5 Simple Home Business Tips to Organize and Streamline Your Business Productivity in Fall
By: Kathleen Ries-Jubenville | Category: Productivity | Read time: 4 minutes
The end of summer is bittersweet.
We have had some family fun in the sun, but the kids are heading back to school and everyone's schedule is about to ramp right back up. When we run a home-based business, it becomes even more challenging to juggle our client work with our family responsibilities. It can be so difficult to focus on our business when our life is filled with "busy-ness".
Here are FIVE SIMPLE TIPS to help you stay organized and productive this fall!
1. Plan meals for the week on the weekend.
One of my least favorite times of the day is the late afternoon when everyone starts asking 'what's for dinner?' My brain is tired from intensely working all day and the last thing I want to do is make even one more decision and try to be a creative chef. If I don't plan in advance, I end up defaulting to the same old boring dinners or fast food. I don't enjoy it. My family doesn't enjoy it. And we are not being properly nourished for healthy growth, energy, or wellness. Some people are great at cooking big portions during the weekend and freezing them to warm and serve during the week, but I never wanted to spend my free time that way. So instead, my husband and I spend a little time on Saturday mornings to make a list of what we will have for dinner each evening in the coming week, add the ingredients to the grocery list, then stock up. We even decide who will make each dinner and write our name next to each day's assigned meal! Then, at the end of each long day of work, we just look at the meal plan and cook our pre-purchased ingredients without having to think about it or discuss it. We are refreshed and ready to eat together as a family and enjoy an enlightening and supportive round of sharing the "best and worst of the day" with each other!
---> Power Move: Create your meal plan while you are looking at your calendar and schedule the quickest and easiest meals for the busiest days.
2. Maintain family and business calendars.
If you are not using Google calendar, I strongly recommend it. The key to calendar success is to create one for each member of the family, share them with every family member, and make each one a different color. I have a separate calendar for my business meetings and my personal appointments. My husband also has two calendars he maintains. I even set up a calendar for each of my kids when they were born...hear me out on this! When I scheduled a pediatrician's appointment for my daughter, I added it to her calendar and invited me or my husband, depending on which one of us was going to take her. We got in the habit of doing this, then, when the kids were older, I showed them how to use the calendar. They could look at it to see when they had a back-to-school night or a sporting event. They could see who was going to pick them up from school. They could see when we had a family party or vacation coming up. They got used to using the calendar. Then, as they started making plans with friends, they already knew the expectation was that they put it on the calendar. There were times they resisted a bit, but it was short-lived because they experienced the benefits of things (almost) never slipping through the cracks. If they needed us to bring Gatorade to the football game or get picked up on early release day, we saw it on the calendar and it got done! And, my husband and I didn't have to ask or remember which of us was getting the job done - the calendar showed who agreed to do it.
---> Power Move: When the kids' school and sport schedules are published, enter every event and practice for the ENTIRE year or season in your calendar at one time.
3. Communicate with everyone the night before.
Look at the calendar after dinner and touch base with each member of the family to confirm plans haven't changed. As wonderful as the calendar is, I have always been more aware of what is going on than anyone else in the family. I'm not sure if that's a 'mom' thing or just a 'me' thing, but either way, my guess is that one member of your family is going to be more calendar-focused than the others. That's the person who should be doing the nightly communication and coordination. If nothing else, it gave me peace of mind to confirm that my husband was going to pick up the kids or a roast or my prescription. It also gave the kids an opportunity to say, "Oh yeah, mom, I have a presentation tomorrow and need pipe cleaners and googly eyes!" It is much better to find that out at 6pm than 9pm, trust me. I've been stuck outside the Michael's craft store looking in, right after closing, one too many times! Anyway, communicating with everyone about what to expect the next day helps everything go more smoothly and, I think, is reassuring to the kids that - although life is full of surprises - mom and dad have some things under control and always have their back.
---> Power Move: Ask each of the kids if they have any big, upcoming papers, projects, or presentations. Beware: If you then say, 'well, you had better start on it now', they might not tell you in the future! So, just put the due date on the calendar with any prep work that needs to be scheduled (like that trip to the craft store).
4. Set out clothes and prepare lunches the night before.
Prepare all outfits in advance. Ok, yes, for the kids. But I also mean for yourself! The morning is so much easier if you don't have to decide what you are going to wear, do the ironing, and match up shoes and jewelry while you are half-asleep, changing a diaper, and chasing a toddler. Prepare your lunch and maybe a few snacks to munch on throughout the day. If your food is already ready, you will have more time to rest and enjoy your meal. Also, if you want to go for a walk or workout in the morning, set out your fitness gear the night before next to your bed. It will remind you to go and make it easier to get up, so you will be more likely to do it.
---> Power Move: Prepare everyone's outfits for the week over the weekend!
5. Do one thing at a time, with intention and focus.
I know there are so many things to do and so little time to do it all. However, multi-tasking and flipping from one task to another creates more problems than it solves. You are more likely to make a mistake or forget something, and you are actually much less productive. Also - our kids crave our undivided attention. When I was up in the middle of the night rocking my babies to sleep, I would make sure to look at them and give them my full attention. It both calmed them down and helped us connect deeply. Also, our brains need time to rest and relax. Our mental and emotional health can suffer if we don't learn to disconnect with the world. Screen time is not really the kind of refreshment we need. Phones, TVs, and computers are putting information into our heads. We need time for our minds to think creatively and put new ideas out into the world. This is absolutely critical for us as business owners. So, start the day by making a list of all the things you want and/or need to do today. Pick the top three priorities and focus on one of them at a time until you are done or need a break. You may need to move several to-do's to the next day, and that's ok! It's common for us to focus on what we didn't get done, but I want to encourage you to celebrate what you did get done. The Fearless Climb to the summit of success is achieved by taking just one step at a time!
---> Power Move: Each evening, write down a success you had during the day, something you learned, and something you are grateful for. Then, prioritize your to-do list for the next day so you are ready to hit the ground running in the morning!
So, there are my five simple tips to organize and streamline your productivity this fall for home business owners. Each one is simple, in principle, but starting any new habit can be a challenge. Pick one idea you liked the best and incorporate that into your routine first. You can add another one when you are ready. And, remember, as your kids grow up, your methods will need to adjust, so implement my ideas in the ways that make sense for you and your family!
ENJOY THE FALL SEASON!