Business, Time Management

Working in the Margins

I know that many of you out there are working in the margins.

What exactly does that mean? It means that you have another job (or two) that take up the bulk of your time. Or that you’re a stay at home parent squeezing your business in around the rhythms of your family life.

It means sometimes (if you’re like me) you have a hard time getting to everything. Sometimes the laundry gets left, sometimes the dishes aren’t washed. At my house most of the time the toys have exploded across the living room. Sometimes the work of pushing your business forward has to be set aside for a little while.

Working in the margins can be hard because it means you’re getting up at the crack of ridiculous to get it in (hello 4:30 anyone?) or staying up really late. It can mean that sometimes you’re too tired, or life gets too busy to allow you to do that.

It can also mean that when other work or family gets really busy your business gets left behind for a little while. This is what I find really hard. I get frustrated when I feel like I’m not making forward progress or checking enough things off my list. If I leave it too long it becomes unmotivating for me because it feels like I’m not going to reach my goals.

I am coming out of a season of busyness right now. I also work as a Figure Skating coach and homeschool my oldest daughter. May/June is year end season. Our skating season ends this week, and over the last month the wrap up has brought AGM’s, awards banquets, competitions, community events, and year end parties.

I also tend to wrap up our homeschool year around June 1 (good weather is just WAY more exciting than third grade math). So along comes, sports days, co-op wrap up, year end projects (YAY), and you guessed it – year end parties.

These things mean that I’m running full speed ahead ALL the time trying to be prepared and organized for the things that are happening in font of me. They’ve also meant that in the last month I’ve done very little here. It’s frustrating. But it’s also OK.

When I stop to take a deep breath and look at all the things that fill my life they’re all good things! They’re all things I find fulfilling and am excited about.

This business is also something I REALLY enjoy. As long as I’m not dropping the ball on any clients (I’m not) then it’s OK for me to pull back a little when the other areas of my life are busy. Isn’t that the whole point of pursuing something you enjoy in the margins of your life? I think so. The point is to have it fit you!

I have created this business to allow me to contribute financially to our family’s income. I built this to allow me to work with my family around and without putting my kids in daycare – cause I want to be home for them as much as I can. So, when things get busy here I need to plan for that and relax. Rather than let it frustrate me I need to take a deep breath and let go. If I work one or two mornings a week right now instead of 5 thats ok. Next week skating is over and school is done. All of a sudden I have time where I didn’t before.

What I’ve come to realize is that working in the margins means that when life gets busy, sometimes I have to leave things in my business to rest for a little while. BUT when the rhythms of our family life slow down then I have time where I didn’t before and I can pick up things in my business that I wouldn’t otherwise get to.

So, how about you? How do you handle your business when life gets busy? I would love to hear how you find balance!

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