Being a work at home mom is hard. Really, being a mom in general is hard, but working at home has it’s own unique set of challenges. In fact, most of the benefits to being a work at home mom are actually the biggest challenges. You get to stay home with your kids! But that means your kids have access to you when you’re trying to meet a deadline. You can take breaks whenever you want! But that means your “breaks” can be entirely too long because you get distracted by the laundry. You can work in your jammies! But it’s really hard to stay motivated to get anything done in bed in our jammies. You don’t need a schedule! But not having a routine means that you go through phases of working all the time and doing nothing else, or doing everything else and forgetting about work.
So how do we stay productive as a work at home mom?
Make a Routine
I know, I know, we work at home for the flexibility, but hear me out. You don’t need to schedule out every moment, but you do need some sort of routine around work. If you work outside the home, you probably got dressed for work and drove there. That told your mind that you were in work mode and needed to focus. I know of one freelancer who leaves her house and walks around the block for starting work to trick herself. I’m not saying you need to do that, but maybe it means that before you sit down to work you get dressed, organize your desk area, and get a drink or snack ready. Whatever it is, just make sure you do something to put you in work mode. I am a big coffee drinker, and before I start work in the mornings I have Chris make me a mocha and I check my emails. That’s what works for me, so find what works for you!
Have a Work Space
I am not saying that you need to take over your play room and make it an office. Trust me, if you work from home your playroom is invaluable. You do, however, need somewhere that tells you it’s work time. Working from bed can be tempting, [I mean, the covers are sooo comfy!] but you will be way less productive when you’re tempted to shut down the laptop and take a nap! I used to work on my couch because that’s where I normally have my computer, but it was right in front of the tv just begging me to turn on Netflix.. Now, I still work on my couch a lot, but I switched to the couch that doesn’t face the tv so I’m less tempted. I also work at my dining table and I have a little mini “office” area in my living room. For an added bonus, make your work space special! Hang up some motivational quotes and artwork, create and display a vision board, do something to make you enjoy sitting in your special work place.
Spend Time Intentionally Not Working
This goes along with making a routine, but it’s important enough to get its own category. When we work from home it can feel like we need to always be working just because we can always be working. We think every time that we check Facebook or watch a TV show we’re somehow cheating out on work time. That’s gotta stop. We need to be realistic. When you worked a 9-5 you got a lunch break and coffee breaks and water cooler breaks. Plus you went home at the end of the night and stopped working. We need to give ourselves grace and not think that every time we’re playing with our kids we’re “missing” work time. When you intentionally schedule time for yourself and your family, it also makes you feel less guilty about scheduling time to be focused on work. It’s all about balance. Spend some time completely disconnected. Don’t even check your cell phone! Stay 100% focused on your family for an entire hour and see what a difference it makes in your productivity!
Respect Your Work Time
Just like you need to intentionally spend time away from work, while you’re working it deserves your 100% attention. Don’t try to throw a load of laundry into the wash, don’t try to do some dishes “really quick”, and definitely don’t hop on Pinterest in the middle of your work time to “browse”. When you sit down to get work done, write out a list of exactly what you plan to accomplish and get it done! Set a timer, race against the clock, bribe yourself with chocolate if you have to, just get your work done. Similarly, make sure that other people respect your work time. When you work at home, people have a tendency to believe that you sit at home and watch netflix all day in your jammies. You’ll be pounded with requests to babysit someone’s kids, bake 300 cookies for a bake sale, or chaperone every field trip known to man. Respect your work time enough to say no when you need to!
Staying productive as a work at home mom isn’t easy, but with a few simple steps you can do it! Follow these tips and your productivity will go through the roof. What are your best productivity tips for working at home?
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