My three biggest takeaways from summer break
Schools back in session and so am I! My kids are back to school today and it’s the start of a new season in my business.
This summer, while I showed up fully and completely for my clients, my biggest intention was to be present with my kids.
The whole point of doing what I do…working from home and having a flexible schedule is so I can be present and available for my kids year round. I have always wanted to be the mom that is at the bus stop each morning and afternoon. The mom that shows up to the art shows, concerts, sporting events, and parent teacher conferences. And of course to have a schedule and lifestyle that is adaptable for sick days and snow days.
That is something that I have created for my family. But in previous summers, while I did fun things with the kids, I had very grey boundaries with work time and family time. So this year from the very start I knew I wanted it to be different. I was mindful of how I wanted to be BOTH fully present in my business when I was working AND fully present with my family when I was not working.
I learned a lot this summer about how to actually follow through with these intentions. Here are my biggest takeaways:
Distinct boundaries are essential if you want to be fully present with ANYTHING.
Easier said than done right?
How did I do it?
- I created boundaries on my phone so I wasn’t distracted when I was with my kids. I removed email and Facebook Messenger from my phone. I also put Facebook and Instagram apps on the last screen on my phone and set screen time limits on them so that I wasn’t tempted to look at them. I ONLY used FB and IG apps when I needed to for some client work.
- Being present for my clients is also important. I clearly communicated my schedule with them and if I was taking a long weekend, I let them know a few weeks in advance as well as reminded them a few times, to get me what I needed so we could work together as a team to keep all the balls rolling… WHILE I was unplugged.
- I used an auto responder on my email stating that I was currently unplugged with my family, the date I would be returning and that I would respond at that time… AND kept my promise… to them AND MYSELF.
- I ONLY checked email if I was at my desk. It’s so easy in this digital world to be constantly connected and these steps really helped me to fully unplug without guilt or distraction so that I could be fully present with my people.
Shifting my expectations of what my “work days” look like was key to survival this summer.
The past few summers I have had a nanny come into the house to help with the kids while I worked. This has been so great for all of us. It saves me a lot of time from having to drop the kids off and pick them up from camps. It allows the kids the freedom to do lots of fun activities that might not happen within the structure of a summer camp. And it gives them a lot more time at home which they really value because they tend to be away from home more than they would like between school, after school activities, and visiting their dad. Being present with them allows me to see and HONOR their needs more.
But…the kids being home can be a big energetic change to my work environment. They like to say hi to me when they are home which can be beautiful, but can also “interrupt” my flow, my efficiency, and productivity. One thing that helped with this was moving my office for the summer to a different space in my house. Being the epicenter and in the hub, works during some seasons, but not ALL of the seasons.
However, the most important shift I made was around my expectations. At the beginning of the summer I would expect myself to be 100% productive during the entire block of time that I had child care. This was just plain unrealistic. So I adjusted my expectations on how much I could realistically accomplish in a work day. Between this and giving myself permission to work on things at different times (early in the AM, after bedtime, and on weekends that the kids weren’t home) I felt a huge relief of stress. I also lowered my expectations for what I could create in my own business during the summer months and instead focused on my client work until the summer was over. Being “present with my kids” also allows for me to be more present with MYSELF. I was able to step back and implement what’s going to work best for this season, rather than being attached to an external outcome that worked last season. Don’t be afraid to switch it up to meet your needs… again… that’s why we do this work!
The most empowering thing I learned?
I can unplug from my business and the world won’t come to a hault, things won’t fall apart, and it won’t be madness when I return.
Each time I unplugged, I felt more comfortable and fulfilled by it. I began to TRUST that I could actually take a break, disconnect and come back with my cup filled up, more inspired and energized to do my work.
I am so happy to be back. After following these steps and actually unplugging this summer, I feel a whole new shift in my energy and creativity. I have lots of fun projects that I am working on for you, so stay tuned for updates soon!
How about you? Tell me about your summer! I would love to hear about it and your biggest takeaway from your summer in the Online Business Mavens Facebook Group.
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