As a Work from Home Mom can you really manage time?
I believe “time” does not like to be managed, and, frankly, she gets a little angry when we try to box her in and make her into something she doesn’t want to be, like a schedule or a number.
Time flows and ebbs and does what she wants.
Time is certainly a woman, don’t you think? She has a mind of her own and let’s you know it. As women, we know all too well what time can do to us.
How do we deal with time just slipping away while we need to work and spend time with our family?
How do we manage our time so we feel more balance?
*We manage ourselves and our space into what time has given us as individuals.*
Some of us have teens and, well, our time is little more elongated throughout the day to allow for more work I like to do. I hate to brag but I do get chunks of beautiful time to work for 4-6 hours most days.
But it wasn’t always like that. I paid my WAHM (work at home mom) dues to time with a toddler, a preschooler, a little one and elementary age children. And I know many of you are at that stage now.
So how do we manage OUR time into the space given to us by all these outside factors?
For me, I had to experiment. Then when I found something worked, well, my kids changed that. They grow older and have different needs throughout each stage.
Managing our time as work at home moms is tough, our family unit is always changing. And then factor in any other changes and you are screwed.
The best advice I can give you is to stick to your guns. Don’t give up just because you only get 3 broken hours to work. Learn to work with whatever time you are given.
Find a Method That Works
If you know you only get an hour each day to work on your business prioritize what is most important and do that first.
Set strict rules for yourself that you will not be distracted by social media, the sun, other blogs, the TV, sleep or anything else while you work. Yes, kids will distract, keep reading.
Working with Small Children in the House
When you have small children they do not understand that mommy needs to work. This is another one of those situations which calls for your imagination and ingenuity.
You may need to put the TV (or whatever is a treat for your little one) on for one hour to distract your child so you can get work done.
One great piece of advice I always followed was to let your children know they are priority, they are special. Give your time to your child first, entertain them and make them feel special before you do any other tasks.
This usually will satisfy their need for mommy time for a short while as you distract them with TV, or whatever works for your family.
Working with School-Age Children in the House
For those of you with school-age children, yay, we made it! We get more time to develop our businesses!
Yet, I found, this is the same time when I started to become MORE distracted. Yes, all of a sudden I had more time to spend on myself and my business which meant more opportunity for distractions. Eeek!
Don’t let this happen to you. At least not often.
Here are some tips to keep from getting distracted:
Use a timer to complete tasks and then when the timer is up then you can distract yourself for a while. Get up, get coffee, stretch, even go for a walk or have lunch.
Take breaks. Tell yourself “when I finish this page or that order, I will take a break”. Breaks recharge and refresh your body and brain.
Have a short to-do list. I say short because long ones can overwhelm you, then there is a higher likelihood you will give up before you even start.
Have a schedule. This is completely up to your workday, lifestyle and work style. My schedule is not a daily schedule because I work with a short priority list instead. But I do have a weekly schedule where I may state that Monday is publish a post day, Tuesday is social media and research day, Wednesday is work on my email list day, etc, you get the idea.
When you do find yourself stopping to get distract, heck, stop working. Your mind is telling that you are bored or need a break. Take it. Mark down when you were and get up or stare out the window or let yourself get distracted for a bit. The key here is to go right back to what you were working on before you stopped, otherwise the distraction moment was in vain.
What has worked for you?
I get many moms saying that they get little time to work because of their little ones. They feel blessed to be able to be home with them like they always wanted to be but then feel cheated out of time.
Many work early, early in the morning or late, late at night.
When you are new to working from home you will find it very frustrating at first, just like anything else new.
You will need to figure out what works for you and your family best. And, unfortunately, mastering your WAHM time takes trial and error.
Stick to your guns. Make sure your family knows you are trying to run a business. Even little ones can get the concept of mommy’s time to be at her desk just for a while. And remember, you are setting a great example of determination for your children.
Just a couple more tips I live by in work and personal life:
1. You will NEVER get it all done.
Period. Impossible. Be happy with what you have accomplished thus far.
2. Stop multitasking.
It does not work. Really. Sure, you can do laundry and make dinner at the same time, but let’s be real, those are not highly intellectual tasks.
Most moms can do those tasks blindfolded and asleep. When it comes to a task that involves thought like planning, writing, and conversation, (aka work) just concentrate on that task only.
You will be more productive in the end.
3. Daily challenge boost.
Have one daily goal you know will challenge you but you know you will get done. I do this everyday.
It can even be a personal goal like do 2 loads of laundry (not 1, and moms would understand that this IS a challenge some days), workout just 5 minutes longer than usual or a work goal like schedule out my Facebook updates.
I know these are tasks I can get done but they are challenging enough to make me feel fulfilled at the end of the day. Then I feel good and ready for the challenge the next day.
4. Always, always, always take time for yourself.
By yourself. Regroup with you and remember that underneath all you are- wife, partner, mom, sister, friend- you are a woman.
Plain and simple. You are that first and foremost. It may seem selfish but you do need to remember that you have woman needs.
The need for a quiet book with coffee. The need to take a jog. The need to take a bath by yourself (no kids peeking in). Heck, sometimes it is the need to cry.
When you give to yourself you give to those you love because you come back refreshed mind and body.