I’ve wanted to share this post for a LONG time. I think I was putting it off because it’s such a big topic with so much nuance.

But here I am…finally getting it done!

Ok, so first thing’s first.

What do I mean by primary parent? In my personal experience, the primary parent is the one who takes on the majority of the parenting load – drop offs, pickups, appointments, activities, school events, meal prep/cooking, laundry, etc. For example, because of the nature of our individual work, if one of my kids has to stay home because they’re sick, I’m the one moving things around to accommodate that.

And this is an important point…this in no way means Vishnu is slacking or putting things on me. Our situation is truly this way because of his career and the lack of flexibility. I will say, however, for being in medicine, he does have a tiny bit of flexibility because he has an understanding team and leader. For example, I’m appreciative he was able to flex a little when everyone was sick a couple of weeks ago. So there is that!

Next, what do I mean by solopreneur? A solopreneuer is someone who leads and manages a business without a partner and/or team.

Because of my role as primary parent, I prefer Awarify to be me and only me, but it is lonely sometimes.

Bringing together both of these roles is hard because of the mix of opposite priorities and having to set things down on a whim sometimes. I imagine it’ll get a bit easier in some ways as the kids get older, but right now, it’s definitely a hard blend to create some days.

And while the above is true, it’s also a beautiful thing to be there for your kids and grow something yourself on your own timeline. It’s also awesome to have flexibility and not have to worry about a boss or team that doesn’t understand. I do feel guilty when I have to cancel calls with my coachees, but I know and trust that they understand my predicament!

I mentioned this earlier, but a big part of my day involves laundry and cooking. Our family of four produces so much laundry, and we eat at least three meals a day. So some of my time is allocated for that kind of stuff. I try my best to fit it into the crevices of my day, but that isn’t always possible given what I have on my plate.

Ok, so enough of the background story. Let’s get into some ideas for how I manage being a primary parent and the solopreneur behind Awarify Coaching!

[In no particular orders…]

  • Plan your day and your week ahead of time. I take about 20 minutes every Sunday evening after the kids are in bed to plan out Monday and the week ahead. I write down all of my calls, tasks, notes, meals, etc. on a daily planning sheet. If things change, that’s ok. At least I have an understanding of what’s to come and what I want to get done. This one thing relieves me of unnecessary overwhelm.
  • Create a list of business priorities that will move the needle for YOU. In the crazy world we live in today, it feels like we have to be doing all the things, we have to be active on all the social media platforms, etc. Know what the big things are for your business and prioritize those.
  • Block out time when you can for deep work. Between home stuff, kid stuff, and business stuff, your day will get away from you if you let it. The best way I’ve found to overcome this is to block out time in my calendar to work on chunks of bigger projects. This also applies to all the house stuff you want to get done. Set aside time in your day to do this and then forget about it until then.
  • Reduce distractions (re: your phone, social media, etc.). When I need to focus or when I’m on a call, I put my phone in a drawer and set it to gray scale. I’m not perfect at this yet but am working on it!
  • Work on the big things first. It’s so tempting to get all of the easier/simpler things done first. But honestly, this gives me false confidence. Small things can be important, but set aside time to do those later in your day or have a loose ends afternoon once a week where you complete all of your smaller tasks. Always try and work on the harder things first (re: work on the project, write the newsletter/blog post, create the templates, etc.). This will lead to a feeling of accomplishment and greater levels of confidence.
  • Know what’s a glass ball and what’s a plastic ball. Some things you can drop and they’ll be ok, while others won’t. My glass balls are my family and the time I set aside for myself (although sometimes this ends up being plastic!). Plastic balls are everything else. Know what’s what and act accordingly.
  • Check your email twice a day. I have yet to conquer this one. It makes sense from a productivity perspective though. Check your email once after you’ve worked on your big thing and then a few hours later, leaving yourself enough time to respond to anything urgent.
  • Set your phone to ‘work’ mode when working. This is a game changer because everything is muted during this time ensuring you aren’t getting messages and phone calls during work hours. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you’re done working!
  • Use the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes of focused work, 5 minute break, rinse and repeat). This works wonders for my productivity, and it gets me up and moving throughout the day as well.

I could talk about this topic for days, but I’ll leave it here for now. If you’re the primary parent and a solopreneur, kudos to you! If you’re the primary parent and a XYZ, kudos to you! If you’re a parent who’s decided to pause professional pursuits at this time, kudos to you!

It’s all hard but amazing!

By Parita

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