Vacuum the carpet. Clean the bathroom. Throw out the trash. Brew tea. Check Facebook.
These are just some of the things that run through my mind when I sit down at my desk to start my work.
If I were to give in to each and every whim I thought of, I’d never get any work done!
Being a work-from-home mom is no joke, and if you’re not disciplined, you’ll find yourself constantly overwhelmed and behind on everything.
Here are some tips I’ve developed to help me stay focused and on track.
1. Get Help If You Can Afford It
This almost goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning.
Paid help is definitely the easiest way to work from home as a mom because you eliminate delays to your work for the whole day.
For at least a few hours, you can pay someone to help you feed, change, and entertain your kids while you hammer away at work.
Whether it’s hiring a nanny, enrolling in daycare, or enlisting the help of loving and able relatives, this is the most effective way to work from home seamlessly and with the least stress.
It’s also an added expense, so think carefully about what’s feasible for your family and go from there.
2. Follow a Strict Routine
Regardless of whether or not you’re able to get outside help, a routine is still necessary. Just like children crave routine, adults do too.
Establish a routine for both you and your kids – wake up and have breakfast; get ready for school or playgroup; take naps; have lunch; etc. Whatever the activity, make sure it is consistent and occurs at roughly the same time.
This will help your workflow and subconsciously keep you alert when you need to be on “high” and “low” alert for your kids; e.g., high alert when they’ll need your full attention, such as during meal or nap times, and low alert when they play on their own or are sleeping.
Ideally, you’ll want to get more work done during the low alert periods and plan accordingly.
3. Take a Shower In the Morning
Even if you don’t need to be in an office by 9 AM, you still need to get ready for the day! Taking a shower will set your daily routine into motion.
Go one step further and actually make an effort with your appearance, too.
Wear clothes you’d wear to the office to really get into work-ready mode… and for those last-minute Skype video conferencing calls. 😉
4. Set Up a Workstation
Just like they tell you not to study on your bed because your brain associates it with sleep, don’t sit cross-legged on your sofa hunched over your laptop for several hours a day!
It’s terrible for your posture and blood flow, not to mention your overall health.
Create a designated workstation in your home that is clean and conducive to working. It’ll help you get work done faster and eliminate distractions.
5. Change Your Location if You Need to
Alternately, if working at home is not your forte, utilize your mobility and freedom to work anywhere!
Obviously, someone would need to watch your kids for this to work, but even doing this once a week is pretty effective.
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Changing up your locations breaks up the monotony and can speed up getting your work done because your brain won’t be triggered by the same environmental stimuli that otherwise hold you up from being productive, like the TV, low lighting, or, oh yeah, your kids screaming and crying. 🙂