Tips For Juggling Kids And Work During Summer Vacation


Did you all enjoy the long weekend? Hopefully you were able to completely unplug for a few days, and welcome the arrival of summer with some grillin’ and fun!

Summer means something completely different for kids, or those of us who have them: Two months of no school and plenty of hours in the day to get dirty, build forts, and watch cartoons.

For Moms and Dads who are also entrepreneurs, the realization that kids will suddenly invade the home work space is somewhat daunting. How will you maintain a high level of productivity and produce the work your clients have come to expect when you’re breaking up water balloon fights or bandaging skinned knees?

These questions have plagued self-employed parents for generations, and although the technology has changed, the challenges remain the same. When searching the interwebs for an answer, I came across this gem on Sparkplugging, called “94 Ways to Keep Kids Busy for the Work at Home Parent“. While not all of the tips are feasible, like “Get kids their own computer!,” some inspired us to whip up a collection of our own tips for WAHMs and WAHDs that will help keep everything in balance.

1. Set up and swap play dates.

Find a friend or two in the neighborhood whom you trust and whose kids enjoy playing with yours. Agree on a day of the week when your brood can hang out at their house, and another day when theirs can come to yours. It can just be from 8 am until noon, or all day if you’re feeling particularly brave. Use the empty house time to escape to Cohere.

2. Utilize the library.

The library has all kinds of summer programs and activities for kids. It’s also a pretty safe place to let your school-aged kids roam around plucking books off of the shelves or playing with toys without direct super vision. Even better, they have free Wifi. You can set up at a table to answer some emails in the air conditioning while the kids are learning. Win-win.

3. Shift your work schedule.

We’re always bragging about how much we love the flexibility of freelancing, and summer is a great time to put those words into action.   Have older kids who like to sleep late? Plan on starting your day earlier, when the house is relatively quiet. That way, you can quit by the afternoon when they’re itching to go to the pool or park. The opposite goes for the little ones who are up with the sun but crash earlier. Just inform your clients that you’re changing your business hours for the summer. You can do that, ‘cuz you’re a business.

4. Pay for some help.

Smart entrepreneurs know how to delegate. If you can pay someone to do something better or faster than you, the cost will be offset by the lack of stress. Teenagers are eager to pick up jobs during the summer. Think about hiring one you trust to act as a helper during your work hours. You’ll all be home at the same time, but the helper will be in charge of fixing snacks and keeping kids out of the street while you’re holed up. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Parents! What are your best tips for balancing work and life during the summer months? Share them in a comment.

5 Ebooks Every Freelancer Should Read This Summer

Yesterday was the first official day of summer, and although that means the kiddos are out of school, freelancers are still hard at work.

If you’re planning to take a few days for yourself now that the weather is nice (yes, you too deserve a vacation) preparing a summer reading list can help you expand your mind while working on your tan. You’ll come back to work refreshed and have a few new strategies up your sleeve as well!

Here are some of the best ebooks to download and bring to the beach. Or the mountains. Or the porch.

1. Guide to Guerilla Freelancing: In this compact eBook (22 pages), Mike Smith packs in information on how to start your freelancing business for a minimum amount of money, red flags to look out for, benefits and drawbacks to freelancing, and more.

2. Time Management for Creative People by Mark McGuinness from Wishful Thinking. Do you struggle to find enough time to get everything done? This book is here to help. Over 30 pages on how to manage your time better.

3. How to be a Rockstar Freelancer: Written by the creators of Freelance Switch, this ebook goes far beyond the creative aspects of the business, giving practical advice on the difficult situations a new freelancer can face: from managing your budget on a freelancer’s changing income to balancing work from multiple clients, How to be a Rockstar Freelancer lets you get down to the details of working as a freelancer without worry.

4. Using the Social Web to Find Work by Chris Brogan. Finding work is something every freelancer is interested in. Although this short guide (19 pages) is several years old, it still does an excellent job of covering the basics of finding work through social media.

5. 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative by Steve Gordon Jr. This book (available on the Amazon Kindle) reveals solutions from a wide range of freelance designers whose years of experience have helped them find not only the most creative solutions for their clients’ design needs, but also the most successful solutions. This book also focuses on the daily habits that inspire these designers to stay creative and business strategies to be successful when working on your own.

Bonus! Be sure to check out the ebooks for freelancers and wanna-be coworking space owners written by Cohere’s Madame and member Beth Buczynski!

What other books, electronic or otherwise, have been beneficial to your freelance business? Share them in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons – wonderlane

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