As we are getting closer to Spring Break, I’ve had to make some decisions. Do I want to work and send the kids to daycare? Do we want to travel? Will it be a working trip or a trip where I completely take off to recharge? As I started to weigh my options and then plan accordingly, I knew I had to share my process and systems with you! Without routines many of us entrepreneurs know that overwhelm can happen very quickly and when that happens it's a slippery slope to burn out and we need to be careful.
Now, you know how much I love routines, knowing what happens on each day and finding my rhythm every Monday to start a new week feels great but then our schedule drastically changes because the kids are off of school. Whether it’s summer, breaking for holidays like Christmas or Easter, or the random day off for parent teacher conferences and so on…we need to come up with a plan to make the most of out of this time.
We are planning the girls’ spring break coming up but I hope this is a blog that you come back to before summer starts and other times throughout the year! After all the planning and prep, I realized it really came down to only 3 simple steps.
Create A Plan
How can we ever call anything a success when we don’t have a vision or an end goal in mind?? We need to have a plan and really what it comes down to is making a decision. First things first, let’s discuss what YOU actually want for this break.
Do you want to work? Do you want to take time off and recharge? Do you want to invest that time in personal growth? Do you want to incorporate both work AND play?
The best news is, there is no right or wrong answer! I say that it might be bad news because some of you might be thinking just tell me what to pick!! But everyone needs something different and this is why you need to stop comparing yourself to your neighbor that just took the family to Mexico, or the million other amazing things people are doing on your news feed. Figure out what feels good to you and your family and then choose the one that feels the best for you.
Typically for me, I might send my kids to day care 2-3 days that week and then keep them home for the rest of the week and really spend some quality time with them. This way I can still get my top priorities done but then spend some extra time with them. That was my original plan until a friend suggested I go to a conference coming up she was attending. I already decided my schedule was pretty maxed out this Spring and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere without bringing my kids, and now that Tanner is in Kindergarten we have to actually be careful with how many days of school she's missing. When I looked at the calendar I realized the dates were over Spring Break and they happen to be where we have family in Phoenix, Arizona.
I decided that if I was going to go I wanted to bring them with but I wanted to make sure we had some fun together too. I didn’t want this to be fly in and out just for the conference so I decided to plan the trip for 6 days and the conference is only 3 days, 8-4pm which is pretty much what would have happened at home. They most likely would have gone to daycare 3 days and it would have felt the same but now they are in sunny Phoenix and get to swim and be in nice weather…it was a no brainer!
Now I want to share that my husband can’t go on this trip. He has mandatory training for work and could not get off. So that was another conversation I had to have, how do you feel about me leaving for another week and how do you feel about me taking the kids? Getting on the same page with him is important to me and if he didn’t want me taking them then obviously I would have had to turn it down.
The next question I know someone might ask is who is watching the kids while I'm there? I do have family there but they also work and that wasn’t an option. So I'm bringing someone with me to help and she will watch the kids while I'm at the conference. Finding someone to help like this is a lot easier than you think! I actually have a few girls who are always interested in doing trips like these because leaving Wisconsin for Arizona in March is pretty exciting but I even have friends in California who can also get people to jump on this too. So that is what I decided for Spring break.
I want to quickly talk about Summer because it's approaching quickly and if you are liking this and really want me to do a deep dive on summer when it gets closer, make sure to let me know and I will make sure I do a podcast for you! As far as summer, I started to ask myself what do I want out of it. Will we take any trips? How many days will I work? These are all things I need to finalize. First, I actually do not like traveling in summer…I think it's the best time of year in Wisconsin, I love our house and having a pool there is really no reason to leave and I limit it as best as I can. We might take a family trip in June somewhere because we are buying a new rental property and June might be the only time that works for us. It's not ideal but sometimes it happens and it will be a trip with all 4 of us so that it feels better.
But let’s talk about our working schedule. I'm shocked when I hear people say they take summer off from their business!! It's really hard to understand how that is even possible. Unless you have systems in place, a team to help, and your business is running on autopilot, how can you afford to not bring in new leads and sales over summer? I don’t suggest that at all if you are not in a place of automation. It can be very hard to come back in September and pick up the momentum again.
I'm all for cutting back in summer because what I have found is I only work on the absolute most important stuff and I do want to utilize the extra time with my kids as well. So again, this is not the magic number but for my family this works well. Our kids will go to daycare Monday, Wednesday and Thursday every week. That gives me 3 full days from about 9-4 to work. This is when I know the house is empty, I can record podcasts and do my Facebook lives without any interruption. That still gives me 4 full days with the kids and on the two week days where the kids will be home, I plan to wake up at 5 or 6am and work until they wake up. I won’t do a miracle morning where I mediate and read and all of that, I will most likely jump right into my office and know that I might only have 1-2 hours to get something done. When they get up I'm officially on my off day.
Now depending on what you picked, you can pick and choose which tidbits of what I'm about to share you want to implement, but I think all of them will apply at some point!
Maybe you chose to take time off and recharge. That actually still requires being intentional. Being intentional not to check your email, not to take work calls, etc. If you know you need time off to recharge, be sure to follow through with it an actually take the time off. I know for many of us, it may be hard to unplug from work so instead of thinking what you're NOT going to do (like I mentioned don’t check your email, don’t take work calls!) I really want you to shift your focus as to WHAT YOU ARE going to DO! Get excited, think of things you haven’t done in awhile, maybe an old hobby or activity you used to do when you had time before kids, anything that excites you!
Here a few ways to recharge:
- Pick a fun book
- Plan an overnight getaway – it doesn’t have to be a long or far away trip to make it fun and memorable
- Do something you have never done before (if you have kids incorporate them in this too) maybe for a long time you have been talking about trying XYZ as a family, well now is the time! Do it!
- Exercise, get outdoors, etc.
Now if you want to take time off and recharge that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the ability to do that with kids at home. So I would be intentional about how you can squeeze in that bath one night or maybe you get a babysitter one night. Whatever that means for you! I wouldn’t just recharge as a family, I would definitely schedule in some alone time. Even if that is a 20 minute walk!
My favorite ways to relax
- Going for a walk by myself (when it’s nice outside!)
- Bath with salts, a candle, music *like you are at the spa*, a diffuser
- A good book that doesn’t have to do with work
- Soul cycle or a fun workout class where I get to be with other grownups and feel good walking out
Maybe you have no choice but to be at home with the kids AND you still want to squeeze in work. Here are a few ideas of how you can still do both (intentionally). Yes, this requires planning ahead like purchasing fun kid activities..
Now you might be thinking well, I'll just give them a tablet and they will be good for a few hours which I get it… screens are so easy to distract our kids BUT you and I both know that it isn’t the best option to keep our kids busy and after I’m done working and I realize they’ve been on it way too long. I feel guilty and I don’t want to feel that way after a productive work session.
So with that said I want to give you a few screen & tablet free ideas on how to keep the kids busy so you can squeeze in that work time!
Find a friend and see if they would be able to take the kids on Monday and you take them on Tuesday. Even if the other parent isn’t a working mom and she says she can just take them, tell her no! She needs time off too and you would be more than happy to take them. You guys know stay at home moms need breaks more than any of us! So give her that time and you don’t have to feel guilty when the kids are at her house all day.
Where can you go where you can work and your kids can be at daycare?
Now I don’t really use these because my kids go to an in home daycare but every time I visit places like these I always think this is what I would do if I had to watch the kids and get work done.
- Ikea – We are fortunate enough to have an Ikea 10 minutes from our house that they just built. You may not know that they have a really great daycare where you can drop your kids off for up to 2 hours on weekdays and an hour on the weekends. My kids love it SO much when we go there just so they can play in the daycare. Inside of Ikea they have a little restaurant with wifi, so grab something to eat or drink and bring your computer with!
- Chick-fil-A – Teagan asks me to go to Chick-fil-A at least every other day. I actually don’t like the food there anymore only because I’m gluten free and all the good stuff has gluten in it so it’s rare we go here, but if I had to get in some work, this is where I would take them for sure!
- Your gym or YMCA – We're members at a gym where they have daycare and again the kids can be in the daycare for 2 hours each day and the gym has a little cafe area with free wifi. I do this when I just need a break from work and from the kids. I will go sit in the steam room and just take a walk around the track and feel super refreshed.
- Check out local areas around you or ask your Facebook friends for some suggestions on places like these!
Find activities they can get lost in. What we've done at home is set up 3-5 stations with DIFFERENT activities and/or assignments for them. For example, marvel beads, legos, puzzles, a coloring sheet or activity pad with things like word search/mazes/etc. depending on your kids age. We do Playdoh, draw a picture of your favorite place/thing to do, play dress-up, anything your kids would be interested in! You can have them rotate stations every 15-20 minutes like they do at preschool and make sure these are as mess-free as possible so you do not need to help in between activities! Make sure you explain stations ahead of time and let them know when they hear the ding they head to the next one so it will require little to no prompting from you.
No matter what type of spring break you are choosing to take, now we need to prepare for it. It's usually not in execution, but it's in the preparation.
My mother in law recently wanted to start the Bulletproof diet (I may or may not have convinced her) and she was going to start the diet last week. What she didn’t know was we were throwing her a surprise party for her 60th birthday and everyone was coming into town to visit. My husband is from Manitowoc, Wisconsin which isn’t too far. We will drive there just for the day but we wanted to stay the weekend and see our out of town cousins so we surprised her with the party on Saturday and then on Sunday, we stayed to spend the day with them. I felt really bad when I realized it was her day to prepare to start her new diet. Obviously she would rather spend time with her kids and grandkids so I knew we weren’t bothering her BUT I also knew if she didn’t properly prep for her diet on Sunday, chances are the execution wasn’t going to go as planned. When I chatted with her the following weekend she said she really wasn’t able to do it. So I really want you to get in your head that the preparation is so much more important than the execution piece because it's the foundation. If you haven’t prepped, the execution is 10 times harder.
Prepare For It
One of the most important things you can do is to schedule it. Get it on the calendar. As I wright this it's the end of February and I already went into my schedule for summer and blocked off every Tuesday and Friday and I blocked out spring break at the beginning of the year when the kids got their school schedule. If you don’t have it on the calendar it's really easy to schedule something else! Ask yourself, is there even enough time when you decide how many hours here and there? How will this work? We’ve got to get realistic!
We also always have systems in place to make sure things are running smoothly and constantly running. Maybe you do want to work but only on visionary things. If that's you, put an auto-responder on your email so you can focus on that one thing with ease and no distractions! Make sure to set up a client attraction system that will take care of getting you new leads (and sales if you have existing products/programs) while you're away for the week. These are the types of things we are working on in my group coaching program Propel. You should be able to take a maternity leave and still make money and not have to shut down your business.
Another thing you a do is send out an email 1 week prior to all important contractors, employees, anyone you talk to on a regular basis that needs to know you are off next week or that you will only be checking emails on certain days. If you haven't already started batching your content…start now! Before your break ask yourself, do you need to work ahead on anything right now? For summer, I will record all episodes before my kids last day of school in May. This way with limited time, I can then focus on live streaming which I can’t batch and also have time saved so I can be on other people’s podcast.
Do you need to buy, order, or book whatever you need?? Let’s say you're getting a massage…don’t wait until Spring break to schedule it. Call now and make an appointment! Buy new toys or books they haven’t seen before so it's super exciting and lasts longer, only bring out 1 at a time and hide them until it’s time to play with them. Here are a few other ways to prepare:
- Find your friend where you will swap babysitting and get it ready to go now.
- Book your trip if you think you're going somewhere. Book your flights, rental car, and hotel. Don’t just say you are doing it…actually move forward with it.
- Set up an agreement with the kids. How long is mom going to work while they play by themselves and then what times are we going to do something together? Discuss it together and decide what they want to do or what they want break to look like.
- Maybe the kids only get screen time while I'm on screen time but that only works if you can actually stop when you want them to stop.
I really want you to understand that the type of break you take is really important to the health of your business and your family. Only you can decide which one you need. Don’t look at what others are doing and wish you would have decided one over the other. Evaluate where you're at and what you need most and then decide what you want to do. I think no matter what you need to have some sort of recharge every day, every week, every month. Don’t forget to do that even if you decide to work like normal and keep going. We all need some down time. Your to do list will never go away. You could work all day, all night, every weekend and it will still have a million things on it. I’ve had to realize that this is a part of being an entrepreneur and you can take breaks and come back recharged and motivated to get back to work without breaking but your work starts to suffer and your family life definitely suffers so be super intentional with your breaks and figure out what is going to work best for you!
Something super exciting we have one of our most popular programs coming back the profit mastermind——–If you know you don’t have systems in place to truly take breaks, your business really can’t run without you, I highly suggest you think about joining what is our 4th round already of the profit mastermind. This is going to be a small class of only 25 ladies building systems in their business that can take off on maternity leave without leaving money on the table or worse reimbursing people. They can take a vacation and check out, they can work part time in summer without earning apart time income. It is 90 days to consistent leads and sales on autopilot – the program begins on april 1st HOWEVER in the last 3 classes we have sold out in as fast as 48 hours, we have grown quite a bit since we launched this last and we do expect this to go quickly. If you want to be added to the waitlist to find out when these spots will be released go to –—- www.bit.ly/profitmastermindwaitlist for more info —–When you add yourself to the waitlist we will email you the details first! So go check it out asap and get on the waitlist again that is —- problrm with links see you soon!!