How many hats do you wear in a week? Not the cap or bobble kind, but the invisible ones that represent you stepping into a different role? Think about which ‘hat’ you’re wearing right now? Parent, founder, partner, friend, teacher, YOU… this list goes on and it can be hard to switch from one to the other – even more so right now when many of us have been walking the line between parent/teacher whilst home schooling!
And now the summer holidays are upon us, so we can hang up our ‘teacher’ hat (woohoo), but does that mean we’ll need to throw on our full time parent hat? What about all the others? It’s a constant juggle and the feeling of not being enough of one thing, or too much of another, is something I know all too well. One thing I have realised over the past 15 years of being a parent and a founder is that we all feel an immense need to ‘fill’ time, the current younger generation especially don’t know how to do nothing.
And it’s not that we’re a different person when we wear each of these hats, in-fact I strongly believe that one of the greatest benefits of building a business doing what you love is that you get to be you! But I do have to bring slightly different skills to the forefront to be the best version of me in each role, being adaptable to the needs of situations, whilst still remaining true to our self and our values.
So, here are a few things I’ll be practising over the summer ‘holidays’ and beyond…
- Planning in advance: I’m not going to sugar coat it. The next 6 weeks are going to be hard. We’re going to make some great memories but that doesn’t mean we won’t be overwhelmed with gratitude when the schools reopen. So, when we have a demanding period coming up it’s important to plan things in.
- Communicate with others: Said planning will help you identify if it’s going to get tricky, allowing you the foresight to set expectation with friends/ colleagues/ suppliers/ stockists. Being open and honest upfront can help you avoid so many awkward situations.
- Manage your energy: So often we talk about managing your time but don’t forget to manage your energy. This is especially important if you want to create more opportunities to do more than just one role. Think about what point in a day or week you might have more energy? Are you a morning bird or a night owl (perhaps you fall into the permanently exhausted pigeon camp!) and plan in your tasks and activities around the relevant spells of energy. For example if you’re a morning person then that could be the time to do some focussed work, freeing you up for a more fun afternoon with your family!
- Change your environment: The environment around you is like an anchor to all the skills and feelings you need to ace that role. Think about it, when you sit at your desk or get into your studio I bet you can feel your brain switch gears. And kids are the same too! They switch gears in a classroom environment (usually at least). Think about moving furniture around to change it up! Get the kids involved and reimagine the space that’s been their ‘home school’ for the past few months to help them transition.
- Try to wear one hat at a time: Disclaimer, this is HARD! Switch off work emails in the evening and at the weekend, turning off notifications to help your mind really settle into one mode.
- Remember to make time for you: I bet most of your ‘you’ hats are pushed into the back of your wardrobe, dusty and slightly neglected. And yet it’s the most important one. I will always, always remind you that you can’t pour from an empty cup – something I’ve had to remind myself this week! Make a list of the things that are really for YOU, and tell yourself you’ll do one (or two or even THREE) a day, to help keep your ‘you’ hat firmly in place. It can be anything from a morning walk with the dog and/or your favourite podcast to a box set binge in the bath!
Good luck all and especially to those who are about to have unoccupied small people in the vicinity!