Summer is almost here, and like the majority of my clients, I am planning on winding down on work for a bit this summer.  I want to take some time to focus on my family and have as much fun with them as I possibly can.  My two oldest kids are wrapping up their junior year right now and are busy taking their finals.  Next year they are seniors, and well, this may be the last time I can force them to spend their summer break with us.  By this time next year, they’ll be busy prepping for college!

If you read my last blog post, you know that I had to make some very necessary changes early on due to my husband needing ankle surgery.  It’s been almost four weeks since “the incident” and he’s still mostly on bed rest, with the majority of the home + business responsibilities falling on me (we’re both self-employed).  I’ve been working hard these last few weeks to really perfect my daily systems so that I can do the job of two people without resorting to violence.

Here are my 5 tips on running your business during the summer without hurting anyone (including yourself)

  1. Hire a Virtual Assistant and learn how to delegate like a pro.  Yeah, I know I led with the obvious, but this has been a life saver for me.  I have been relying on my fabulous team of VA’s these past four weeks like never before, treating myself almost as well as we treat our clients.  I know that if I create clear processes for the way I want things done, I don’t have to continue being the perfectionist/control freak that I am.  Work gets done as good, or even better than if I had done it myself.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m rushing through work, I’m definitely not doing my best.
  2. Create a modified daily schedule with time for all of the important things.  I use Michael Hyatt’s Ideal Week design to plan how I want my days & weeks to look.  I do this in Google Calendar, and then I layer my other calendars (work schedule, personal appointments, home management) on top of it.  I’m rarely perfect, but it always reminds me of how much time I need to set aside for really important things like beach days, family vacations, and quick trips to the water park.  Since I’m a morning person, I plan on doing as much work as possible when my brain is at its best.  Doing this also helps me get all of my work stuff done in a set amount of time, leaving me a lot more time to spend with my family (or taking care of a broken husband).
  3. Benefit from time-saving apps & systems!  You know I love a good system, and if an app can make doing it even easier, I am ALL IN.  I use the GTD method in my inbox to categorize the hundreds of emails that I receive daily:  delegate, important to do, regular to do, need more info, & reference.  This may be slightly modified from the actual method, but I set it up so long ago, I don’t remember.  Anyway, I was correctly categorizing my emails, but I was forgetting to actually delegate them, or actually take care of them, so I fixed that with a Zap!  (If you’re not yet familiar with Zapier, definitely check out this time-saving app soon.)  Now that I’ve set this up, anytime I label an email either “delegate” or “important to do”, a task is automatically created for me in my project management system.  Plus, the email gets archived and I get reminded as needed.  It’s like having my own personal assistant!  I’ll add a new blog post soon on the zaps I use for myself and clients that make life so much easier.
  4. Choose one day a week to write + create.  Ideally, this will be on either a Monday or a Tuesday (mine is Tuesday) so that you have the rest of the week to get it published and shared.  I block off my schedule in Acuity so no one can schedule time with me at that time, and I play the Deep Focus station in Spotify to help keep me focused.  Write, edit, publish, share.  I rely heavily on my team to help me accomplish this and to hold me accountable.
  5. Be portable.  I started my business way back in 2006 because I wanted freedom & flexibility.  I have no problem being that mom at the park on my phone or laptop, or taking my kids to the trampoline place that’s a little further away but has excellent WiFi.  When we go on vacation or camping, I enjoy checking in on things to make sure everything is running smooth and there aren’t any emergencies.  The key, and it’s taken me a while to get this part down, is to not allow it to take over or stress me out.  I now know I can successfully keep things running in an hour a day when I need to.

Having the right systems in place will allow you to take more time for yourself, your family, or most of the stuff life will casually drop on your plate when you least expect it.

Question:  What systems can you add to your day or week to give you more time to enjoy this summer?  Leave your answer in the comments below.

And if you’re interested, here is a link my current typical day (sorry, the link no longer works).  My 16-year-old daughter has started saying she’s not sure if I’m Super Mom or Psycho Mom, but it’s working.  Life is good, business is good, and I can’t ask for much more than that.

 

 

 

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