Case study: 'You have to work hard, but be strict with your time'

FIONA Pratt, a mother of four young children who runs two cupcake shops, says she manages to achieve a largely successful work-life balance by using her time creatively.

Mrs Pratt, 41, who runs Bibi's Bakery in Hanover Street, Edinburgh and has another shop in St Andrews, said: "I come from a family which has always been self-employed. I accept that you have to work hard. But you have to be very strict with your time.

"I get up at 6am for a run and the dog goes with me. If you want to keep fit you have to find time for it.

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"Going for a run also gives me a time of peace to think about the family and business.

"I rarely watch telly and I'm more likely to do a bit of work in the evening when the children are in bed.

"I'm rubbish at texting so I'm more likely to pick up the phone and speak to someone.

"But when I think about it I probably don't see my friends as much as I used to.

"I work three days a week with my mum helping me one day and a woman helping me for the other two. That allows me three days to really focus.

"I have great staff who work for me and I give them lots of responsibility. But they know I'm always on the end of the phone if they need me."

Mrs Pratt, from Elie, in Fife, said she had made a major lifestyle change after spending three years commuting from Fife to her sales team leader job in Edinburgh.

"The commuting was dead time and a hassle. It made me think that if I wanted to do something I couldn't do it working for someone else."

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Mrs Pratt - mother of Digby, eight, Poppy, six, Christabelle, four, and Indigo, two - said it was after running four gift shops, including a caf, that she realised she wanted to concentrate on baking, which she enjoyed most.

"I find it a lot easier working for myself. In a company things are much more restrictive but me being self-employed means that my work-life balance has more upsides than downsides.

"All in all I'm pretty happy with how things are."

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