When I made the transition from my corporate job to working from home, I was armed with indomitable optimism.
The future seemed amazingly bright with my dreams unfolding just the way I had envisioned them.
I was going to be tending to my baby without letting go of my career goals.
All my ducks were in a neat row – or so I thought.
Before long, frustration kicked in as I scuffled with little success to create time for my freelance writing. Deadlines were pushed.
Relationships with clients were severed. My stress levels hit the roof. Trouble was brewing furiously in my paradise.
I knew I had to tweak my strategy and find a way to make things work. As I reviewed my daily activities, I noticed some habits that were hurling me head first into my rabbit hole of unproductivity.
In this post, I share with you ten pitfalls that work at home moms should avoid like the plague in order to boost their productivity.
1. Waking Up Late
Not rising up early was one of my greatest downfalls.
I would wiggle out of bed when my baby woke up. Basically, my baby and I were starting on the same slate.
That was an awful thing because it meant that I was totally unprepared for both her and my work.
Rising up early affords you uninterrupted time to immerse yourself in your work when it’s calm and quiet. Before the kids wake up and take over.
Additionally, there is some zing that adds a spring in your step when you wake up early. You are in the driver’s seat all pumped up to take on the world.
I also find that my creative juices flow freely in the morning. I tend to eat my frogs without too much drama.
Mornings are also great times to meditate, pray, exercise, plan and draft your day’s to-do list.
2. Not Soliciting Help
Attending to my house chores while with taking care of my baby was grueling enough for me. When I decided to throw in freelance writing, the cookie crumbled effortlessly.
I realized that I needed an extra hand or I would lose my marbles. I, therefore, hired a baby sitter.
I know there are work at home moms who are able to juggle the balls without requiring help. Probably their circumstances are different. Maybe their babies are older and tucked away in school for the better part of the day.
But for those who are swamped with work, hiring a baby sitter or someone to attend to your household chores may be your saving grace.
There could also be family and friends who would be thrilled to babysit for you once in a while.
Don’t be shy about it, go ahead and ask them.
3. Giving In to Distractions
Working from home is an intricate affair. There are distractions lurking everywhere, ready to pounce on you and render you ineffective.
Your commitment to your daily goals needs to be as hard as nails.
They say working smart trumps working hard. Working from home, however, will see you working both hard and smart. Guard your time jealously.
Do all you can to nip distractions in the bud.
Trailing off to social media is one of the most notorious distraction not only to work at home moms but to workers across the globe.
Remember that you of all people do not have the luxury of time. Unless it’s part of your job, keep off social media.
4. Not Working When Baby Naps
Over time I have realized that my kids’ nap times are sacred. I hold them close to my heart. I am able to sneak in sizeable chunks of work as my kids’ snooze.
If your child has a regular and somewhat predictable naptime, use it wisely.
Grab the blissful and quiet moments to concentrate on your work. You can for instance schedule calls around naptimes.
5. Not Setting Goals
Goals keep you tethered to your course. Writing them down and drafting a daily to-do list keeps you focused and helps you prioritize.
Don’t rely on your brain to instinctively figure out all the things you need accomplish. Write them down, take time to evaluate and plan.
6. Not Sleeping Enough
It is only after I became a mom that it dawned on me that sleep is not overrated.
My first born was colicky and barely slept at night. I was getting by with measly hours of interrupted sleep which had me teetering on my sanity.
Sleep experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep for adults (mothers included) for proper body functioning. Not sleeping enough takes a toll on your brain functioning, compromises your immunity and may even make you depressed.
New moms with infants who may not be sleeping through the night need to take it easy. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You can, for instance, take on fewer projects or entirely take a break from work until your baby is older.
Kids grow up, that’s what they do best. Learn to embrace each season with grace.
7. Neglecting Self Care
Being a work at home mom means that there is always something beckoning your attention whichever side you turn. It is easy to inadvertently relinquish self-care to the back burner.
Remember you cannot pour from an empty cup. You need to be oozing with life in order to impact your family and others.
It’s important to carve out some sacred time to indulge in the things that perk you up and make your heart sing.
There are many self-care practices to choose from such as:
- Reading a book
- Soaking in a hot bath
- Getting a massage,
- Coffee with girlfriends
- Manicure and Pedicure
- Going for a run
- Indulging in your hobbies
And while you are at it, please do not feel guilty. You absolutely deserve it.
8. Being Rigid
One day your child may be in their best behavior, following their schedule with magical precision.
Napping at the right time and playing with their toys without seeking your attention, offering you ample time to hit your targets.
Hold up! Don’t put the flags out yet!
Because the following day they may decide to toss the schedule out the window. They may resist their naps and not want to be put down.
Don’t take it personally when your kids veer off their schedule. By all means, hope for the best but don’t work yourself up into a frenzy when your day doesn’t turn out as planned.
Anticipate and accommodate change.
9. Plan Ahead
Working from home while raising your tots requires meticulous organization. Aim to keep stress at bay by planning ahead.
You can, for instance, buy your weekly groceries on weekends and plan your family meals before the busy week unfolds. You thereby minimize your errands and chores during the week.
10. Not Taking Your Work Seriously
Before you go up in arms and let me in on how much you take your work seriously, please hear me out. Working from home comes with a certain degree of freedom.
Maybe you are your own boss. You get to call the shots and work when you feel like. This freedom can be a snare for procrastination and ultimately lead to unproductivity.
So really, take your work seriously and implore everyone around you to follow suit. Some folks may want to stop by your home unannounced and eat away at your precious time.
Let people know that you are not available on a whim.
Working from home is a dream come true for most moms.
Productivity can, however, be elusive when moms have too much on their plate. You can crank up your productivity by steering clear of these pitfalls and start savoring the magic of working from home.