Running a home business can be one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do for yourself and your family. Being there for your family while dealing with the demands of a business is complicated. Getting time to run your home business can be difficult. There are a number of things you can do to get more time to really focus on your work.
Set Up A Daily Routine
Have a daily routine that gets you moving. Start your day taking care of all the personal care things that need to get done, as well as any childcare issues that must be handled, and any chores you prefer to get done first thing. This keeps you from thinking all day about the things you need to get done that aren’t your home business.
For example, if I need to go grocery shopping, I do that right after dropping the kids off at school. I’m already out and about anyhow. Taking care of it first thing means I don’t have to think about it the rest of the day.
Have a daily routine for your home business as well. Set times to check your social media and email, and don’t let them eat up an excessive amount of time each day. Give yourself time each day for your routine business tasks.
Many people find it helpful to outline their tasks for each day. This can be easiest to do at the end of your workday for the next day. You’ve been working on stuff all day, and you probably know exactly what you need to work on next. Write that task list while your needs are fresh in your mind so that you don’t delay later.
Squeeze In A Little Work Where You Can
Running a home business often isn’t a strict 8-5 kind of thing. Many successful home business owners break up their workday to suit the needs of their family.
Make a list of all the little jobs you can do for your home business that only take up a little of your day. When you find time to work on them, do so. These should be things that you won’t mind so much when someone interrupts you. It’s better to get a small amount of work done than to do none at all.
Have Your Spouse Help
If you’re married or living with someone, you can ask them to be in charge of the kids when you need to work. It can be hard to get the kids to quit asking you for things if they have a habit of asking you first, but it’s good to get them used to the idea that either parent can care for them.
Depending on what your spouse does, they may not always be able to care for the kids right when you need them. I don’t mean that you should let them give any old excuse to not help – being tired from their own day at work or wanting to do something else is not always enough reason to refuse to do their share of the parenting. Other times they will have a good reason why they can’t care for the kids right when you need them to.
If your spouse is sometimes reluctant to help out, talk about where the problem is. Both parents have to shoulder their part of the parenting burden to make these things work. If your spouse truly supports the work you’re doing on your home business, they’ll help you get time to run your home business, even if that means they have to do work around the house or be the main parent while you get some business work done.
Have Family Help
Other family members can be extremely helpful as well. When we lived close enough, my inlaws took my kids overnight most weekends. We no longer live close enough for that to be practical now, but it was quite nice back then.
If you have a sibling with children close enough in age to your own, trading childcare can be nice all around. You get time to run your home business while the kids get time with their cousins. Once the kids are out of diapers, extra kids may not be that much more work for the parent in charge of them at the time. Sometimes it’s even less work, as the kids entertain each other, rather than relying on adults to play with them.
You can also trade childcare with friends. This can be done informally by taking turns, or you can use a babysitting co-op app or website to keep track of who has done how much babysitting. There are quite a few available, some free, some paid, such as:
You can also set up your own co-op with a group of friends. Agree on some rules and set up a place where you can ask for babysitting time or tell someone you’re available. A secret Facebook group is an easy way to do this without having all your information out where just anyone can see it.
Of course, you will want to make sure you know the other families well. It is best if you all take a look at each others’ homes, so you know how child safe the home is, if guns are kept, what pets are there, and so forth. Most co-ops, once established, require a member’s recommendation for new members to join, and then they must be approved by an additional member. Some have slight fees to pay for basic supplies.
You will want to have your rules spelled out to keep members from feeling as though they are being taken advantage of by others. Sometimes one member won’t be good at reciprocating, which annoys the other parents as they feel that they’re being taken advantage of. It can also damage friendships.
This is why a co-op needs written rules and a way to track hours. It’s too easy to take advantage if others can’t directly point out where the problem is. Having clear rules and tracking can make it a little less personal.
Pay For Childcare
There are times when you will have to pay for childcare. Sometimes the free and cheap options just don’t work out with the time you need to run your home business.
For example, you may need a regular daycare situation for your kids because you work a lot of hours on your home business and can’t be distracted by kids. In that case, a more traditional style of daycare can be more practical than relying on family or friends.
You can look for local daycares on your own or use a service such as Care.com or SitterCity.com. These may be able to help you find a babysitter or daycare whether you need one daily or just once in a while.
Work While Others Sleep
If you’re a night owl or an early bird, you may be able to work while other members of your family sleep.
This won’t work for everyone, of course. The kind of work you do may not be suited to working nontraditional hours. Such hours may also not work for you personally. If you’re too tired at those times to work, working late nights or early morning is probably not for you.
Ignore Household Chores During Work Hours
One of the big ways work at home parents lose time to run their home businesses is by doing too much around the house when they should be working.
It’s not all about the kids. It’s the laundry and the dishes. Cooking dinner. Cleaning up stuff that really doesn’t have to be cleaned right now, but you decide to do it anyhow.
Don’t let the household chores get in the way of running your home business. Save it for outside your work hours.
I like to be efficient when it comes to making dinner. It’s not always possible, but using my crock pot, Instant Pot and planning ahead makes my days go better.
Some people like to set a day aside to prep freezer meals, for example. I very rarely do that. Instead, I try to make two meals while prepping one. The extra goes into the freezer rather than be cooked. It’s almost as easy to make two meatloaves as it is to make one, for example. Doing it while cooking another meal means that I don’t lose a whole day to meal prep, yet I often have an easy dinner in the freezer.
Don’t Turn On The TV
It can be tempting to binge watch your favorite show while you work on your home business. Don’t. Just don’t.
Having the television on is a huge distraction, and it will cut down on your productivity. At some point, you are going to start watching rather than working, more likely than not.
Save the TV time for when you aren’t working. You’ll enjoy the shows you watch more because your work won’t distract you from them.
If you want background noise, play some music from your collection or use a service such as Spotify. Many people feel they are more productive with at least a little background noise rather than complete silence. Music is generally far less distracting than a television show.
Set Aside Time For Reading Online And Social Media
While you should read relevant blogs and participate professionally on social media, there’s only so much of that you should do during your regular working hours. You need to set aside an appropriate amount of time for these things that won’t eat into your day.
Separate out your personal use of social media from your professional side. Don’t get into chats with family or friends when you should be working. Do share your latest blog posts or work on some social media marketing in appropriate places. Don’t get sucked into the unproductive parts of your social media presence.
It’s Up To You To Make Time To Run Your Home Business
You have to do what it takes to make time to run your home business. Others may help by taking care of distracting children and household chores, but if you don’t take your work hours seriously, you’ll always feel as if you don’t have enough time for your business.
Whenever you feel as though you’re running low on work time, take a look at where the hours are going each day. The odds are good that you’ll find places where you can squeeze in a little more work. It’s amazing how productive you can be in a short time if you’re really determined.