Many mom’s dream of working from home, as a blogger, freelancer or running their own business. They imagine the joys of making money for themselves, contributing to their family’s income and avoiding having to pay a fortune every month for childcare. They picture working in their pajamas while the kids happily play on their own and of having lots of free time to look after their house and spend time with those they love.
The reality of working from home as a mom is very different. Especially if you’ve started your own business. Mom’s that work from home spend their days trying to fit little bits of work into any quiet moment. They bribe their children to be quiet or to sit in front of a movie for 10 minutes so they can send an important email or make a call. They live in messy homes, feeling guilty for not giving their children, or their business enough attention. They never get a day off, and they never get to spend time with their friends or partners. It’s tough.
However, it doesn’t need to be that hard. Whether your business offers a service or product, there’s no reason why you can’t use working from home for yourself to have the best of both. It may just take a little careful organization and planning. Here are some great tips to help you to find the perfect balance.
Simplify You Systems
Look at your business. Think about the things that you do every day. Write a list. Then, think about ways that you can save time by simplifying them. Sign up for an electronic signature system so that you don’t have to sign every document or letter that you send out. Save everything to The Cloud so that you don’t need to print, and can access your files wherever you are. Start dictating emails and notes to your phone while you get ready in the morning or while you are driving the kids to school.
While these things may only save you a few minutes a time, it all adds up and can help reduce your stress levels as well as saving you time.
Schedule and Automate
Automation is a very clever and useful tool. If you are trying to grow your online presence, you can schedule tweets and Facebook posts so that you don’t have to be online all of the time. You can schedule blog posts and website updates, so they go ahead no matter what you are doing. And, you can plan your content better. If you are launching a specific product for an event, schedule promotion around it to make a huge impact. Without having to do much.
It’s ok to ask for help. Ask your partner to take the kids out for dinner one evening, or to do their baths and bedtime so that you can have an hour or two to get things done. You could even ask grandparents to take them for a few days a week or hire a childminder.
If possible arrange a regular childcare routine. Treat your business like a job. Do bits when you can, but commit to working set days each week, get help on these days and work as much as possible.
Running a business is always difficult, and there’s always so much to do and to think about. It can be overwhelming and easy to forget important details. Writing to-do lists for each day can be incredibly helpful. It can also be a fantastic way to boost your morale as you’ll get such satisfaction from ticking jobs off when they are complete.
It can be a good idea to include everything in your lists. Even small everyday things like making packed lunches or washing up. It can make it much easier to manage your time and schedule your day, and when your partner gets home and sees this giant list, they’ll take pity on you and cook dinner.
Start the Day Right
When you go out to work, you have an obvious start. A time you have to leave the house to commute to work, and a time you have to begin your working day. When you work from home, it can be hard getting into the right mindset. Especially if your kids are pre-school and you don’t need to leave the house for drop-offs.
If you find that you struggle to get started in the morning or that you procrastinate a lot first thing, it can be a good idea to stick to a morning routine. Get up at the same time, get breakfast and get everyone dressed. Aim to start work at the same time every day, even if all you’ve got to do is reply to a few emails.
Take Days Off
The very best way to be successful without losing your mind is remembering to give yourself time off. Have at least one day a week where you do nothing at all work related, and a proper vacation when you can.
Cut the Bits That You Hate
If there’s something that you find particularly stressful, or that you really hate doing don’t. Cleaning is a common one. If you find that you just don’t have the energy to clean up after work and looking after the kids, hire a cleaner. Even if it’s just for a few hours a month to do the big jobs, it can help. If you don’t enjoy the tech side of your website, hire a freelancer when you need help. There’s plenty of help out there if you need it.
Whatever happens, remember, you are working. Many work from home moms, especially those that work for themselves, think of themselves as a stay at home mom. In this mindset, they feel like they have to cook all or the meals and do all of the washing. They think they should give their kids all of their attention and be the perfect housewife. If you went out to work, you’d be ok letting things go. You’d expect your partner to help at home and you’d consider childcare or after-school clubs to help. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same.