Being a work-at-home mom is awesome – it really is.
Yes, it may be fantastic between conference calls to be able to fold the laundry and make the beds, but it takes an awful amount of discipline, organization and motivation not to let something or another to fall to the wayside – whether it’s housework, business projects or self-care.
On top of trying to make an income from working at home, trying to keep track of homework, birthday parties & doctors’ appointments can sometimes feel impossible, let alone finding time to spend with your family.
I’m not going to promise that following these steps will mean an end to lost shoes in the morning and that ever-expanding pile of ironing, but my top tips to better manage your time and workloads will hopefully help make balancing it all a little easier.
1. Organize Your Working Week
One thing I hate is sitting at my desk on Monday morning with no clue what I should be doing that week.
So make the time to sit down, whether at the beginning of your work week or the end and reflect on the tasks, projects and deadlines you have coming up.
I have a huge whiteboard above my desk so that I can scribble things down that I need to remember as I go along in the week and use that as the basis for my Monday planning.
This way you know what you need to have achieved by the end of the week and is an excellent way of tracking your progress.
2. Have a Dedicated Workspace
If you are lucky enough to have a room in your house to use as an office, try to make sure that any work that you do is done only in that room.
If you don’t have this luxury, dedicate a corner of a room in your house for your work. This way you can ‘go to work’ and close the door on all those domestic chores that your mama head just can’t turn off.
Equally, don’t be tempted to sit with your laptop in front of the TV or in bed.
3. Set Up a Command Center for Your Home Admin
Home admin is just as important (if not more) as business admin, so it is worthwhile to reserve a couple of hours a week (I find Monday the most effective) to sort out doctors appointments, calls that need to be made and bills that you need to pay.
After your home admin period is over, unless its an emergency, add anything else to the list, and leave it until next time. The ideal way to do this I find is to have a home command centre to store all your bills, to-dos and any other home admin.
A great way to house all those important numbers and to-do lists is with a household management binder. Check out this video to get you started!
4. Batch Cook Your Meals
I like to cook my meals so that I have leftovers the following day(s), and to batch meals that I can freeze for later – a slow cooker is your best friend for this.
You can batch cook delicious stews and soups, but can also cook huge pots of chilli and pulled pork, so the options are endless.
I always try to make sure weekday food is nutritious and quick, and leave the weekends for trying out the more time-consuming meals.
5. Incorporate Daily Laundry
Now, bear with me (I can practically hear you all groaning)! I live with two messy boys who seem to get mud and dirt on everything!
I have tried various plans of attack to make my never-ending pile of laundry a little smaller, and none of them seemed to make the task any easier.
The one thing I have found the most effective is to do one load of laundry a day.
Of course, if you have a few little ones, this may not be quite enough, but even splitting it into two loads a day makes the task that little less daunting.
This saves time as it’s something you can do in between work emails, or while you wait for the kettle to boil, and frees up your personal time.
6. Limit ‘Cleaning’ to Once a Week
On a daily basis, I have three primary tidying tasks that I like to achieve.
- Make the beds
- Do the dishes
- Put things away and tidy up the house
I won’t concern myself with anything else because before you know it, you are elbow deep, cleaning out closets and your work projects are laying there neglected.
I limit myself now to once a week where I will give the whole house a once-over and dust, vacuum, mop, clean the bathroom etc. I usually do this on the weekend to get us all ready for the week ahead.
7. Figure Out Your Productive Periods
My productivity is best at different times for different things.
Early in the morning is best for my business work.
Early afternoon I get a little restless from sitting down all morning, so find myself roaming around the house making beds and putting on my load of laundry.
This helps to save time so that I am not sat at my desk when my brain is fidgeting, nor am I trying to make beds when my head is full of ideas.
8. Make Time for You
This means making sure you have a dedicated lunch break, that doesn’t involve any laundry, tidying or playtime.
Carve out an hour to sit with your lunch and give your brain a break.
Make time throughout the week to do something you enjoy, whether that’s coffee with the girls or an early morning Pilates class. In my spare time, I try to work on passion projects (like this one!).
9. Set Boundaries
Round the clock access to emails, social media and business files mean that it’s all too easy to lose business boundaries.
I have been there so many times where one of my clients emails at 10.00pm asking to revise that last brief I sent over. The mama in you instinctively reaches straight for the laptop to get a head start.
I have now turned off all business related notifications on my phone and have set an out-of-office reply on my emails so that clients know when I will respond.
Rock Being a Work at Home Mom
There aren’t many mamas who have the luxury of working from home, so although it presents its own challenges that traditional employment doesn’t have, give yourself a massive pat on the back for killing it as a rock star work-at-home mama!