Guest blogger Sally Ann Murphy here with the second blog post in our Summer Business Series. I’m a busy mother of teenagers and summer around our house can become hectic and at times downright chaotic. With distractions like nice weather, laughing children in the pool and planning our annual family camping trip, there are times when my business seems to fall off the radar.
Over the years I’ve learned how to set boundaries and limits when it comes to working from home. I’d like to share seven ways I’ve learned to stay focused on my business even during the distractions we all seem to encounter during the busy summer months.
1. Set weekly work hours and honor them faithfully. I know, this is a basic organizational skill but during the summer, we can sometimes begin to “fudge” our work time. Not only is it important to set your summer work hours but also, it is just as important to let your family know that you expect them to honor your work time also. I place a family calendar on the refrigerator with my work hours for the coming week clearly marked in bright red. The calendar is in clear view. My family honors my work time and I do too.
2. Reduce your workload and shorten hours. It’s difficult to focus on business while the family goes on a picnic or gathers on the patio to grill burgers. If you can, reduce your workload during the summer months and plan on working a few less hours. How? Decide to blog less often, outsource some of your social media or attend less networking functions. Where there is a will, there is a way.
3. Look at your workweek carefully and use your time wisely. Don’t overload yourself with tasks and commitments. Do what must be done to keep your business going forward during the summer months, then plan to take some time off. This is where a concise “to-do” list can become invaluable. Stay focused on finishing the most important tasks first and then leave time for some summer fun.
4. Plan vacations carefully and thoughtfully. Plan vacations so you can have enough time to pack and unpack without stress. Even the preparations for a vacation should be fun and relaxing!
5. Plan on using social media only during your down time. Limit your time on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to those times when you have a few free minutes. Use the bulk of your summer workdays for major business-building activities.
6. If you have children, find constructive ways to keep them busy. Swap babysitting time with friends and family so they can take the children for a few hours a day or, how about sending them to day camp for part of the summer or, giving them projects around the house to complete before school begins.
7. If possible, turn your phone off while you are working. Unless the phone is a major part of your business, turning the phone off can help eliminate various temptations and distractions – texting, calling friends, surfing the Internet, etc.
Summer time should be fun time. I feel it is important to find a comfortable balance between staying focused on business and still being able to enjoy the summer months with family and friends. Summer fun doesn’t have to become an all or nothing situation. You can still be productive in your business and have time to enjoy the summer; it just may take a bit more focus and planning.
It’s FUN (and profitable) to do business all summer long!
Sally Ann Murphy, guest blogger
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