When the 9-5 Stops Working For You

When the 9-5 Stops Working For You

As a working mom, you might have a season when you realize that managing all the things in a typical 9-to-5 situation in an office simply won’t work. You can’t or don’t want to walk away from your career, so what do you do? You might be returning from maternity leave, needing or wanting more time with a young child or teenagers, or perhaps you’re having to spend more time taking care of an aging parent. Consider negotiating some kind of flexibility or non-traditional situation such as work-from-home, part time, or job share.

Where do you start?

You know you want more flexibility or part-time hours, but how do you make this transition happen?

Start with your why. Take the time to understand why you want a change instead of jumping to the solution. Your original solution might not be what you actually need to solve your challenge(s).

This why can help guide you in your decision-making and creating the right solution at work and at home. You will also know what to negotiate with a manager or senior leadership. You can start to think about what it looks like and who you need to help support you (e.g., a significant other or a particular team mate, etc.).

Think about it another way. If you decide that a part-time role is what you want without doing the inner work and then realize you really wanted a full-time work-from-home scenario, it’s hard to renegotiate with your manager or senior leadership. While you can make adjustments, it’s hard to completely shift gears in what your flexible role looks like. Need help with doing your inner work? Download my Know Your Why Guide.

 

Thinking through Changes at Home

You know why you want a change and have an idea of ultimately what you want it to look after some self-reflection. It’s really helpful to think through how you’ll make that change happen. Take the time to understand the impact of this change on your family. (We’ll cover your work team below.)

More flexibility can impact your family. When I interviewed more than 110 working moms, they shared that more time with family was the chief benefit of having more work-life balance. There can be great opportunities to spend more time with your kids. That might mean that you need less babysitter time or time with grandma. You might get to be more engaged with an initiative at school or after-school activity.

If you are reducing your hours and potentially dealing with a drop in income (please note that this is not always the case), you might need to scale back on kids’ activities. This is likely something you want to talk to your kids about. I have a whole chapter on the financial side of things when you want to reduce hours, so this is a big topic to cover, including a conversation with your significant other.

There might be implications to your current childcare solution. Your day care might not allow you to only have your child there 4 days a week since you plan to work from home on Fridays and you’re hiring someone to help you at home for half of the day. That might mean you need a new day care option.

Set up time to speak with your significant other about the changes you want to make, especially the financial ones. Talk about areas that you might need help with. See how you divide up your current household and childcare duties and see if you might need to make changes.

Requesting more Flexibility at Work

Your work team dynamic will likely change in some way if you’re asking for more flexibility. If you’re trying to create a job share with a fellow mom, how will you coordinate together and with the rest of the team? How does communication need to work if you’re asking to work from home or reduce your hours? Work out those details before you make the request. And many of the moms I interviewed talked about creating a proposal. I share two versions of a proposal template that you might find helpful.

At some point, you’ll have to negotiate for more flexibility at work. You want to be strategic with how you speak to your manager. See how you can create win-win, so that both you and your team/employer benefit from your flexibility. Highlight your strengths as an employee and focus on what you continue to do, even with more flexibility. Be able to speak to accomplishments and what you bring to the table. You want to show you’ve been a big contributor over time and that will continue, even with more flexibility in your work day.

Once You Get Started

It’s rarely perfect right out of the gate. Give yourself some space to get into your groove. If you see something that really isn’t working for you early on, make some small changes to help. Try not to revamp anything early on unless it’s literally becoming a roadblock. That said, don’t feel like you must stick with a solution when it’s simply not working.

 

What about Leaving the Workforce Temporarily?

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking you’ll take off a year or two and then you’ll head back into the work force. The thing is that it might not be that easy. There is almost always an opportunity cost, whether financial or slower rate of progression in your career, and then there are the challenges of getting back in to the workforce. It’s even more the case if you’re in a highly specialized or competitive field, so keep that in mind.

 

What are you going to start working on to make the change to a more flexible work arrangement? If you’ve already made the shift, what helped you make this change? What advice would you share with others wanting to make a change?

 

Health & Wellness For The Whole Family
Suzanne Brown is a strategic marketing and business consultant and work-life balance speaker, consultant, and author of two books for working moms. She empowers working moms to create the balance they crave with small changes that make a big impact over time. She covers topics such as productivity, time management, engaging mentors and sponsors, and being intentional with your time. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband and two young boys. Find her books online at: http://bit.ly/mpauthorpage.

Suzanne’s latest book, The Mompowerment Guide to Work-Life Balance is now available! Buy it on Amazon HERE.

 

 

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Three Ways To Know If Your Systems and Processes Are Working For You

Three Ways To Know If Your Systems and Processes Are Working For You

Here, at Mom Life Collective, the team is gearing up for back to school. Like many WAHMs, our summer schedules were definitely more relaxed than they are during the school year, so in a way, back to school for the kids also means back to work for us working moms.

Easing back into a school year routine is also a great opportunity to evaluate your current Systems and Processes. Sometimes, having a unpredictable or more relaxed schedule during the summer can expose weaknesses in your systems and processes, so now is the time to address them, so that when the next schedule disruption rolls around, your business won’t completely fall apart.

 

What are Systems and Processes, Anyway?

Even if you don’t call it Systems and Processes, you probably have some in place. It’s nearly impossible to run a business without them!

Your systems are the tools that help you run your business. For example, at MLC, we use a combination of Trello and Voxer for our communication system. We use WordPress and Divi to run our website. So, if you are using tools like Acuity or 17Hats or Trello, you have a system.

Your processes determine how those systems are used. What happens when someone signs up for your email list? Everything that follows is part of your process. What happens when someone schedules a call with you?  Again, that’s your process. For example, we use Trello to semi-automate our submission process– an submission is emailed to us, it is added to a list in Trello, then the content manager takes it from there and pushes it along the path.

 

3 Ways To Know If Your Systems and Processes Are Working For you

The true test of the strength of your Systems and Processes is what happens when you’re not being hands-on in your business. Maybe you’re on vacation or you’ve hired a VA to help you out in your business. If your Systems and Processes aren’t working for you, balls get dropped or things come to a standstill because your touch is needed.

1. Are You Using Your Systems and Processes?

Actually using your tools, and procedures is the first and best measure of whether or not they working for you. Our friend Yvonne Marcus, founder of The Dahlia Scene, says:

If you aren’t using them, it is time to evaluate why. Are they taking too much time? Do they not actually fit your lifestyle? Essentially,  if you aren’t using them,  they either need to be tweaked or dumped for something new. You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole! 

If you’ve tried them all and paid for them all, don’t beat yourself up over it. There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to business, trying to figure out what works for you and your business.  The important thing is being honest about what really works for you, instead of thinking it SHOULD work for you because it works for a lot of other people. For example, Trello is very popular but for some people, it simply doesn’t work with how THEY work.  Or even, despite our digital lifestyles, many people still gravitate towards paper planners. You do you. Make sure it’s working for you and you’re actually using the tools you’ve chosen.

2. Do Your Systems and Processes Save You Time and Energy?

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)  truly does apply when it comes to keeping your business organized and your processes flowing.  When you are first setting up your Systems and Processes,  you’ll spend a lot of time getting things in order and moving things around until they make sense, but once you’ve got that down, your Systems and Processes should be working for you, not the other way around. One way to do this is to figure out what can be automated. For example, if you spend a lot of time scheduling clients or potential clients for calls, investing in a scheduler will help you streamline that process. Not only will a scheduler take the actual work of scheduling off your plate, but you can set up welcome emails, reminder emails and add those potential clients to your email list, all in one fell swoop. Often, you can also collect information you need from your clients when they schedule the call, and collect payment as well.

 

3. Are your Systems and Processes helping you achieve your goals?

Whatever your goals are, your Systems and Processes should be designed to help you achieve them.  Presumably, one common goal is to increase revenue.  If your revenue goals are dependent on a high volume business, how are your Systems and Processes allowing you to manage a healthy client roster? If your revenue goals come from charging a premium for high-touch clients, how are your Systems and Processes helping you avoid being at a client’s beck and call?  If one of your goals is to be able to spend more time with your family, how does your business run when you’re not there?  Do you feel confident that things won’t fall apart if you decide to play hooky from work one day?

 

At Mom Life Collective, we’ve compiled a whole bunch of resources that will help you get Systems and Processes in order.

 

Health & Wellness For The Whole Family

Join The Mom Life Collective Membership Library for access to printables and resources to get organized in both your mom life and business.

So what’s inside?

  • Calendars
  • Planners
  • Home cleaning schedules/ checklists
  • FInancial planning
  • Blogging/ business planning
  • Seasonal planning/ checklists
This post was written by the Mom Life Collective team. Many thanks to Yvonne Marcus for her input! Check out The Dahlia Scene. 

We’d love to hear more about how your systems and processes are working for you. Join us on Facebook!

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

How can you tell it’s Back to School Season? Every blogger worth her salt is posting about school supplies, school lunches, easing back into school year routines, advice on transitions. Here, at Mom Life Collective, we’ve got the same things on our mind but since we are all about working moms, our Back to School post is also for you, working moms!

Here are a few of our favorite things!

Raewyn’s Picks

Raewyn is Mom Life Collective’s Community Manager, a virtual assistant, an Instagram unicorn,  the founder of The Shield Sisters Initiative and The Collab Lab, and mom to three year old Delainey.  With so many projects on her plate, she needs a powerhouse of a planner, and pens that can keep up.

Rae’s favorite planner is the Panda Planner and her go-to pens are these InkJoy Pens from PaperMate.  For D, a durable water bottle that keeps her water cold all day is a must, so she goes to school with a HydroFlask.

Nancy’s Picks

Nancy is Mom Life Collective’s Community Manager, and a virtual assistant. She has three kids, ages 10, 8, and 5. She is a lifelong lover of office supplies, an obsession she indulged in without shame back in her teaching days. These days, running her business from home, she still feeds her office supply addiction, even if she’s no longer buying teacher planners and Job Well Done stickers.

She loves these Yoobi pens, first introduced to her via her Sparkle Hustle Grow subscription box. They must be really popular because they’re out of stock! These Staedler pens are also a favorite.   Moleskine notebooks were Nancy’s paper of choice once upon a time, but these days, she finds a pad of paper more useful. Any note pad will do but the ones from Rifle Paper Co. are pretty!

Michelle’s Picks

Michelle is the founder of Mom Life Collective, and a Digital Stylist & Visibility Strategist to emerging online businesses. Michelle is mom to 4 kids, ranging in age 14, 10, 8, and 5. Former preschool teacher and lover of office supplies, needless to say her favorite time of year is back to school!

Whether you are planning a new product launch or blog posts, sticky notes are a must have to keep it organized and to easily move things around. An organized desk is essential to optimal productivity and this organizer is a perfect fit to any desktop.

And if you are on the go and take your work with you often, then a cute and sturdy laptop bag is a must have!

Interested in writing for the Mom Life Collective?

We would love to feature your article on the MLC blog!

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3 Steps to Breaking Free From The Cycle of Overwhelm

3 Steps to Breaking Free From The Cycle of Overwhelm

The latest statistics show that 92% of working moms and 89% of stay at home moms are overwhelmed with their personal, family, and home responsibilities. As modern moms, we spend three times more quality time with our kids than moms did in the 60’s.  We are constantly battling time-starvation in a world that is going faster every day with more felt expectations than ever before. Between driving kids to activities, answering work emails at home to catch up for the next day, and the endless To-Do lists that keep creeping onto tomorrow’s lists, what I hear most from moms is that they are overwhelmed and exhausted.

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A Week’s Worth of Easy, Healthy Summer Recipes

A Week’s Worth of Easy, Healthy Summer Recipes

During the school year, my menu plan is buttoned up but when summer rolls around, all that goes out the window.  5pm rolls around and I have no plan for dinner while my kitchen seems to be stuck in snack mode. How many times a week can I let my kids have cereal for dinner? I mean, theoretically, every single night because who’s counting and who’s judging, right?  But I digress. A healthy meal that comes together quickly is the best remedy for those summertime dinner slumps. Here are seven easy meals to make, along with a shopping list that’ll make sure you have what you need.

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