Have you ever been to a circus?
One of the circus attractions is the man juggling balls. Sometimes you see them do different variations of it. One may put a flame stick in his mouth while juggling and some other would ride a bicycle or monocycle as the case may be. What people often find enthralling is how they keep adding more balls but he doesn't lose his balance and let the balls drop.
He could go from 2 balls to as many as 8 without dropping any. I've not been able to juggle more than two balls at a time. So it's always fascinated me.
This is the exact picture of the woman who is both mum and entrepreneur. In many cases, she has to wear multiple hats. Wife, mother, sister, daughter-in-law and then there's the business to take care of.
I don't know how many can relate to this.
And you know in your heart that you must perform all the different duties as at when due without leaving out any, else there would be consequences.
So you struggle without success to build a business or make the best out of your job while handling the family chores and the children.
There doesn't seem to be an end to your chores. From the kitchen making lunch and doing dishes to the laundry, to the grocery store, and when you throw in your wee one sick throughout the night, you have the perfect recipe for a hysterical woman.
However, statistics show that of the rising number of female entrepreneurs, mumpreneurs are gradually becoming more prominent and successful. You wonder how these women manage to have it all together. They have a successful business/career and their families are happy. How do they do this?
You are not alone.
I started a blog and launched my freelance writing career last year. I soon found out that working at home and trying to be supermom to two toddlers under three years, was not a joke.
I began to ask questions and from the answers I got I knew I wasn't alone in this challenge. So I decided to share my findings. Please share your favourite in the comments.
I got these 18 women to share their life hacks, productivity tips and best tools for maintaining a balance as mums and entrepreneurs and bloggers. They share their experiences below.
Put your family first. If they aren't happy, you won't be happy.
Don't multitask. If you have to switch back and forth, do it in short, focused stints. (E.g., 30 mins of writing, 30 mins of taking care of your kids).
Work early in the morning or after the kids have gone to bed so that you can have uninterrupted time.
Know that it's going to be tough, but just keep pushing through it. Eventually, you'll be able to outsource and things will get easier.
I LOVE Evernote. As a mom of 3 kids under the age of 6, being able to work from anywhere is essential!
I'm a massive believer in getting as much help as possible. I have three assistants who help out behind the scenes in my business, also a copywriter and a graphic designer. I have a nanny who does light chores such as laundry and fixing meals for the kids, and a personal assistant who runs errands for me.
I'm a total tech geek. I use Evernote for creating and sharing content, Asana for keeping my projects organized, and Slack for staying connected with my team. Also, I never leave home without a mobile battery pack, a wifi hotspot, my iPhone and laptop.
Write The Plan down. It's amazing how, on certain days and in the face of certain struggles, something as simple as making supper can feel impossible without a plan.
Then expect everything in the world and the universe and beyond to step in the way to derail The Plan. Everything. And when it does, take your kids by the hand, take a deep breath, and execute The Plan.
And a mom with a Purpose and a Plan is unstoppable.
As a single co-parent, sometimes I falter a bit when I try to keep it together with my son.
I write out everything. I prep and prepare my meals twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays.
My son and I have routines. We have family game night every Friday, Sundays we review our weekly goals. I work out during the morning after I drop him off to school. I am very spiritual so praying when I wake and before I go to sleep is how I keep myself grounded, focused and clear.
I use Acuity to schedule client appointments, syncs with Googl\, segmenting my Google calendar between business, personal and me time helps.
I love basecamp for tracking and managing projects when working with a team.
My iPhone is like my secretary. I dictate using my microphone to text, save notes, etc. I also have my sister, friends and business besties that keep me focused, clear and sane. We motivate each other.
Every evening I take at least 15-30 minutes to check my goals, follow up on things I missed and breathe deeply. Always take care of yourself no matter what.
Eat clean, whole grains, lean meats, move your body, drink lots of water and stay positive.
My days begin at 5 am, when I meditate and connect to my inner self. I then write down the TOP 5 things I must accomplish before I close my day, and start with the hardest first, this gets me in action and motivated once I complete my most difficult task.
I use the "Dejal Time Out" app to remind me to take a 10 minute break every 90 minutes to revitalize my mind while working during the day, during those time outs I do 20 push ups and 20 squats to add in a little exercise during my normal routine.
Our family watch the sunset together each night and give a blessing to the end of another successful day as a family and as contributors to the world.
My biggest allies are my virtual assistants that help me with graphics, transcribing audio's and helping with other time-consuming tasks. I use EZVA, a group that is managed by an Australian company, so I don't have to do the hiring myself.
I juggle being a mom, business owner, and wife using To do list, the power of three, and focus (I'm still working on this one, LOL).
To do list are my favourite tool I found that if you put everything down you spend less time trying to remember and juggle everything.
Next, I set out to accomplish 3 main task a day; I've found when running a business we tend to grind so hard that we feel guilty when we step away to do other things. With my 3 a day when I finish those I feel accomplished and can guilt-free, do other things.
Last, I focus on 1 big project at a time, for example when I created my signature program, Build your Online Boutique Blueprint, I stopped listening to podcasts, removed marketing emails, and cut down on social media so I could dedicate all of my energy to completing the project.
My office is in my home, I turn off my business mode at 6pm and go straight into mom mode. All the children are in bed by 7;30pm so I can have time alone with my hubby, I don't work on weekends unless it's crucial.
I have meetings every 2 weeks will all my 5 children's teachers and don't wait till PTA time to connect with them. I love to make healthy quick meals that takes 20mins or less. It's important for every woman to try and bring in structure but understand that sometimes things don't go as planned.
Also connecting and sharing ideas on life, work and family with other women is very crucial. Having a supportive husband is very crucial in balancing your home
Having a great support system and a routine have played key roles in helping me maintain balance with my child and also thrive in my career. In the mornings when I'm getting dressed for work and Zikora is getting ready for school, Its bonding time. I ask her questions about what she did in school the day before, encourage her to participate in class and ask lots of questions. Sometimes it can be challenging to stick to a routine because life happens and I have to work late or travel for work and that's where having a great support system comes into play.
I try to just focus on doing my best everyday to add value to the most significant aspects of my life (whatever that is that day).
On the rare days I manage to get work done, have productive meetings and pick my daughter up from school so we can do an activity together, I feel like I'm superwoman but on other days I feel like I am in a losing battle to find a balance. So I've learned to forgive myself each day, let go of what I didn't get right and resolve to do better tomorrow.
Maria Vladimirovna Cesareo
I don't blame everyone for what is not working out in my life. I've learnt to take responsibility.
Show yourself love. Live your own life, not what society dictates to you. Follow your convictions.
Routine is compulsory and necessary. I was told that I can't tell my child when to go to bed and when to wake. Putting my child onto a routine was the best thing ever. I sleep, she sleeps, I am happy, she is happy. She is thriving, I am thriving.
Learn to say NO.
Ask for help. It doesn't mean you are less of a mother or person. This is a valuable TIP for everyone.
I find that it's so much easier to parent if you know your child's type. The best thing I ever did was find out my children's personality types and then I could see all the answers for how to parent in a way that is low on conflict and high on reward - for the whole family.
It is all about prioritizing. My children and family come first before my career. I work my schedule around them and not the other way round.
I also involve my older children, most especially my oldest child in chores. I also believe in hiring domestic staff to help take the work load off.
My philosophy is that in order to have time to do what only you can do, you need to hire someone to do that which anybody can do.
A weekly and a daily to do list is a very helpful tool.
A Sunday summit is also important as this is when you reflect and review the past week and plan ahead for the coming week.
The best gift I have given myself (and consequently my family) is to shift from having a daily to-do list, to having weekly goals.
As a mom I am constantly interrupted and my day rarely goes the way I had envisioned. While I may have to shift things from day to day, I can typically always meet my goals by the end of the week, with compassion for myself and my family. Also adding in a daily meditation or date with my art journal works wonders. Less striving, more being.
I accept and ask for help. At home, my hubby is a big help but I used to die in silence, meaning I'd try to do it all and end up miserable. Note: I'm a control freak so this was a real transition for me.
I keep things simple so I use my iPhone timer and an hour tracker app to watch my time on social media. It's so easy to get sucked in and balancing a biz, home and my little one requires some serious time management skills.
I have "work brain shutdown" every single day between 4:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. During this time, I focus on my son and hubby.
You can grab a few more tips on how I balance it all here.
I schedule everything aka planning through Acuity Scheduling and Buffer App. Yes, that includes my quiet time, studying, family time; it's all within my schedule and that's non-negotiable time.
May I say that not rushing is huge for me as well? I choose to set an intention for every day and I don't rush through anything as it causes a lack of excellence. If I don't get to something because family calls I don't get frazzled. I set the intention to give myself a more manageable timeline as well as chunk the tasks to smaller ones.
My project management is also off social media. So engagement and tasks are in Producteev, I don't get distracted. Lastly, as a tip I have alarms on my phone that go off as a trigger to remember to do something so I stay consistent.
My day as a Mom consist of getting kids to school and getting back home for the hustle as that where I work 99.9 % of the time. When kids are at home that's when I dedicate myself to them and rarely check my computer for any updates. Understanding my priorities is a must.
I also do my best to take Saturday's off entirely from any social media and opening my laptop. I simply enjoy family conversations or just watching good old TV with kids.
I organize my time with the reminders I set on my calendar daily to keep me on track. No fancy tools.
The best tips I can give to any Mom-Preneur out there is to stay focused, stick to the routine and goals. Most importantly, follow your dreams and don't let anything or anyone stop you from achieving them.
When I first started out, I would try and find pockets of time to work during the day when the kids were napping or playing, and that only led to stress and frustration for everyone. Now, I have scheduled working hours early in the morning and in the evening after the kids are sleeping, and I stick to it as if it were a "real" job.
I wake up 2 hours before everyone else (this means also going to sleep 2 hours earlier) and get the bulk of my daily tasks done in the morning. In the evening, I spend 1 hour wrapping up that day's projects and planning the next day's tasks. This leaves my days open for dedicating to my family.
As a freelance writer and also a mom to twin toddlers, my days are pretty busy and loud! So, I've learned to go with the flow and create a new plan every day.
Most of my work productivity occurs when my twins are sleeping. I listen to music to keep me focused and use Trello to keep my tasks in order.
. Harleena Singh
You need to learn positive and productive habits, as well as some management skills.
What I've done is made a daily routine for myself. After trying and testing many routines, I finally stuck with one. I create schedules well in advance and follow them with ease now, so good time management skills really help a lot.
I use the simple notepad or an MS Excel spreadsheet.
I've written a detailed post on how I manage blogging and life
One tip that I'd like to give all bloggers is to remember that you cannot be perfect and do it all - so, just schedule a few important tasks that you think you'll be able to do in a day, with enough time to spare for your family and your personal life.
Completing all tasks in your list is better than carrying out a few on a long list of tasks. Take up tasks in small bits, and eventually those small goals lead to larger goals of your life.
Success completion fills you with confidence and your good success rate makes you more positive.
Schedule "me"time (and make sure you are putting 'you' first because when you are healthy and happy, you can be a great business owner).
Balance is key but when you own your own business - your business often runs 24/7. Schedule your posts, social media and anything you can schedule to allow you to be visible on social media while being with your family.
I love Teamwork to stay organized with projects and keep to my dates and Buffer.com or Meetedgar to schedule my social media.
Hello, automation. Yes, make your life automated when it comes to your business. Make sure you use email services such as MailChimp or Aweber or Infusionsoft, if you are selling a lot of products or services.
Get support when needed. I am a huge advocate for working my business but outsource when you need to because if you do not, then you may spend hours on a simple task that can take somebody else just an hour or less.
To manage my many demands and the many roles that I have I have a No guilt policy and I has a strong support system. It is important to know that I cannot do everything at top priority at the same time. I know that I need help and I know that I have to be strategic about how I use my time. So i believe in having a support system - be it domestic staff, or other mums you can rely on. I also believe that it is critical that parenting involves both parents.
It's All in The Details.
This is super impressive. If you just scrolled down to the end, (yeah, I know), here is the recap.
On balancing family and business/work hours, you should do the following:
Making a schedule, having a routine, write the plan down.
Prioritize family time. It won't just happen.
Get help. You don't have to do it all. Get the support of family and friends or paid help (virtual assistants) and other helpers at home.
Take care of yourself. Eat good food, do exercises, drink water
Start the day with the most difficult task.
Break down tasks into small sizeable chunks.
Connect and share life, ideas and recipes with other women.
Forgive yourself for the "off" days.
Reflect and review.
Could do Weekly goals instead of Daily To - do's. It takes off the pressure.
Taking days off is very important. Your family should know that are making effort to be with them.
Wrapping It Up
Now we know it's possible to be a mum and also a successful entrepreneur. (C'mon Nikki has seven children). So it's all up to you, momma. Know yourself, understand your home and do what works for you. With constant tweaking, you'd definitely find your rhythm. Any other helpful ideas, please mention them in the comments.