My Guide to School Holiday Survival

My Guide to School Holiday Survival

So, if you’re a working mum like me and you run your own business, you’ll know how hard it can be keeping all the plates spinning at work and being a good fun time mum during school holidays.  Especially throughout the epic 6-week summer holiday.

It can feel that as soon as you get into your flow, creating momentum and rhythm another school holidays rears up its head.  There are 13 weeks of school holidays in a 52-week year plus 5 inset days!  So that’s just over a quarter of the year thinking about childcare madness.


And breath!

So I think I’ve got it sewn down after 3 years of running my business; both coaching clients and running other people’s social media.  It seems to be going ok – so you can do it too!

Here’s my guide to school holiday survival:

1 – get dressed

It may seem like a simple thing, but there have been times when I’ve caught myself wild eyed, with bad breath, in my dressing gown at 11.30am desperately trying to get all the work out of the way so I can go and spend time with Robin.

I wouldn’t live like this normally, it almost feels like having a new born again; when I’d be lucky if I’d brushed my teeth and hair before midday.  Stop – we are not animals!

So no more rushing out of bed, straight to the desk, repeating the mantra ‘must get all this shit done before daughter (or son, or both) gets bored and starts demanding my attention’.

Instead, wake up a little earlier, have a shower, brush your teeth – treat yourself like the Goddess you are and wear some nice clothes.  You’ll feel better, more productive and in control.

2 – eat something

Same kind of scenario as above really.  Also seems obvious, but I’ve found myself hunched over my keyboard, stomach rumbling, realising its midday and I haven’t eaten anything.  (I’ve even managed to get to 6pm before I realised, but that was without Robin, just a very busy day!).

Enjoy breakfast with your child (or children), it doesn’t need to be a big drawn out affair, just cereal, something in you and them, and then get to work.

3 – plan like a mother f*****!


So I literally couldn’t work if I didn’t plan my day.  I love my Self journal, which gives me spaces to fill in what I’m going to be doing from 6am – 9pm (you don’t need to fill it all in). 

I schedule out what I need to do for the day, and then block those tasks out.  Make sure you also schedule in tea breaks and lunch, otherwise they won’t happen.

4 – get up early

If you can and you’re an early riser imagine how much you could get done (once you’ve got dressed and eaten) before everyone else is up? 

This works for me some weeks and not so much others depending on where I am in my cycle.  Sometimes I just want to roll around in bed until 9am (can you imagine?) But if inspiration takes hold get up in the hour of 6 and blast off some of those tasks, you have more play time later in the day.

5 – work later

Now I’m not so good at this most of the time, by the time I’ve put Robin to bed I am knackered and ready for some Netflix or endless hours checking out Instagram.  But occasionally I’m filled with fire, have loads of energy and can get stuff done.  The kids are asleep, so you’re adding to the precious hours you can spend with them when their little peepers open!

6 – work in 15 minute slots

This may sound a little crazy but I give myself 15 minutes to do a task. It focuses the mind and makes me get on with it.  Someone told me about a system ages ago where you did tasks in 20 minutes and I just couldn’t see how it would work.  And now I’ve shaved 5 minutes from it!  I’m so much quicker at my tasks.  I know I only have 15 minutes, so I don’t get distracted by social media or emails and just hunker down.  Obviously some tasks do take longer than 15 minutes (like writing this blog, uploading it and sharing it with the world), but if I split the task up, and maybe run around a little in between the 15 minutes I’m so on it! 

It’s also fantastic for your back and posture to get up and have a walk and a jump around every 15 minutes!

7 – set goals

This is such a biggie for every part of your business!

You’ve only got a small amount of time to fit everything in.  So creating only 3 daily goals and being focused will help you complete your to-do tasks.  If you don’t get it done, pass it on to the next day, but don’t beat yourself up over it.  I also set 3 weekly goals so bigger things can be completed over several days, but still, break this down into manageable chunks.

And if you want to get even more focused I love 90 day goals, but we’re veering into another blog territory!

8 - be realistic

You want to get things done and you want quality time with the kids.  So be realistic about what you can do.

During my time with Robin I’m generally doing what is required so I can get paid, all the emails and my own social media just stops for a time.  People don’t really mind if you don’t reply to an email for a few days, and as amazing as you are people won’t fall off your love wagon if you don’t post up on social media.  The world just carries on turning.

9 – set up your out of office

I know that I’m bad at responding to emails, so whenever anyone emails me they get a response instantly telling them that I don’t always get time to respond to emails every day, but if it’s urgent tweet me – as I’m always checking that. 

I got this tip in one of those ‘amazing female entrepreneurs share their secrets’ articles, at first I thought it would seem a little slack, but I’ve had people comment how professional it sounds and how they’ve set one up too.

10 – get to know the tools that will help you

As well as the out of office there are tons of tools out there to help you do your job.  Some of my favourites are buffer, if this then that, asana, tweetdeck and audiense.  They help me do my job more efficiently so I’ve more time to play with Robin, and when she’s not around more time to spend time on my business.

11 - grab someone else’s kid for the morning

I have an only daughter, so if I’ve got a lot to do I’ll create a play date, so my daughter gets to mess around with her friend.  They are so busy playing in her room, I only get called occasionally for milk and biscuits! It means I can focus on my work and not feel that Robin is lonely – there is a caveat – pick the friend wisely!


12 - do swops

Everyone has a nightmare covering holidays that span a quarter of the year, even those in regular work, so doing childcare swops helps everyone.  Admittedly you do end up with 7 kids on one day, but that gives you 6 days’ spare to get on with running your business!

13 - ask parents to help

For those of us with adoring grandparents you can also ask them to help out. I have friends whose parents take their children for whole weeks at a time!

15 - make use of holiday clubs

There are lots of holiday clubs out there, from sports, to drama and pony days. And don't forget you can it as an expense of your taxes!

16 – get your kids involved in your business

Like I did getting Robin to be creative director and photographer for the image that goes with this blog post!

17 - be present when you stop work & enjoy the break

When you’ve come to the end and you’re ready to shut your laptop and down tools, remember that you’ve stopped work.  I have absolutely no patience with Robin when I’m trying to be a great mum and ‘just’ answer that email, or send that tweet.  Be present, in the now, mindful and enjoy what you are doing.  They are only little for a small part of your life, don’t let it slip away.

18 – be kind to yourself, you are an amazing mummy

Goes without saying!

I help women in business get strategic with their time and marketing, so they can maximise their time on the things that count and bring in the customers.  Interested to find out how I can help you shake it up?

Do you have any additional hints or tips?  I’d love to hear them, you can contact me @debbiedooodah on Instagram & twitter or /debbiedooodah on Facebook.

Want to read my blog posts in my work smarter series, including 5 steps to stay sane when you're busy and 17 tools I use to keep my business running smoothly!