Whether you’re more excited about firing up the grill, relaxing on the beach or being more active, the warm summer months can provide challenges for your small business — especially if you’re based at home.
It doesn’t take much for a seasonal change to derail your focus. Maybe your kids are home from school, or a seasonal slump has left you feeling distracted. Sometimes a little extra sunshine is a distraction enough.
But the arrival of the lazy, hazy days of summer doesn’t mean you can forget about your small business goals. Here’s how to stay focused when you’re working at home this summer.
1. Determine your distractions
If you’re lured by outdoor activities, perhaps look at the weather report before planning your business commitments for the week ahead. If the summer heat fatigues you by midday, block time to take a long lunch and rest before tackling the afternoon’s tasks.
Remember, no one’s forcing you to punch a clock when you run your own business from home. Set your own hours, and don’t feel pressured to explain your reasoning.
2. Manage family expectations.
Having your kids home from school in the summer can throw your daily routine far off track. Older kids can work with you to uphold quiet hours when you can work, and they can read or play quietly. Smaller children may require you to limit your working hours to nap times if you don’t have a sitter.
There may be lower-cost alternatives if day camp isn’t in the cards for your family. Half-day camp programs at your local Y or library educational programs can help you squeeze in a few hours of work. Plus, they’ll keep the kids from getting bored.
If other family members have a hard time remembering you still have to work during the summer, have a conversation about your work hours and how those family members can respect your business time.
3. Don’t let long days stretch your work hours.
In the winter, it’s easier to start shutting down work tasks when you see the sun go down around 5 p.m. But when the sunlight stretches on toward 9 p.m. in the summer, you might catch yourself working well beyond regular business hours. If your energy is strong later in the day, go for it! But remember not to overwork yourself.
4. Enlist help.
Teens bored with their summer reading list? Have them help you with small tasks for your business. If your children show an interest in what you do all day in your business, there could be an opportunity to teach them about it. Who knows — your company could turn into a family affair!
5. Take a vacation.
No one expects you to work all summer long without a break. Plan to take a vacation for a week or two, even if you don’t leave town at all. Taking time off will take planning, whether it’s organizing staff tasks or managing your client expectations. But the opportunity to disconnect and recharge can help you come back rejuvenated and excited to work on your small business again.
If you plan to take time off around long weekend holidays like Independence Day and Labor Day, be sure to communicate that to your clients and customers in advance.
Do you have a plan to be productive — or take time to recharge — this summer? Talk to a SCORE mentor to learn more tips for managing your work-life balance this summer.