So you want to work from home. But, how will you “balance it all” and still be highly productive as a work-from-home mom – juggling house responsibilities, watching the kiddos, and fulfilling your career goals? I receive this question on a daily basis from my business mentorship clients. Many of them are hoping to transition from a full-or part-time position outside of the home, to a work-from-home scenario in order to spend more time with their babies. I totally get it, and two years ago, I was there too. After 5 years in a phenomenal (and flexible) position as a web marketing specialist, I quit my full-time job to be 100% self-employed and work from home with the babies.
Now that I am self-employed, I have plenty of projects to keep me busy, but I’m also far more productive than when I was working full-time for a company due to some important systems and processes I’ve put into place. I feel a sense of balance that I was not able to attain previously. Here are a few of my tips and how to be highly productive as a work from home mom.
- Schedule a “power hour” to complete 3 to-do items you don’t want to do. My most productive time of day is early in the morning. I wake up at 6.15, hop in the shower, and start working a few minutes later. BEFORE I check my social media notifications or email, I write down three tasks I need to accomplish to reach my goals … usually items I simply don’t want to do (create a new training, finish a spreadsheet, finalize a workout plan, or any other administrative activity). I complete those items, and by 7 a.m., I’ve had a productive day.
- Set your phone on silent, “do not disturb,” or airplane mode. Phone notifications are incredibly distraction and can sabotage your productivity (text messages, social media notifications, miscellaneous phone calls). Turn off all social media and photo notifications during your work hours. I actually don’t have any social media notifications on my phone – period. This has been a great step in finding balance and staying highly productive.
- Stay hydrated and eat healthy foods during your working hours. Processed foods and carbs make us sleepy which kills productivity. I like to drink two cups of coffee in the morning during my power hour and water or tea for the rest of the day.
- Get rid of cable. Let’s face it — there’s nothing good on TV anyway, so why bother letting it suck precious time away from your work or family? We’ve actually never had cable, and I am so happy that TV shows don’t take time away from my productive hours. We have a few shows that we like to watch on Hulu or Netflix during a slow weekend, but I never ever have the TV on during the day — read books with your kids, do an at-home workout, and plan fun activities outside to energize you for the rest of the workday.
- Keep a to-do list, a tickler file, and a “someday maybe” file. I learned this process from David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” I try to keep my inbox fairly clear, and if an item requires more than two minutes of focused time, I add it to my to-do list. If it’s an item I need to address in a week’s time — I’ll move it to the tickler file. And a “someday maybe” folder is perfect for items that I would like to work on weeks or months from now. When I move emails into my to-do list, I am able to stay focused on my immediate task at hand and take other miscellaneous tasks out of my mental space. As moms, we’re tempted to thing about 5 things at all times — so a good process like this really helps!
- Use Google Apps. Oh my goodness — I would be completely lost without Google Apps. I block out almost every hour of my day on Google Calendar, send my clients appointment requests, schedule my workouts and “me-time,” and even keep track of my husband’s miscellaneous commitments so I am sure not to double book. I utilize Gmail and/or Google Drive documents and spreadsheets for all of my client communique and tracking.
- Check social media pages 2 times per day — max. This one is HUGE! I meet with mentorship clients all the time who aren’t sure why they can’t seem to be productive as a work from home mom, but yet I witness TONNSSSS of posts from them via social media each day. Hello — I’m a digital marketing specialist, but even I stay off of Facebook as much as possible. It’s a time sucker!
- It takes a village. Frankly, I’m not going to try to convince you that I can maintain “balance” without a LOT of help from others. I have two phenomenal girls to watch the kiddos which is an enormous help. I also have a cleaning service. Even a few hours of focused working hours in my at-home office is a significant way to boost my productivity and cut-back on hours spent working in the evening. AND … we can’t forget my wonderful hubs who is the main cook in addition to an amazing co-parent supporting my career aspirations and goals.
So, there you have it! Work from home, and enjoy the balance and wonderful scenario that I am privileged to experience every day. Feel free to email me or fill out the form below with questions about my business mentorship program if you are interested in starting your own business from home. My one-time consults are well worth the small fee, and the ladies who transition to my full mentorship program are excelling. It’s very exciting to see a fellow mom be able to quit her full-time job away from the home and work from home with her babies by her side.