Plan Your Little Heart Out
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If you work on an hourly basis, you are likely already using a time tracking software or app anyway, but it’s such a great tool for keeping us on track (even if we aren’t billing per hour). I like to set mine for certain amounts and set aside that time to work on projects. It’s a great way to help stay focused. If you know you are setting aside say 30 minutes to do something, you are more apt to stay with the task at hand rather than get sidetracked into doing something else.
Start At the Top
If you aren’t categorizing your tasks into what’s most important and going from there, you really need to start doing it. Deciphering what is the most important thing to do, what comes after that one, and the next will help you prioritize your day and ultimately get things accomplished. If this is an area where you could use some help, you might find a productivity planner would help you with this so that you can really get down to business.
As for myself, I find doing the most important task first thing in my day ensures I’m at the top of my game. It’s when I’m the most alert and the most focused. If you’re peak time is the afternoon, you might consider doing it then. At the end of the day, it’s what works best for you, however, I’m a firm believer that setting out what’s most important is a huge factor in your success. Without it, you may end up doing the tasks that are least important and putting off the rest.
Skip the Complex Jobs
If you are managing a home life with kids and your busy freelancing work, you might want to steer clear of the high-stress or high-pressure jobs. This might seem like a no-brainer, but taking on such jobs will likely only lead to more stress and chaos as you try to balance both worlds. I found it better to take on several small jobs, rather than one large, time consuming one, especially at times when we had the kids for long stretches of time. Let’s face it, the kids couldn’t be left alone while I worked for 3 or 4 hours straight, but they could definitely stay occupied with things for an hour.
Keep the Kids Busy
One thing that I did was create a huge tote bin of craft and art supplies that I could pull out and set the kids up at the table for activities. Kids can always let their imagination run wild when it comes to having a abundance of paper, string, stickers, pom poms, pipe cleaners, and whatever else I could find at the dollar store. While they stayed occupied, I was able to plug away at some things and complete various jobs.
If your kids are smaller, you might opt to have them play in an area near you when you can still supervise and yet also get some work done. Nap times are a great way to also sneak in some work if need be. But don’t hesitate to take mini-breaks yourself and join in on the fun – it will clear your mind and relieve some stress. There’s nothing cuter than laughter from the kids when they’re having fun, right?
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And there you have it, some ideas for how to balance the work and kids scenario when you work as a freelancer. Are there tips you have that help you manage everything a bit better? I’d love to hear them, so feel free to jot them down below in the comments.