By Kelly Cutler, an EO Chicago member and the CEO of Marcel Media, a digital marketing company.
This is an open letter to all of the “Mom-preneurs” out there. First of all, I have an aversion to the term “Mom-preneurs.” Why do women require special terminology just because we have babies and businesses? Amazingly, it is still viewed as an anomaly to own a growing business while rearing young ones. So, I thought I would dig into this topic for the women EO members (I know you’re out there!) who want to master the art of juggling responsibilities.
Like you, I meet a lot of new people through business, my Forum, networking and EO. One question I often hear when people discover that I own a company, teach at a major university and have two small daughters is: “How do you juggle it all?” My answer, though seemingly self-explanatory, comes down to one word: scheduling.
It is not a fool-proof plan, but scheduling has helped me increase my business by more than 30 percent every year; amplified my in-office productivity by more than 100 percent; improved the quality of time spent with my children and husband (without sacrificing quantity of time); and given me more time for me. How do I accomplish this? Most of it boils down to planning. Here are some tips:
- Keep the calendar up to date, and live by it. I have seen too many people who don’t follow this seemingly simple tenet become overwhelmed, double-booked and stressed.
- Clear the calendar when needed. I limit my weeknight activities to one per week. This includes EO events, Forum, work events and social events like book club or happy hour.
- Keep an annual calendar for family and business travel. Schedule vacations, EO Global events, conferences, etc. well in advance. This will make your spouse and kids happy, too!
- Mornings are for ME. I wake up early and go to the gym. I have a chance to clear my mind, and I go into the office raring to go. Make sure you have some “you” time each day.
- Evenings are for my kids. My family eats dinner together every evening. We frequently go to the park, work on homework and attend after-school events on weeknights. I fire up the laptop once the kids are in bed, but I relish the time we have after work and before bedtime.
- Limit technology during family time. We have a “no phones during dinner” rule, and I try to extend that for the entire afternoon/evening. There are those times when all busy entrepreneurs have to take a conference call from the school parking lot in their car, but I try to limit them.
- Finally, and most importantly, have great support. Too many people can’t or won’t rely on a support system. I have found that hiring a professional assistant and paying them generously is the key. I recommend a former teacher or daycare provider, and I always do a background check and call references. Besides my family, the two most important people in my world are my nanny and my executive assistant.