teenagers.
How did I do it? If you are in the same situation as I was 11 years ago, I hope these tips can help you too.
(1) Get help.
Don’t try to be a ‘super-woman’.
A fully supportive spouse is every working mum’s dream … but in our Asian culture, especially among the ‘Gen X’ men, many are either not trained or even not expected to help in the housework and childcare. Unfortunately, I belong to the later group. I had only 2 choices – waste time nagging or just look for alternative options.
My mother and mother-in-law was outstation – so no help available. But I was blessed with a very supportive baby-sitter that took care of my kids during their childhood years. The baby-sitter’s home was our center of activities … school, tuition, extra curricular activities and even meals.
Until today, I keep my house simple to enable easy cleaning and up-keeping. The house is de-cluttered every year. Things which are no longer required will be donated or recycled. There is a place for everything and everything is ”more or less” in place, most of the time. This saves a lot of time in terms of looking for ”missing” items.
Since young, my kids are trained to help to keep the house neat and tidy. General rule : Anyone who messed up, will need to clean up. Of course, the kids always complain but … the rule stays.
I engage a part-time maid that gives the house a good cleaning every weekend.
(2) Strive for balance, not perfection.
Remember to squeeze time for yourself too.
As a working mumpreneur, I used to sacrifice myself for family and customers, often re-assuring myself that .. “if they are happy, I are happy too.” I have since stopped putting myself as 2nd priority. Now I understand that if I do not take care of myself, I won’t have energy to take care of others. So, it is absolutely necessary for me to re-charge from time to time.
My advise … just focus on completing the important tasks on time. For less important tasks, if you cannot finish a task on any given day, don’t worry, just move it to the next day. If you have an important task that you don’t want or like to do, do it first. Don’t keep putting something off. It will weigh you down, potentially causing worry and fatigue. Get it over with and you will feel better.
Set aside a night or two during the weekdays to handle the housework
I normally fix Tuesday and Friday night for doing the laundry when the family watch a bit of tv, after dinner. I can enjoy the program while getting the ironing done. The children will be too engrossed to disturb me.
On other days, just ignore the pile of messy clothes.
Also because I have completed some housework during the week, I can have time at weekends to do other things with family.
(3) Get a head start. Know when you work best.
Go to bed early every other night.
I normally get up 1 or 2 hours before everyone else. With some quiet minutes, I think and plan my day. I catch up on some paperwork and take some time to have a quiet breakfast before all the activities happen in the house. With a good breakfast, I feel more ready to handle the busy day ahead.
Each person has a best time.
I am most productive in the early morning. So, I schedule my most important work or meetings in the morning.
Children has their best time too. I trained my young kids to read in bed and then lights off at 9:30 pm latest. So everyone can have a good night rest. I developed a work schedule around their energy level. I tried to get some important work done when they were taking their afternoon nap.
I also arranged for their ‘small’ table to be next to my working table … they can do some quiet drawing, colouring or writing while mummy worked on the computer.
(4) Use technology to help
I love this the most… Technology has helped many mumpreneurs too.
1. I use autoresponders (such as MailerLite, Aweber or Getresponse) to help me in your business. These online platforms help to build my subscriber database, automate replies to business inquiries, send newsletter and to track my subscribers engagement with my emails.
2. I use dropbox to consolidate cloud storage and file synchronization. It save me a lot of time to locate files at a single location … instead of finding files on my phone, tablet and notebook.
3. I use aCalendar that is sync to my Google Calendar. This help me to schedule meetings & appointments and track birthdays, with smooth transitions between day, week and month view.
I invest in all the labor-saving devices that I can afford…. induction cooker, clothes dryer, pressure cooker ect..
As such, I can have food cooking slowing in the kitchen while I work. With the use of timer functions on the oven and microwave, I arrive home to a meal ready to serve.
(5) Bulk your life.
Plan your TO-BUY list in advance.
I always stick a blank paper on my fridge. I update my list as I run out of items. I will take this list on my next shopping/marketing trip.
Don’t wait till the last minute to buy a birthday present.
I buy ALL the presents for the whole family for the whole year in one big spree, preferably during a sale. Wrap and put them away. Now I won’t have to worry about presents for the whole year.
Plan your meals for the next 2 weeks.
I buy non-perishable ingredients in bulk. Some food can be cooked in bulk, put into containers and freeze for a week or more. I can defrost the food as and when I need to use it.
Yes, the initial outlay is larger for bulk purchase but cheaper in the long run. It definitely saves lots of time.
(6) Handle emails, Facebook, Mobile chatroom effectively.
I set time to read and reply to my emails and mobile message or while waiting for appointments to start. From the beginning, I set a certain expectation among my network that I may not be able to response immediately, but I will definitely get back to them within 24 hours or the next working day.
When expectation is aligned, I can better manage my time, focus on completing my current task, and then response to the email or messsage
(7) Handle interruptions effectively.
When I worked from home, many people (especially my mother and mother-in-law) assumed that I was there for them when they wanted a chat or a helping hand. This can be disastrous when I had vital work deadline to meet.
I had to be very firm and told them that phone calls are fine if they were short, to the point and important during my working hours. Gossipy phone calls will have to wait for the weekends or other “off” times.
I also learn to screen calls. I try to pick up important calls only during office hours.
(8) Be creative
Check out other topics on time saving via the internet.
There are many mumpreneurs who have successful achieved what you are trying to do. You just have to learn from them and create your own time saving tips along the way.
Have fun being a mumpreneur, knowing that you are getting closer to your dreams day by day. All the rush and struggle at this moment is going to be all worthwhile.
I hope I have shared some good tips. If you have enjoyed it, please drop me a line.