George Cohon, renowned businessman and founder of...
The school holidays are over and now it's a mad rush to return children to school, complete with labelled clothes, bags and shoes. For working parents and business owners, you may be relishing the thought of 6 uninterrupted working hours a day but for others, the adjustment period can be challenging.
Trying to fit everything into a reasonably short period of time and being aware of all the extra work that will be required after the children finish school can take a toll on your mental health, so in these first few weeks especially, it is important to set yourself achievable targets.
Identify the most important work tasks that must be completed and the dates by which they must be accomplished. Other work may need to be deferred or delegated to allow you to achieve these priority tasks and identifying what needs to wait early allows you sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements.
2. Note important dates.
There will no doubt be parents' evenings to attend, school concerts and extra-curricular activities on the horizon. Make a note of these dates so that either you, your partner or another family member will be able to attend. It is important that your children are supported but that your work does not suffer as a result. Planning ahead is crucial to ensure that all important dates are covered.
3. Adjust your expectations.
Children returning to school after a long break will no doubt be tired and fractious at the end of the school day, and it may be difficult to work with them at home. They will be hungry and demanding of your time, so expecting to complete your day's tasks in the evening may be an unachievable goal. It may be best to assume that any work not completed by the end of the school day will need to roll over to the next day so that anything that you do achieve will be a bonus rather than an expectation.
Parenting and running your own business is hard, but also incredibly rewarding. Allowing yourself and your children the time that is needed to settle into a new regime as they return to school after a long summer break is essential to allow you all to deliver the best of yourselves, to achieve goals and to make progress in both your personal and professional life.
Do not be tempted to judge yourself by the standards of others, but focus on achieving your priority activities, and you will set yourself up for success.