So, you are a work from home mom? Or, perhaps you are thinking of becoming one? Congratulations on your path. It is a fun and exciting thing to do.
Working from home as a mom affords you all kinds of flexibility that can help you keep on track with your kids, your exercise routine and even your friendships. But, it can also become a time sucking, soul crushing experience if you are not careful.
So, here are 15 of my best time management tips to keep your from working from sun up to sun down without a break.
1. Pencil in time for you
This is the first on the list because it really is the most important. You will find that working from home affords you a more flexible schedule and a less stressful work day (hopefully). However, if you use up all of that flexibility and spare time on your kids and hubby then you will be utterly exhausted by the end of the day.
Take time for yourself every now and then. Enjoy the benefits of all of your hard work as a work at home mama.
2. Sleep when you can
If you have young kids, especially, sleep is vital. You may feel guilty for sleeping in the middle of the day when there is work to be done. But, if you can sneak in a 20 minute cat nap you are sure to feel 100 times better and more energized for the day ahead.
3. Ignore the house
The house will always be a daunting reminder of how much needs to be done. That’s just the nature of motherhood and there is nothing to be done about that. So, working in the home can be a real bummer when the laundry is piling up and the floor needs to be mopped. If you can afford it and it makes sense for your family – hire a housekeeper. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you necessarily have extra time for housework.
4. Call on a helper
There will be days when your kids will be with you. Hopefully, it will not be every day (we will talk more about that later) but it will be impossible to work from home without ever attempting to work with them in the same building.
Kids are needy, whiney and selfish… by nature. Working on just about anything is impossible with them around. If you are feeling overwhelmed, call your mom or a sitter. There is no shame in asking for help. You are juggling a lot of things.
5. Eat fast food sometimes
Unless you are a professional chef, working from home may not always afford you time to cook. Sure, it can be convenient to use the Crock Pot or throw something in a marinade while working from home, but often you will find that you just forget, or don’t feel like it. No child (or husband) has ever died from eating a burger and fries for dinner.
6. Make the kids play by themselves
If your kids are home and they are old enough to play alone, then set timers for you to work and demand that they play alone unless there is an emergency. It is important to learn independence and to entertain oneself. It is also vital if you need to get some work done.
7. Get your own workspace going
You need a desk, some space, and a few pens. Nothing fancy necessarily. But, trying to work from home with all of your things mixed up with your kids’ things on the kitchen table and on a shared laptop will drive you bonkers. You deserve your own space to get things done.
8. Find friends who also work from home
You should make some other work from home mom friends. Then, plan meet ups every once in a while to chat and hang out. You can also all work together at the same table. Even if you are working on different things, the sense of companionship is usually a nice thing.
9. Head out to the coffee shop every once in a while
If your friends can’t meet, but you are itching to get out, find a spot with free Wi-Fi and set yourself up at the local coffee joint for the day. People watching and chatting with others will keep you motivated and in good spirits. Working from home can be quite lonely if you are not careful.
10. Set specific work hours
Everybody had work hours. You should too. Try not to work too much outside of them. Having all of your work sitting right in front of you can cause you to feel tempted to dive in. But, you deserve to just be at home enjoying your life just like everyone else in.
11. Send your kids to school
If you are going to work, your kids need to be with a sitter, at school or attending daycare at least a couple of days per week. If not, you will be constantly overwhelmed and frazzled.
12. Cleaning schedule and system
Developing a cleaning schedule. The major chores should be done every day, the others are done on specifically designated days. This will give you a grip on the housework. Sweeping, dishes and straightening up might be daily. Laundry might only be two days per week. Perhaps you will choose to mop only once per week. The schedule is up to you but a system will help you a great deal.
13. Give the family chores
Your kids and hubby can and should chip in. You work too! Designate parts of that schedule that you made for each member of the family (over the age of 5).
14. Keep a journal
Working from home can be busy and hectic. You are working one minute and then out the door for carpool in just a moment later. Keeping a journal of ideas or thoughts, questions for clients or even just doodles can help you to unload your thoughts and slow your spinning mind… and you can write in it at your desk… or in the car… or just about anywhere.
15. Use a calendar or agenda if you are old fashioned.
Use a Google Calendar app if you are new school. If you don’t write it down, it will almost definitely slip your mind. You have a zillion things going on at once. You need that little help with reminders, goals and tasks written out in simple plain English that will keep you on track.
These 15 tips are things that you may have already considered. And, they may not all work for you and your family. But, within this list there has to be something new that you can try. So, try it today.
Don’t let yourself get burnt out when you can prevent that feeling with some simple interventions like taking time for yourself, creating your own place to work or simply telling the kids to go entertain themselves for a while.