A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work
It has been almost 3 years since I started learning how to work from home. During this time, I have learned one important factor that has made all the difference in how successful my time is. I have learned how to manage my time as a work at home mom.
Learning how to manage your time is an essential part of work, whether you work from an office or from home. You need to set some sort of schedule for what you need to get done and what deadline you will set for yourself.
Here are some of my tried and true tips for managing my time as a work at home mother while my kids are still at home.
Establish a Schedule
The number one thing I concentrate on is having a schedule. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it must set WHEN you will work, WHERE you will work, and WHAT you will work on. I have begun designating one day for one or two different tasks.
This allows me to focus on what needs done and I don’t have to sit and wonder at what I should start (which was my problem in the beginning)! There is SO much to work on in the beginning that it can be hard to figure out WHAT to do! I changed this by designating the certain work would be done on certain days.
Mondays/Wednesdays – new content
Tuesdays/Thursdays – Editing, networking
Friday/Saturday/Sunday –social media/easy tasks
These are generalized enough for me that I can work with what I feel needs worked on the most. While I like having a basic schedule, I do NOT like being restricted to the point of not being able to work on something because I have to stick to a schedule. (This is a HUGE reason that I decided that working at home would be best for me).
Morning time Schedule
I tend to work on my blog and my writing in the mornings. I am more productive in the morning and it is a lot easier to concentrate on my work after coffee and breakfast.
Evening time Schedule
I set my schedule so that house work and other items are done in the late afternoon and evening. By the afternoon, the kids are too excited and don’t want to be cooped up in the house anymore.
Eliminate Time Wasters
Another huge problem that comes up with working online is that we are one click away from fun and games. It is almost TOO easy to get distracted while working at home. There are a few main distractions that I wanted to address.
Using Social Media
I need to be on social media to promote and connect with others. There’s just no getting away from that. However, there are two different ways to approach this. Either I can get on my accounts fast, post and pin what I need to and get off. OR I can get on social media and become distracted by everything that seems interesting.
While I don’t have a magic tip that will help remove the distracting nature of social media, I can give the advice that has helped me. I will usually get on social media in the early morning while I am drinking coffee and eating. I get all of my messages and notifications checked and I will browse for a while before logging off. This means that when I need to login later to post or check on something, I have already satisfied my curiosity somewhat. It’s not foolproof, but it has given me the ability to be on social media and not be distracted by everything that I see.
I also check email regularly for work. While email is a useful tool, it can quickly become a distraction. I like the image of a clean inbox. I will usually check my email in the morning and evening so that nothing becomes too overwhelming or chaotic.
If I need to check email or send an email for work, I will quickly login and get my chore done FIRST. Afterwards, I will allow myself to check anything else that has come up since I checked it previously.
Using Social Media
As a work at home mom, I feel like the TV is a large distraction for me. I usually have some sort of show on for the kids to watch. It is too easy for me to begin watching what they are watching when I should be doing something else. I have found that the TV is a weak spot of mine. I like to sit on the couch, work, and watch TV at the same time.
I have ONE thing that works for this problem, and it is simply getting up and walking away. Our office is in the back of the apartment and I will go work back there if I feel like I am getting too distracted.
Use Planners and Printables
I love using organizers and planners for keeping track of my work and my information. They are a very convenient method of saving important reminders and notes.
Keep track of your information
While you are working from home, it can easily become a chaotic mess of random papers with notes that end up everywhere. I have solved this by using planners and printables to keep track of my information. Now I know that I only have to go to one or two locations for the notes that I need.
I have also found that using planners and printables keeps my work area very organized and clean. I have a hard time working and staying focused when I am surrounded by a mess. This solves that problem!
Know Your Family’s Strengths
Every family is unique. What works for one family might seem chaotic for another family.
What do you struggle with?
What are the problem areas that your family has trouble working with? For my family, we tend to have chaotic and messy evenings. I am also easily distracted by noise. This means that these are the issues that I have to work around when it comes to working from home.
What are your strengths?
As a family, we are at our best in the morning. Everyone is usually quiet and quite content to eat breakfast quietly. The kids also tend to sleep in which gives me extra morning time to work on other things.
While it might seem productive to work on multiple tasks at once, I have never found myself a good multitasker. I work better if I choose ONE task and focus on that.
Learn to Focus on One Task
My method for focusing is to pick which days of the week are for which tasks. This leaves me room to choose within that group, but I can’t veer off into something else until my main tasks are completed.
This schedule has allowed me to hone in on focusing on certain tasks and I have found that I get a LOT more done when I focus, rather than trying to work on 3 different things at once.
Don’t Chase Perfection
While social media has given us the highlight reel of people’s lives, I find that trying to achieve perfection has made me crash more than it has produced successful results.
I have begun working towards goals that I want for our family. I am less worried about whether we deviate from our schedule or how perfect the writing and editing has to be.
While I do strive for as best as possible in my work, I believe that perfection can really never be achieved. It is an endless chase that leads to nowhere. In this regard, as a work at home mother, just remember that some days you will have your quiet and productive morning and you will also wake up late and have to rush through your chores. And both of these are okay!
Avoid Trying to Change Your Natural Habits
Don’t try to change yourself. As stated before, remember that there are a lot of different ways to be successful and success can mean different things to different people. What works for me might not seem doable for you.
Work with your natural tendencies. Do you work better at night or in the morning? Do you like to batch your work together in a few hours or do you work best by completing small tasks over a larger period of time? Use these natural habits to your benefit and work with what you have!
Network with Others
Working online can be a lonely endeavor. It is healthy to create connections with others in your chosen field. I am a lot happier talking with my friends than if I were to cocoon in my house and not talk to others.
Talk to someone
Find friends that know what you are going through! Email others and connect with people on social media. It doesn’t have to feel like you are alone!
Take Time for Self-Care
My final tip is to take care of yourself! Don’t work yourself into the ground. Take a break. Spend time with your family. Get enough sleep. Make sure that you are eating healthy foods and drinking enough water. Remember to get up every once in a while and walk around. Take 30 minutes and work out.
What does my schedule look while working at home with four children?
Morning – Work
I have my morning coffee and breakfast. I spent the quiet time of the morning writing and spending time working on tasks that require a lot of thought and planning. I will spend at least 2 hours in the morning working on freelance work or my blog, and then spend the mid-morning running errands and taking care of the kids and husband.
By this time, everyone is getting restless, so after lunch we usually go outside and play or go for a walk. If everyone is behaving and playing nicely, I will work on my phone if I have a minute. I can usually manage to post on social media while I am around the kids since it doesn’t take much effort to re-pin or repost.
Since I prefer to work in the morning, I will spend the evening working on chores and household responsibilities. I like to spend the quiet hours of the evening helping get the kids ready for bed and taking care of the house. I use the quiet hours of the late evening to spend quality time with my husband.
While this isn’t set in stone, I do prefer to structure my days so that at least most of my time looks like this. I will mix and match depending on what the day holds (if we have a lot of out-of-the house errands or appointments) or whether there are a lot more chores than usual.
I hope this has helped you! When I first started working online (or trying to), it was so difficult to figure out what was important and what could wait. I was still in college working on my bachelor’s degree and I also had three older kids and a new baby at home. Life was chaotic, and I was so overwhelmed that I could barely function. Now that it has been almost 3 years since I began learning how to work from home, it is a lot less stressful and I know how important managing your time really is.
Comment below and let me know how you manage your time!