Deciding how to manage the Summer Holidays is challenging enough when you work for someone else, but when you run a business, it can be an absolute minefield!
Do you ‘shut down’ for the summer period so that you can spend your time with family? Do you bring more staff in, and effectively ‘get cover’ for yourself? Or do you just carry on regardless, perhaps working more evenings and weekends?
This is my first Summer Holidays as a co-founder and company director, and also my first real (and by that I mean 6 week) Summer Holidays full stop! So when I started thinking about it towards the end of last term, I had two questions to answer:
- How am I going to keep my five year old amused for six weeks?
- How am I going to keep up with the demands of a start-up at the same time?
Luckily, I’m something of, (or if I’m being honest, a lot of!) a planner, so as soon as the May half term hit, I was busy researching what my options were. What options were available locally? What were the hours and did they take Childcare Vouchers? How much time could I afford to take off, and how much time did I think was appropriate for her to be spending in any sort of holiday provision? And then of course there was Nana – my wonderful Mum, my life-saver in times of childcare strife, and my daughter’s co-conspirator and expert guide when it comes to all matters of fun and mischief.
So as I write this, we’re two weeks in to the six (and a bit) week break, and I’m actually feeling pretty good about how it’s going! But what have I learned so far?
Plan, plan, and then plan some more!
For me this one was a no-brainer. I’m not the type to launch myself into a six week Summer Holidays with no plan. Knowing exactly where my daughter was going to be; with whom; and for how long was fundamental. That allowed me to identify the windows that I had for work, plan my diary accordingly, and crucially, communicate that to clients and stakeholders, allowing me to manage both workload and expectations.
If you don’t ask…
Another good decision I made was actually asking my daughter what she wanted to do. For example, did she want a holiday club that focussed on sports? Or one that involved a lot of arts and crafts? In our case, she chose the latter. Allowing her some input was a wise move as it meant that she settled in to her holiday club quickly, which meant that drop offs were smooth and I could maximise the time available in my work ‘windows’.
Stick to a routine.
I had expected my daughter to want to ‘down tools’ during the summer holidays, and have a real, and very well deserved, break from anything school-related. However, we’re only two weeks in and she has already declared that she misses her classroom. So why not take that as an opportunity? Plan some reading , writing or craft activities into your day. You’ll minimise holiday learning loss, and if the activity can be done next to you while you get a little work done, then happy days!
Let’s face it. Your ‘usual schedule’ has probably gone somewhat out of the window, so good communication is crucial.
One part of this is communicating with your clients and customers. Be clear when you’re working and when you’re not. If you aren’t reachable in the usual way, let them know. If you need to ‘pause’ your social media, so be it. We all deserve a break.
But on top of this, you also need to be honest with yourself. Figure out what is realistic in terms of what you can achieve over the summer holidays. Don’t try to spread yourself too thinly. And also, be honest about when you need help. And don’t be scared to ask for it.
Take time for you, too.
Deciding how to manage the summer holidays really isn’t just about the children. Getting them organised and happy is one thing, but it’s also important to take time for yourself aswell. At Tabono HQ we believe that the true strength of a business lies in the entrepreneur, and summer is the perfect time both to reset, and to plan for the coming year!
(And if those plans include starting a business, get in touch with us. We’d love to hear more about you and your dream business, and to chat more about how we might be able to help you get it started!)