Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wearing Two Hats: Resume Writer and Mom

I'm not a mom myself, but I am a dedicated aunt to a whole bunch of nieces and nephews, including "The Five Princesses," who are featured prominently in my Facebook timeline. (My brother lives next door to me, and when he has the girls, they're frequently found at my house.)

The "Five Princesses" on Halloween. 

So while the kids aren't around 24/7/365, when they are next door, I really understand the challenges of resume writers who are also parents. And one of those challenges is balance (and, along with that, time management). An advantage of being a self-employed resume writer is the flexibility that it *can* offer you, to both serve your clients and support your family (financially, emotionally, and physically).

A balanced life helps you continue to "have it all" and gives you the time you need to enjoy the life you've designed. Here are some tips, strategies and ideas to balance your working and family time.

  • Schedule time for everything. It may sound extreme. However, scheduling time to work and time to play really does help you find the balance that's right for you. Scheduling your life forces you to look at your priorities and make sure you find time for them. When Sean has the girls, I know that I'm not going to get a lot of work done. (Unless you count a massive shredding party as "work." Kids love to help out. Get them involved in your work.) Conversely, when they're not here (or when your kids are at school, for example), buckle down. Schedule your client consultations for those times, because it's not going to be quiet when the kids are around!

Allocate your schedule as you see fit. For example, you may decide that working from 6 a.m. to noon every day works best for you. Then you have from noon until bedtime to focus on your mom responsibilities. Alternatively, you may decide that working three 10-hour days a week works best for you and then taking the other four days to focus on your mom responsibilities. There's no right or wrong schedule here. A balanced life is defined by you.

  • Prioritize. This is important for both your business and your personal life. There's always more to do in every area of your life. Take the time to prioritize both. For example, for your business your priorities are likely your income-producing activities (writing resumes, career coaching, etc.). The time you spend working with clients (or working on client projects) is a high priority.  

On the personal side, spending time with your partner each week is a priority -- as is spending quality time with your children. However, cleaning the house or having the greenest lawn on your block may not be a high priority.

  • Get help. Once you know where your priorities are, you'll most certainly notice that there are tasks and responsibilities that are not on that list. For example, the house cleaning or your bookkeeping. These are tasks that get pushed to the back of the list. These are also tasks that you can get help with. For example, you can hire a housecleaner for an hour a week, or outsource your bookkeeping to a professional (or a virtual assistant). Figure out the "highest and best use" of your time. If you can make $50/hour working with clients, it can be worth it to hire a neighborhood kid (or your own kid!) for $10/hour to mow the lawn or rake the leaves.

Make sure that when you outsource a task you fill the available time created with a high priority task. For example, if you outsource your bookkeeping, perhaps that frees up three hours of your time each month. Make sure you use that time to work on income-producing activities. The goal is to earn more money than you're spending on outsourcing.

Finally, learn to recognize when your life feels out of balance. There's no formula that can tell you. It's up to you to know when things are askew. This is where regular planning sessions and quiet time alone can help. You can perform an honest analysis of your life and where it is going and make any changes necessary. This is your life. You decide how you want to live it.

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