Have you ever wanted to work from home but felt like you just wouldn't get things done? Working from home as a mom can be a really daunting task. It's very hard to be productive if you're constantly answering the calls of the little ones, who need you almost all the time. After all, just when you get in the zone and really start churning, that tiny voice or the loud bellow will tell you that someone needs to go to the bathroom or something has either spilled or broken.
The Voice of Experience
I've been working from home for the past 6 years, pretty much since I became a mom. I work as a designer for a luxury bedding and linens company called Lullaby Bedding for their baby and kids line, have a WordPress website business where I design websites for small businesses and mompreneurs, sell faith-inspired greeting cards and blog right here. Below, I'm going to share with you my strategies for getting things done, meeting deadlines and not losing my mind.
Strategy #1: Have a dedicated workspace
This is by far the most important thing that you need to do if you want to be productive while working from home. Even if its a corner in your bedroom, an unused closet or a nook in your basement, it is absolutely essential to have a dedicated workspace that is not shared with others. Your workspace needs to be a spot where you can keep your work organized, your deadline in front of you and not somewhere that requires set up and take down.
For the longest time, I used to use a corner in our guestroom as my office except, every time we had guests, I'd have to clean up the corner, put away my papers and other stuff and it really impacted my productivity. Your space doesn't have to be big- it just needs to be dedicated to your work and visually attractive so you're inclined to spend time there.
Strategy #2: Routines are your holy grail
The other thing that is SO essential to be successful when working from home as a mom is to have really strict routines. In order to be professional, on time for meetings and meet deadlines, I need to know what times I'm available without distractions and what chunks of times are available where I can get stuff done. If I don't' want to work till 2-3 AM every night, I need to be able to find pockets in my day where I can be productive.
My kids have a STRICT bedtime schedule. Unless there is something really big happening, the baby will nap at 12:30 till 2:30 and they're both in bed by 7-7:30. During the weekdays, everything is done according to our schedule- when we eat, what we eat (more on that later), what time we do activities, what days the errands and groceries are done, etc etc etc. This allows me to stay on the ball, get things done and still be present for my kids and family, and give them the time they need.
Strategy #3: Meal planning & the Instant Pot
If you consider your average week as a mom, a big chunk of that time is spent in the kitchen; prepping, cooking, serving and cleaning up after meals and snacks. Having a solid meal plan for the week, food prep on Sunday nights and using the Instant Pot can really help cut down on that time you're spending in the kitchen and turn it into time that you're spending getting some work done.
I've had the Instant Pot DUO60 for about 3 years now, well before it became the next big thing, and it has literally revolutionized my life. It's not that the food in it is instantaneous but because I am able to set our meals to cook and go do other things like clean the kitchen or spend time with the kids instead of babysitting the pot. Not only that, it's great for bulk meals or helping make really quick sides while your main meal is being cooked in the oven.
Strategy #4: Use the Cloud to be more Productive
I LOVE that if I'm saving my work on the cloud, whether it through Google, or iCloud or whatever service you prefer, I am able to access it from different devices. This really helps because I use different devices on a regular basis and it's so convenient to upload a photo on my phone and find it on my laptop or work a file on my desktop and be able to access it on my iPad. All this really streamlines your efficiency and makes you more productive.
Strategy #5: Avoid burnout
Just because you're working from home, doesn't mean you're not working. As a mom and an entrepreneur or employee of a company, you're actually doing multiple jobs. Make sure that you are taking time to unplug and just rest and relax. If you don't do that, you will end up burning out, hating the world and just quitting. When you feel tired, take a break- don't quit. Make sure that you're giving yourself time away from work and don't let work take over your life. This will impact your marriage, your kids and your sense of wellbeing.
Bonus Strategy: Outsource the Chores
This obviously won't apply to everyone but if you are able to generate enough income from your business, considering hiring a cleaning service or a laundry service to reduce your workload and give you even more time to focus on your business. I wasn't able to do this for the first 3 years but ever since I have gotten the two services, it has made a world of difference for me.
I hope these strategies are useful for you. If you are a mom working from home and have other strategies that you've found to be invaluable, please share them in the comments so others and myself can benefit from your experience.
Have a wonderful day!