I run our family business, the Lucerne Tree Farm, while I homeschool, and it has been a stress and a juggle to do both at times. Over the years I have found some simple methods that keep the day running smoothly and keep me fairly sane.
Keep Office Hours
When I gave up my teaching job to stay home to look after our new baby, I ended up working for my hubby in his engineering firm. Working for him became an area that caused a lot of conflict in our relationship, especially during our early married life.
While we were working hard to establish his new business, he expected me to do business all day and any time he needed at night. There always seemed to be work to catch up after hours when my hubby came home from work. I became increasingly frustrated trying to be professional while breastfeeding at the office. I hated the noise and engineering mess of my hubby’s workshop and eventually decided to work for him from home. This was back in the 90’s where we only had a fax and a landline. We had many miscommunications, many last-minute orders to process, and many late nights when I knew I had a baby who would still wake me a dozen times all night for feeds as well. I was super-stressed! On one particularly bad day, late at night, I think I resigned 5 times!
I decided that for the health of our relationship, the professionalism of our work and for the most important job in the world – to be a mommy to my baby, my hubby needed an admin or personal assistant, and so he hired a secretary. She never worked after hours, and certainly never at 11pm at night! I realized that there was a simple boundary in her work conditions = office hours!
Fast forward to our current business, and with some years of maturity and experience behind us, I decided that establish office hours to do our admin and especially to answer and make phone calls. We have early morning meetings to confirm plans, make arrangements, delegate duties, confirm payments and orders, and to book appointments on our calendars. As a married couple and business partners, this helps us remain in unity and to keep our business running smoothly.
Unless there is an emergency or something really special and vital, I do not work after 5pm or on weekends. This “rule” protects our private and family time and gives me the much-needed break from constant work demands.
I believe that we have to know what our big YES is for this season in our lives. Is it motherhood, homeschooling, keeping a home? Is it a professional job? When you know what your YES is for your life in this season of your life (the focus may shift and change), then you are better able to say NO to the rest. You can say NO to taking phone calls during school time or during family meals. You can take time off to be with your children, family, friends and church ministry separate from work.
I hope that these practical tips help you. If you need any more information or have helpful suggestions, please share in the comments below.