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Being a work at home mom or a working mom, in general, can be challenging.
I have been working from home for the past six years’ full time and even though I have some systems in place to balance work and mom life, sometimes I still find myself feeling like I don’t have enough hours in the day. I know I’m not the only one. Therefore, today I am sharing with you a few of my best tips for managing being a work at home mom.
Set a Schedule
I am listing this tip first because it is very important. Even though you are working from home, you must have a schedule in place or you will feel like you are never getting done what you need to get done each day.
I have a set schedule for Monday – Friday since the kids are away learning for a few hours and then on the weekend we kind of just go with the flow, but there is a semi-schedule in place even then.
For example, my schedule starts off with me checking my mail and social media accounts in the mornings once back from the bus stop, then I proceed to do marketing for about an hour before settling in to do my actual writing work. Around lunch, I blog and promote some posts, give my virtual assistant some assignments to do, and now since I’m doing real estate classes I try to fit in 45 minutes of working on that before the kids get home.
Don’t Get Distracted While Working
When I became comfortable with working from home full time, it seemed like I was always getting distracted while working. Either I just wanted to “take a break” and end up watching too much television or I’ll make some lunch and end up wanting to “take a nap” afterward.
Don’t get me wrong, I was still meeting deadlines, but I was having to work later at night or get up earlier in the morning. We aren’t even going to take about how my first couple of years as a work at home mom I was working EVERY weekend.
This goes back to the schedule. When you have a schedule, you are less likely to get distracted. If others are home with you, make sure you let them know that you are working and you shouldn’t be disturbed unless someone is dying or bleeding (yes, this is directed at adults because even they can think something is an emergency when it isn’t lol).
If you’re getting distracted by things on the internet, install an app that will block you from certain sites during your work hours. Also, I would recommend Rescue Time, which is what I use, because it allows you to see how much time you are spending doing what each week. This helps me make sure I’m being as productive as I think I am each week.
Have a Dedicated Work Area
Have a dedicated place that you primarily work from. This could be anywhere in your home, just make sure that you keep it clean so you won’t get distracted and feel that strong urge to clean.
For me personally, I like to work in my kitchen or either in my bedroom. By making sure these two locations are always clean, it helps me fight the urge to want to go on a cleaning frenzy which adds to my workday productivity.
Once I move, I plan to have an office so I will be able to keep my work in a dedicated room so I don’t feel the urge to work when I should be focusing on family.
Organization is the key to being able to manage work life from mom life. You should keep personal and business finances separate so it’s easier when tax season comes along. Also, by being organized you will be able to start your work day sooner. You won’t have to spend that half of hour trying to figure out where you left off because everything will already be prepared from the end of your last work session.
Utilize to Do Lists
To do lists help you make sure you don’t miss deadlines at work and you don’t forget to turn in stuff at school for the kids. What I like to do is jot down things that I need to do on paper throughout the day and before I shut down for the night, I add time sensitive things to my Google Calendar and I upload other things that need to be done, along with things that I need to do daily already, into this cool app called Habitica. I highly recommend Habitica because since I have started using that app I have really been knocking my to-do list out of the park every day.
Seek Advice from Other Work at Home Moms
While you may not know any other work at home moms personally, there are tons of them floating around on the web. My favorite way to interact with other work at home moms is by going to their blogs, interacting on work at home forums, participating in relevant Facebook Groups, and most recently by checking out the resources available on Working Moms Mean Business brought to you by BBVA Compass.
What brought my attention to the Working Moms Mean Business resource was the free eBook on Mom Guilt. This ebook comes from a fellow work at home mom and is a great resource for me personally because even though I don’t work outside of the home I still feel “mom guilt”.
I’m not able to go to every school event and there are times when I miss out on doing something fun with the boys on weekends because I have to work to make sure the money keeps rolling in.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
This one goes for your work life and your mom life. If a client is making unreasonable demands or wants a ton of work for little pay – say no. If the school wants you to volunteer and you have deadlines to meet – say no. If your kids want to go out to dinner and you prefer to stay in and just cook at home after a long day of work – say no.
You may want to put on an act like you’re super mom and can be the “Yes Mom”, but at the end of the day you’re going to be burnt out and an unhappy mom isn’t good for anyone.
See Also: The Downsides of Working From Home
Make Sure You Are Passionate About Your Work
While obviously, we are all working because we have bills to pay and other financial obligations, at the end of the day, if you’re doing something that you aren’t passionate about its going to show in the quality of your work.
Over the years, I have had to make changes to my business plan to put more of my passion into it which made it much easier to work long hours and stay disciplined to work from home day in and day out.
You must be passionate about what it is you are doing. Even if now you must do something you don’t enjoy, I encourage you to work on something that you really want to do.
Also, as a working mom, if you need inspiration, make sure you listen to some of the podcasts from the Working Moms Mean Business series that features Emma Johnson. The one that struck home to me the most was Mompreneurs. This is because even though starting a business isn’t for the faint at heart moms are great at running them.
Don’t be Afraid to Outsource
As your business grows, dedicate some of your profits to hiring out help. About 1 ½ years in I started outsourcing some of the mindless tasks required to run a business so I could free up more of my time for some of the more complex things. Currently, one of the things that I would say invest in as soon as you can is a virtual assistant. You will be amazed at how much of your time can be freed up.
Let Your Kids Help
As moms, one of the reasons why we have mom guilt is because we feel as though we aren’t spending enough time with our kids. However, the good news is, there are some things that even young kids can help you with in your business so you get the chance to spend time together.
For example, my boys can help me with taking photos for blog posts and even organizing certain things AND they are all 7 and under. As the kids get older, they may even start to work with you in your business and it can be turned into a family business – you never know.
Closing Thoughts on Managing Being a Work at Home Mom
Being a work at home mom and working mom, in general, is a balancing act. You must balance multiple roles while working and still find time to spend a good amount of time with your kids. I hope that these tips today have provided you with some useful information.
What is your #1 tip for managing being a work at home mom?