How to run a household while running a business

Our working worlds have been turned upside down, but so have the lives of our children.

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Martha Switzer on a conference call while three children play in the background
Martha juggling conference calls while her children play in the background

Like many of us, I’m learning to navigate a very challenging and different time. My time working from home has come with distinct challenges as a co-founder, entrepreneur, and mother of three.

Our working worlds have been turned upside down, but so have the lives of our children.  And while we still have colleagues we can connect with (at least virtually), projects, and deadlines to give us structure and a sense of accomplishment, our kids are missing school and friends. Here’s how I am managing to run my business and care for my family during these challenging times.

1.  Talk to your kids

Use age-appropriate language to talk about how routines are going to change for everyone in the family, and re-affirm that it doesn’t mean a change to our commitment to one another as a family. Having open (age-appropriate) dialogue sets up expectations for my children that even though I am home, there will be times when I need to focus on my work.

2. Give them tasks

Use your best judgment for age appropriateness.  Kids need structure and a sense of accomplishment just as much as adults do. Little ones can empty the dishwasher and fold laundry.  Older ones can start meal prepping. Giving our kids ownership and responsibility allows them to feel a measure of control over their lives. It also helps free up time for me to get work done, check in on employees, and then ensure there is time for me to relax and connect as a family.

3. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule,

Yes, plan breaks with your kids in your calendar.  It is easy to lose sight of the time when we are working from home.  We all need time to play.

4. Activities that don’t require supervision:

For the most critical/important meetings or work time during the day, I have been using educational games and apps.  My kids are all over ReadingEggs, and we have invested in some new puzzles.

5. Set big goals for the week, not the day

This will help ensure that you work to get the most critical items done in the windows you can- and not get overwhelmed by the day getting away from you

6. Divide the work between your partner
If both parents are home, one parent can tackle the morning, and the other can take on the afternoon to have uninterrupted time for work.

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