Surviving the half-term holidays

Some "slow children at play" signs j...
It's half-term week and parents are busy juggling work and home life.

Not only does this create a challenge for business but also for families planning childcare around their busy working lives. So, how do you cope and how can you make the most of both work and holiday time.

Firstly - don't even attempt to cram a normal working week into four and three day weeks.

Secondly - stay focused and be selective. Not only are clients, customers and providers likely to take some time off but you want to spend time with the family too.

Plan WHAT needs to be done over the week and WHEN you're doing to do it.  If you're planning to have time off with the children - PLAN your work time and family time.  Just because there are fewer working hours available, doesn't mean your productivity and what you can achieve should drop in the time you spend working.

Prioritise - select the 'most important' things you need to work on. What's the minimum you need to do to keep things moving? You'd be surprised at the results you can get when you focus on the right things.

If you work from home, share childcare with friends and family and return the favour when they need a few hours or a day off.

A few focused hours is a far more effective use of your time than being distracted or trying to juggle work around family commitments and ending up feeling guilty and overwhelmed as you split yourself between work and family.

Identify the key tasks and actions you need to do over the week and fit them into the time available.

Set time limits on tasks, so you'll get things done quicker and be less distracted if you only have a limited amount of time.  You could get a lot done in one or two hours a day, leaving the rest of the day clear for family time.

TIP: Use a kitchen timer if you want to be REALLY focused.

Enjoy quality time with the family and a break for yourself.

Some "slow children at play" signs just say "Slow" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7 Great Reasons to Work from Home

English: Rush hour, Liverpool Street

Whether you work from home on a permanent or part-time basis, you run your own business or you usually work in an office, there are great reasons for it:

1. You can work flexibly.  You're not tied to the 9-5 and you can plan your day around other non-work activities.

2. You can get up early or work late if you want to.  If you're an early bird or a night owl - start and finish your work day at a time that suits you and work at times when you're at your peak.

3. You don't need to shop when everyone else does - evenings and weekends.

4. You can create your own workspace - especially if you have a home office away from the noise and distractions of an open-plan office.

5. You avoid the congestion, stress and frustration of the daily rush-hour commute.

6. You can get away from the endless office interruptions - the 'have you got a minute' moments, the water cooler discussions.

7. You'll probably get a lot more done without the distractions of ringing phones, email and loud conversations.

You might even find time to exercise and take a lunch break while having a more productive day.

English: Rush hour, Liverpool Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Power of Teams

English: Tour of Britain
Every year I'm in awe of the Teams taking part in the Tour de France and now the Tour of Britain.

I only started watching it a few years ago and at the beginning didn't understand what on earth was going on.

The riders work as a well oiled machine - working together to get their man to the front at just the right moment - whether it's the sprinter, the hill climber or the leader hoping for the yellow jersey.

Using slip streaming to save energy and taking turns at the front of the 'train'.  Dropping back as a team to bring a key team member to the front who's fallen behind.  Making sure the leaders are fed and watered along the whole route.  Looking out for everyone else - it's not one rider, one race.

How they have the strength, determination and sheer guts to ride over 150km, often up hill and still have the energy to sprint to the line is impressive.

It takes hours of training and miles and miles in the saddle but just goes to show what the human body is capable of when you focus on the end goal.

English: Tour of Britain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)