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If you’re anything like me and my husband, the driving force behind diving into entrepreneurship was the desire for more freedom in our lives.
We wanted the ability to work whenever, wherever, and however we pleased with the ultimate goal of building our schedules around our family.
Being present for our kids while they’re still little is one of our top priorities. Time flies, and we’re all about creating core family memories as long as we can.
At first, it was just me pursuing entrepreneurship. As a mom, I wanted to be present for all those precious moments, but I also needed something for myself. I really wanted to continue to pursue my professional goals without having to go back to a traditional 9-5. Basically, I wanted it all and made it happen on my terms.
Then, COVID came along and gave us a reality check…in one of the best ways.
It opened our eyes to what life could be like if we both had more freedom.
Suddenly, my husband wasn’t stuck in an office from Monday to Friday, only managing to squeeze in an hour with the kiddos before their bedtime —the notorious “witching hour” that all parents know too well.
During the school year, this allows us to be there for every after-school activity, recital, and quickball game! And during the summer, it means we get to enjoy even more time with one another and our two kids!
Back when I started my business, we made a decision to spend every summer as a family, soaking up the sun and salty air at our beloved beach house on the shore.
It’s my happy place, and truth be told, I’m just a better human being when I’m near the water.
Our entire family adores it!
But here’s the catch.
While we prioritize this time out of our normal routine, we still have to work while we’re away! And we found out quickly that without putting the right structures and boundaries in place, it was easy to let work take over, or let family time pull us away from those essential client tasks! It can be a tricky balancing act!
Along the way, we’ve figured out some really helpful tips to make it work for our family (but trust me, it wasn’t always easy), and now I want to share them with you.
I hope our experience helps you find your perfect balance between work and play while you travel this summer.
I’ve collected 7 of my best tips for working away from home to support you if you’re out of town all summer long or on a shorter summer getaway!
Whether you’re like our family and spend the entire summer away from home or plan to take a shorter summer adventure, being able to step outside of your normal routines and live somewhere else for any amount of time is truly special!
It’s definitely one of the perks of being your own boss and running a creative business!
But, in order to make the most of this experience while working as a creative entrepreneur, I recommend you take time to put these 7 tips in place first.
When working away from your home base for an extended period of time, it’s essential to set realistic goals and acknowledge that it won’t be the same as working in your home studio or during non-travel periods.
And you know what?
That’s perfectly fine and to be expected.
Give yourself some grace and adjust your goals and expectations accordingly. This might mean you temporarily reduce your project volume, profit goals, or working hours to set yourself up for success.
Understand that the dynamics of working while enjoying a trip or vacation are different. Interruptions, distractions, and unfamiliar spaces will probably impact your productivity, focus, and capacity.
Embrace flexibility and understand that you might not accomplish as much as you would in your usual environment.
By setting realistic goals that align with your circumstances, you can reduce stress and disappointment for yourself, your clients, as well as friends or family members.
Having a workspace of some kind is important when working away from home. And while you might wish you could copy and paste your home setup and bring it with you to your summer destination, chances are that isn’t quite possible.
Luckily there are some things you can do to make your “studio away from home” as efficient and productive as possible!
If you are away for an extended amount of time and have the space, I highly suggest you carve out a specific area of your summer “home” that you can consistently work from. This office or studio will help you to feel more motivated, organized, and productive during your working hours.
Plus, it physically separates work time and personal time farrrr better than working from bed or at the kitchen counter!
For me, this looked like investing in a little, foldaway desk that sits between the two windows in our bedroom at the beach house. I enjoy great ocean views and I leave this arrangement up throughout the week.
On weekends, I often break it down (it’s an easy 1-minute fold-up) and put my desk into the closet to reinforce my personal boundaries. This curbs the temptation to plop down and do “just a few minutes” of work as I walk past the desk on the weekends.
On the other hand, if you’re taking a shorter trip, one designated workspace may not be an option.
This is where you’ll need to get creative!
If you need a change of scenery or some space to be productive, try a local coffee shop, the hotel lobby or business center, or something else to get some dedicated, focused, uninterruptible time to knock your work out.
Trying to juggle it all in a small hotel room with your family present (if that’s the situation) may make your work take longer. Plus, it will likely be more frustrating and way less effective!
These physical boundaries will help you successfully differentiate work time from personal time!
COO Tip: Don’t leave anything behind when it comes to equipping yourself for successful work while you’re away. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot an essential tool or decided against bringing something that could have made your work easier, better, and more efficient! It might mean carrying a bit more luggage, but if it lets you complete your work effectively and get back to enjoying your time away, it’s absolutely worth it.
Speaking of boundaries…
Boundaries are crucial at all times, but they become even more vital when you’re working away from home during the summer.
I highly recommend you set boundaries and clearly communicate them!
So, how can you determine these boundaries?
Ask yourself questions like,
“Do I want to adjust my hours, my workload, or anything else over the summer?”
To make the most of your summer, it’s crucial to establish clear boundaries from the start.
You don’t want to be caught up in frantic Voxers or Zoom meeting requests while your kids are calling you to join them in the waves. Nor do you want to miss out on family ice cream time because a client call interrupts your evening.
By proactively addressing these areas, you can create the summer experience you’ve envisioned.
COO Tip: On shorter trips, it’s crucial to establish clear boundaries. Take a moment to determine when you’ll prioritize the trip itself and when work can take a backseat. Sometimes, it’s necessary to unplug and fully embrace the vacation experience! Don’t hesitate to reduce your workload, seek team support, or scale back your capacity to ensure you can be fully present during your vacation. Consider working only for part of the trip so you don’t miss out on the whole experience due to work obligations. Remember, you’re traveling for a reason, so don’t let work overshadow the purpose of your trip.
Once your boundaries are established, you’ll want to use them to inform and create your work schedule.
Be sure to set clear schedule expectations with yourself, your family, your clients, and your team (or whoever your work schedule and requirements might impact).
Setting a schedule and communicating it is crucial. If you relocate for the season, aim to make this schedule as standard as possible.
If you’re not relocating but taking a shorter summer trip, you’ll still want to create a schedule of some kind. itineraries can be your friend here, even if you are not a planner! Be sure to proactively include your work windows in the itinerary.
If you know you’re going to need to get work done, make sure you are planning that time out and setting it aside.
NOTHING turns a trip sour faster than a hubby and kids who thought they were destined for a day at the beach but instead find themselves waiting in the hotel lobby because you’re head down, stressed about a deadline and the things you need to do first.
For either scenario, creating a schedule will ensure everyone is on the same page, and you can enjoy a balance between work and summer adventures.
COO Tip: When my kids were little, I mastered the art of squeezing work into their nap time. It was a golden block of uninterrupted productivity. But as they’ve grown older, our approach has evolved. Nowadays, my husband and I have found a new rhythm. During trips or vacations when we do choose to work, we dedicate a few hours in the morning to our businesses, allowing our kids to ease into the day while giving ourselves peace of mind, knowing that we’ve taken care of our must-dos before diving into quality family time.
We all need a little help from time to time.
Remember you don’t have to do it all alone!
If you’ll be away this summer, ask family, friends, team members, and vendors for support where you need it.
Seeking support is especially important for creative entrepreneurs who have kids!
Find and lean on your support system whenever you can, especially when working away from home during the summer.
Personally, I rely on childcare during the workday. We were incredibly fortunate to find the sweetest babysitter who has spent our working hours with our kiddos for the past two summers. This year, her younger sister is stepping in.
We know we’re lucky—it’s honestly a dream scenario.
However, day camps and other childcare options are always available too! We’ve definitely leaned on these in the past– last year’s surf camp and cartwheel camp offered us a few hours of free time to work while our kids had a blast!
Another way to manage it all is to trade off work time and parenting time with your partner. My husband and I have found that taking turns can be a game-changer. He’ll occasionally take the kids out on a “Daddy Adventure” so I can focus on work, and then I’ll plan some “Mommy and Me” time to give him the space he needs.
It’s all about finding that balance together.
Allow yourself to get creative with your solutions. But remember, it’s essential to be mindful and proactive. Otherwise, trying to juggle everything simultaneously can quickly snowball into an overwhelming and unsustainable situation. Take control of your summer and set yourself up for success by building in the support you need.
I am a big fan of leaning on automation in business. Anything that can be automated, should be, especially during the summer when you’ll want to optimize your time and maximize your efficiency.
Automations can help you to streamline your tasks and free up valuable time for relaxation and summer fun!
Automate any repetitive or time-consuming processes you can, so that you’ll have more energy to focus on tasks that require your expertise or personal touch.
Remember, automations are here to make your life easier, not replace your personal touch. So, take time to automate tasks upfront and then let them do the heavy lifting. With these time-saving tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to savor every moment of summer while keeping your business running smoothly.
When you’re traveling there are often windows of time in between big activities that you can leverage to optimize your productivity without missing out on the summer fun!
Make use of the pockets of time to complete quick check-ins or knock small to-dos off your list. Just make sure you can do this without getting sucked in or distracted!
You can often respond to emails or balance your books while people are getting showered and ready, on the car ride to your next destination, or even while you wait for a table to open up at the restaurant.
BUT PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
This only works for some people and horribly backfires for others! So, know yourself and be aware of how this work structure affects you!
Above all, remember why you decided to get away in the first place! It’s all about spending quality time with your loved ones, treating yourself to some well-deserved relaxation, and embracing new experiences outside of your regular routine.
While work will call for your attention, you can find a balance that allows you to tend to your business while also being in the moment during your summer travels!
I TRULY BELIEVE YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL.
Just remember, work will always be waiting for you when you return. So, find that sweet spot between getting things done, serving your clients well, and making the most of your summer plans.
Happy travels, happy work, and may your summer be filled with endless possibilities!
Want to follow along with our summer on the shore?
Click here and give me a follow on Instagram where I’ll offer glimpses into our family’s summer beach getaway and, of course, all things focused on building a creative business that supports the life you’ve always dreamed of living!