Hitting the Reset Button: New School Year, New Family Goals for Productivity and Inspiration
By: April Horency
“I’ll miss my kids running around the house and interrupting my work to tell me they need a snack.” That is something moms who run their small businesses from home probably didn’t say this year. Or ever. With back-to-school season upon us you may miss your kids, but simultaneously feel immensely relieved. Regardless of the emotions the phrase back-to-school brings up in you, it can be a great time for you to refocus your family goals and schedule.
I joke that kids are constantly interrupting your work when they’re at home, but a study by the Washington Post showed just how often it happened over the past year. The longest uninterrupted period they documented was 19 minutes and 35 seconds. That becomes quite unfortunate when it can take 20 minutes or more for people to focus again on the task at hand following an interruption.
Reflect and Reset: Goals to Move You and Your Family Forward
While running your business is your job, school is your child’s job. Taking the time to reflect and set new goals can give you both the reset you need to nail it this year.
For Your Kids
A new school year is the perfect time for kids to reflect on the previous school year and set goals for the upcoming one. To help them do so, try discussing their triumphs from last year, skills they would like to improve on, and what they are looking forward to most now that they are back in the classroom.
Luckily school is finally back in-person so your full focus during the day can be directed on your work. The typical morning drop-offs and afternoon school bus pick-ups are returning to your daily schedule, but that time in between remains for you. It’s a great time to focus on setting goals to further your business. Try asking yourself what you’d like to see different in the months ahead and what projects you are ready to tackle with more time on your hands.
Advice from Our Experts
“If you’re running on fumes after the past year-plus, don’t feel pressured to set high expectations for yourself right away,” says certified life coach and Rowan Tree member Diana Forbes. “Instead, the opposite approach — reflecting on what you DON’T want — can be just as effective to improve your quality of life.”
She created her “Stop It! Smackdown” as a free tool on her website to help overwhelmed moms take stock of how much they have on their plates and identify what needs to be eliminated. Putting firm boundaries in place to keep those draining elements from wearing you down can allow you more time and bandwidth to be inspired toward bigger goals.
Sometimes you need to filter out distractions and set boundaries around your work environment, too. If your home isn’t providing you with the concentration you need, you’ll want to switch up the atmosphere to find new inspiration, or connect with other small business owners just like you. In either case, Rowan Tree may be the place for you. The “treehouse” can give you a workspace to escape to optimize your concentration (no dirty dishes or laundry here!), opens up your creativity, and exponentially increases your small business network.
Change Your Scenery and Change Your Mindset
Have you noticed your kids don’t always sit at their desk to do their homework? They need their own dedicated workspace for homework just as you do for your work, but sometimes we can all benefit from a change of scenery to feel motivated.
For Your Kids
Give them the homework space they need at a desk or counter space, but also allow them to change things up to the couch, or sprawled on the floor, to help keep them more productive.
Remind yourself that when you are feeling blocked or unmotivated, sometimes changing your four walls makes a massive difference. Whether you are changing from your office to the kitchen, sitting on your back patio, or taking in the twinkle lights at the treehouse, you can stay productive and inspired by switching your workplace. Working at Rowan Tree as little as once a week can help you feel energized and fulfilled. One of our community members even noted that her spouse knows when she’s been at the treehouse because she returns home happier!
Balancing Act: Activities, Meals, and More
After school activities such as sporting events and school activities are returning this year, too, in addition to work and networking events. This makes your evenings hectic as you rush your kids around while trying to make sure they still have time to do their homework and you get a healthy meal on the table. How quickly our schedules sped back up!
For the Whole Family
In order to balance all of these responsibilities, try setting goals with your kids and develop a game plan. For example, is family dinner important to you as a mom? Try creating rituals such as Taco Tuesday or Sunday dinner so that you get that quality family time without being upset about the weeknights that activities take over. Establishing a family game or movie night can ensure family time too.
Advice from Our Experts
Diana agrees that prioritizing as a family can scale back decision fatigue and stress in a major way. “The forced isolation of 2020’s stay-at-home orders was a traumatic experience, but I hope families — and especially mothers — will carry forward their valuable realizations about what they truly missed versus activities and obligations they felt lighter without.” Her biggest piece of advice for moms, in particular, here? “Moms who decide their own priorities have better results enlisting family support, helping them to protect enough time and energy to keep moving forward. Instead of trying to manage everything for everyone, moms need those ‘big rocks in the jar’ first to help them filter the rest of what’s allowed in.”
The process of negotiating rules and setting goals is tough, but becoming a member at Rowan Tree provides you with a group of women who are facing the same issues and can share solutions they have found. Their focus is not only on business, but also well-being. Navigating the ebbs and flows of small business ownership, mental health, personal development, self-care, and more. Together with the diverse community of other women business owners, you can help figure out how to make the transitions and challenges easier.
Even though work may be easier with no kids at home, parenting and business ownership will always be filled with its ups and downs. Showing your kids your journey helps them understand we are all a work in progress and learning as we go. Work together and instead of hitting snooze, hit the reset and refocus button this back-to-school season.