This morning as I was lying in bed, awakening from a sort of late night and waiting for my hubby to come home from his last night of midnights (he’s a meteorologist for the National Weather Center and has rotating shifts) I was thinking about how blessed I am to be working from home and how it’s changed my life.
1. I set my own schedule.
2. Flexibility to run my kids around when needed or just go to a doctor’s appointment without checking with someone first.
3. I set my earning potential. I can work as much as I want to make as much as I want.
4. I can take breaks whenever I need or want.
5. I make the coffee the way I like.
6. I can stop and browse the internet when I want.
7. I get to talk to all my friends on Twitter!
8. I can do laundry AND work at the same time!
9. I can take the day off if I need to.
10. I get to work in my jammies!!!
11. I can work as much or as little as I want.
12. I get to spend more time with my family.
13. I save money by not driving to work every day.
14. I save money by not eating out as much.
15. I can talk to my daughter on the phone as long as I want.
16. I can keep up with our family budget better.
17. I can Christmas shop online, in between article writing.
18. I get to decide what goes on my website or doesn’t.
19. I get to use my creative side more.
20. I love seeing other people truly appreciate my work.
21. I get to learn from others at my own pace.
22. I am making so many new friends, with similar interests online.
23. I get to choose where I do my work (have laptop, will travel)
24. I’m around for my kids and hubby when they need me.
25. I don’t have to grocery shop during the 5:00 rush hour.
26. I do much more shopping online, therefore saving money and supporting other WAHMs!
27. I get to sit in my family room and smell the Christmas tree while I work.
28. The dog isn’t left at home, all alone.
29. I can sleep in with my hubby when he’s on evenings or midnights.
30. I can stay up as late as I want!
31. Dinners are usually better planned now that I’m a work at home mom.
32. I don’t have to pack a lunch!
33. I set my own goals and determine how I’m going to meet them.
34. I can still make money while not physically working by using affiliate programs.
35. I choose who I want to work with and/or for.
36. I can babysit my grandsons during the day if needed.
37. I have more time to keep my house clean. (Shhh don’t tell anyone!)
38. I can do more things for the youth ministry my hubby and I are leaders for.
39. I LOVE what I do, all of it! There’s nothing I don’t like about working from home!
If you are considering becoming a work-at-home mom, these are the pros! The only con I can think of is it usually takes some time and effort to build up a successful work at home business. I am still building mine, but I know if I keep putting in the effort and time, working from home will be a dream come true for me.
As a work-at-home mom, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of things I need to do. Mornings are spent rushing to get the older two kids out the door to school. Once they’re on the bus, I’m feel ready to conquer the world and get to work. Then the baby’s raging cries bring me crashing back to reality.
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? How can we, as work-at-home moms, be productive when the needs of our children must come first? I’ve revised my daily routine several times since beginning my freelance career. I don’t have it completely down yet, but I’ll share what I’ve learned as well as advice from some of my work-at-home friends.
- Keep a daily notebook. Develop a notebook system that works for you to record your daily to-do list along with reminder notes and organization tools like grocery lists and appointment reminders.
- Use an electronic management program. Some people prefer to do everything online. There are lots of great management tools to help you keep things organized. I use Gmail because its label system is easier for me to organize than traditional folders. I also like 30 Boxes as my calendar.
- Multitask. I have a friend whose favorite time to brainstorm is when her kids are bathing. I think that’s brilliant. I take a book or notebook with me when I wait for the kids to get off the bus.
- Utilize your best time of day. Most of us are either a morning person or a night owl; use your best time of day to your advantage. I’m kind of an odd ball, in that I do better in the afternoon. When my husband gets home from work at around 2:00, I get busy until it’s time to go pick up the kids.
- Start early. No matter what your best time of day is, get started on tasks immediately. Then reward yourself by taking some time to check your email or catch up with your favorite social network.
- Divide and conquer. Trying to do everything at once makes me feel scattered, so I allocate each day to a different task. For example, I use Monday to do research and brainstorm topic ideas, and Wednesday is usually query day when I pitch my ideas to publications.
- Minimize distractions. It is so tempting to watch just one TV show or do one load of laundry. Avoid that time trap by setting yourself a timer or resolving to stick to a set schedule.
- Take a break. Though you don’t want to get sucked into time traps, it is important to recharge your body. Each day I sit down to lunch with my infant son. We enjoy the uninterrupted bonding time while refueling our bodies. Then I’m ready to get back to work.
- Delegate household tasks. Enlist family members to help with the chores and determine when they will be done. Maybe you could work as a family to clean on weekends or tidy up a bit each night after dinner.
- Make family agreements. Your family must be involved in order to make work-at-home work well. I’ve challenged my husband to do his job while caring for children and cleaning the house. No traditional employer would expect so much, so why hold yourself to such unreasonable demands?
- Reassess. This is something I’ve had to do, and it can be tough. Have you over-committed? Consider whether one or two of your daily to-do’s can be dropped. This will free up your time to tackle what’s really important to you and your business.
- Dress the part. Don’t work in your pj’s and bunny slippers. Nothing kills my productivity more quickly than foregoing my shower and trying to get right to work. When I look like a professional, I feel more professional.
These are a few examples to get you started. Consider your personality and your family’s routine when developing your own schedule. And remember that you may have to try several variations before finding a routine that works for you, so don’t give up!
Being a work-at-home professional isn’t as laid back as some would think. It can be incredibly stressful to balance caring for the kids and the house while on the clock, trying to earn a living. Do you find yourself trying to get work done, but feeling guilty for not spending time with the kids? Or are you constantly thinking about work when you’re with the family? Here are some sure-fire tips to stop the stress before it starts.
- Stretch your muscles. You don’t have to do a killer abs routine or run ten miles each morning, but engaging in some form of physical activity is a great way to start the day. Consider yoga or pilates, which are known to be good for body and soul.
- Avoid marathon work sessions. Sitting at the computer for hours at a time will only lead to frazzled nerves and tense muscles. Set a timer or work on one task at a time. Then take a short break, away from the computer.
- Drink a cup of tea. A nice, warm cup of tea always relaxes me and puts me in a better frame of mind when I’m feeling tense. A flavored or herbal tea can be a great indulgence. Or substitute your beverage of choice for tea.
- Call a friend. Sometimes we just need to vent. If stress is keeping you from being productive, why not pick up the phone or instant message a pal to let off some steam? Keep it short, then get back to work.
- Play! – If you’ve got kids at home, it’s no secret that they need your attention. So give it to them. I feel so much better after a tickle fest with my baby boy. I can head back to my project when he naps.
- Write it down. Write down a realistic schedule for your week. Account for regular events like naptime or bus pick up. Then schedule work time in between. Of course, we need to be flexible, but having a map certainly helps when trying to reach your destination!
- Shut the door. This is one I’ve recently had to implement at my house. Telling the children to “pretend” my office door was closed didn’t work. I’ve been far more productive since actually shutting it. My kids are old enough to watch television unsupervised and can be trusted to play with the baby for a bit. Use your judgment.
- Ask for help. Communicate your needs to your family and friends. I’m constantly telling my family, “Mommy’s only one person.” Asking older kids to help out teaches responsibility, and explaining how you feel to your significant other will help to avoid spats.
- Leave work at work. Realize that, because you are only one person, you can only do so much. When you’re spending time with your kids, try not to worry about work. My biggest weakness used to be running into my office to check my email “real quick”. I’ve been much happier since breaking that habit.
- Get your beauty sleep. It can be tempting to stay up until all hours of the night to get some uninterrupted work time. But this can be a bad idea. Being exhausted from a long day can cause you to make careless errors, leading to disappointed clients and even more stress. Plus, it’s been medically proven that lack of sleep is damaging to your health.
- Hire help. If you’ve got it in your budget, it may be well worth the money to hire a part-time baby sitter or enlist the help of a cleaning service. Check your finances, taking into consideration the money you might make if you had more time.
Give these tips a try to see what works for you. You’ll probably even come up with some great ideas of your own in the process. Changing habits takes practice, but saving your sanity is well worth the effort.