Working from home presents many unique challenges, as I’m sure you know. I have been a work at home mom for many years, in various capacities. I have this blog, I coach other women on how to start their own businesses from home, and I also help other moms who want to switch to a more natural lifestyle. I thought I’d share some of the habits and routines I’ve found to be helpful for anyone who currently works from home or is considering it in the future. If you work out of the home, I am sure you will still find many of these useful for you. Keep in mind, I work from home with eight children and we homeschool. So, productivity and time management are a must in my household!
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A BUSINESS YOU CAN WORK FROM HOME, WITH YOUR LITTLES?
I work in 15 minute increments each day and teach the ladies who work with me how to do the same. You should never be a slave to your business…our primary job is to raise our little ones right, nurture our marriages and tend to our home. It IS possible to work at home in a productive way so you can do all these things well.
I would be happy to help you!
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PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FOR WORK AT HOME MOMS:
1. PREPARE FOR YOUR DAY IN THE MORNING
Creating a daily routine helps both you and your family develop a sense of structure. In our home, we all have a morning, afternoon, and evening routine. I do my best to get dressed everyday and fix my hair and makeup. Nothing fancy, but just enough so I am not embarrassed if I have to answer the door. Your routine may look very different from mine, but set a routine that you will follow every day. Wake up at the same time, go through the same motions and prepare well. Here’s a free routine chart printable for your kids.
2. SET ASIDE TIME FOR HOUSEKEEPING AND CHORES
In that same manner, make sure you have your housecleaning and chores set in your daily schedule. I know how easy it is to get distracted as a mom and forget that I put laundry in the wash. I also know that there are many times I lack energy and I just don’t want to. But, if I have a chore routine in place already, it is easier for me to just get it done. I feel better when certain chores are complete and my house runs more efficiently. Believe it or not, my children are calmer when they have certain things in order too. If you need a starting point, here is my simple Daily and Weekly Housekeeping Routine. I also have some free housecleaning printables you can grab to get yourself organized.
3. EMBRACE THE POWER OF PLANNING
When juggling multiple responsibilities, planning becomes your superhero. Start each day with a to-do list, prioritizing tasks based on urgency and importance. Utilize digital tools like Google Calendar or task management apps to keep track of deadlines and appointments. By planning ahead, you’ll gain better control over your time and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
4. DISCONNECT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
We’ve all been there. Instagram can be a huge time sucker for the best of us. Those phone notifications can be a huge distraction. Imagine if we all tracked the amount of time we spent aimlessly scrolling on social media! I turned off almost all of my notifications on my phone and it has done wonders for my productivity. I now have a set time when I check my emails and a set time when I check into Facebook. I also take one screen free day each week…and my business has survived!
5. HAVE A DEDICATED WORK SPACE
This can be difficult. I am not telling you that you need a separate room to work, but you do need a space that is dedicated for work. If this is a chair in the corner of your living room, just make it your own. It will make a world of difference, I promise. Make it clean and tidy and decorate it so it makes you happy. I do not recommend working in your bed…that space should make you feel relaxed and working in your bed does the opposite.
6. KEEP ESSENTIALS CLOSE BY
You know what you need when you are working. I always keep a notebook, my planner, and pens near me. When something comes to mind, I write it down. Then I can go back to it later when I have the time. I also always have my water next to me – remember, we are taking care of ourselves! You may have a few other things that you know you use on a constant basis, so keep those handy.
7. POUR INTO YOUR CHILDREN FIRST
If you have children, you know how it goes. As soon as you say you are working, they need everything under the sun. This used to bother me, until I changed things up a bit. I now give my kids, especially the younger ones, some me time before I have any work time (this doesn’t include the time I am working before they get up for the day, obviously). The entire point of me working from home is so I am home with my children throughout the day. They are my first priority and they need to know it. I fill my cup, then I fill theirs, and then I am free to work.
8. UTILIZE NAPTIME
If you have young children who take naps or engage in quiet playtime, seize these moments to tackle your most demanding work tasks. These intervals may be relatively short, but you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when fully focused during these precious periods. Wake up one hour earlier, use an hour during naptime and then take another hour after your children are in bed. I can get more done during an interrupted 15 minutes than I can in 2 hours with my children.
9. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
This should go without saying, but I am telling you anyway. YOU MATTER. You can not pour from an empty cup. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, eat your veggies and get a decent night’s sleep. When you lack water, your body and mind are sluggish. When you fuel your body with proper nutrition, it can function the way it was designed. Sleep is important so you can retain information and work at peak performance. I feel my absolute best when I’m following a Keto diet, and that may be something you want to look into.
10. LISTEN TO MUSIC
This may or may not work for you. I find I can concentrate easier when I listen to background music. I have tried listening to audiobooks or podcasts while I’m working, but that is next to impossible. I have a few playlists on YouTube and Pandora that I know I can just play and I’m good to go. It depends on your taste and what kind of music you prefer, but pick some songs and make a playlist that keeps you going and help you focus.
11. SET BOUNDRIES
This is important for anyone who works at home, but especially as a parent. As I said before, it is important to make your children a priority and spend time with them. However, I also think it is important that your children know when it is your time to work. My children learn valuable lessons when they see me working at home. Set a precedent that your scheduled work time is only for working. Whether it’s letting your kids know that you are unavailable to play during that time, or letting friends and family know you won’t answer the phone during that time, it will really help to set boundaries between your personal and work life.
12. SCHEDULE AHEAD OF TIME
If you use social media for your business (as I am sure you do) then make sure you schedule as much as you can ahead of time. There are many free tools out there that you can fill up ahead of time. If you are a blogger, have plenty of draft posts that you can edit as needed and schedule to publish when you want. I try to schedule for a week at a time and then am able to post randomly when inspiration strikes. I have an entire Instagram account dedicated to helping you plan your life well, using an actual planner.
This can be hard for those of us that are Type A personalities. It can be hard for any of us! But if you find you are lacking in an area, it may be time to get some help. Are there tasks you can hire out? Can you get some guest posts on your website to free up some of your time? If there someone close to you that could come over and help with the kids for a few hours a week? Could you hire a housekeeper a couple times a month? It is likely worth the time it takes to find someone trustworthy and competent to do those small tasks that aren’t a good use of your time. You know where those areas are.
You want to work from home for the freedom and flexibility, right? Don’t let it consume your life and do the opposite. Take breaks when you need to and put your work away when it’s time. Do not compromise sleep for work and make sure your family remains your number one priority, after God. Remember, not every day will go according to plan. Unexpected situations will arise, and that’s okay. Embrace flexibility and forgive yourself for not always being perfect. Be kind to yourself and learn from challenging days to improve your time management approach.
15. MAKE STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS
As work at home moms we are pressed for time. We don’t have a million hours to work on tedious projects or to scour the internet for days trying to figure out how to fix the latest problems in our biz. I’m about as thrifty as they come, but I finally had to break down and switch from only free tools to a few paid ones. As soon as I did my business started to take off. You can see all the resources and tools I recommend for bloggers here. Another tool I use is Trello…and if you haven’t heard of it…you are welcome! Trello has revolutionized how I live and work. Sounds dramatic, but check it out for yourself! I use Trello to organize almost every aspect of my life!