Working from home was your goal and you’ve finally reached it. The journey to home may have been challenging, but your hard work and planning paid off.
You made the transition to work from home in order to spend more quality time with your children, but now you’re wondering how can you get the “work” part done? Though becoming a work at home mom has many advantages, there are some challenges to overcome as well.
Whether your kids are too young for school or you are a homeschooling mom, it can be difficult to focus on work when you have little ones in tow.
When trying to balance raising children and working from home, you may often feel:
- Overwhelmed at the beginning of each morning by all of the things you need to do,
- A lack of energy and have difficulty focusing on tasks throughout the day, or
- A feeling of being utterly exhausted and discouraged by the end of the day.
So what is a work at home mom to do? Over the years I’ve worked from home while homeschooling my children, and I’ve learned that a successful day requires adequate planning, and that planning should start the night before.
If you want to learn the secret of successfully working from home with children, read the following 11 tips for focusing on work without neglecting your children:
#1 – Create a realistic evening routine that works – I’ve found that the first secret for having a good morning and a successful day is to start the evening before. How many times I started the morning grumbling because we couldn’t find clothing needed for the day, or I was missing one (major) ingredient for the planned breakfast, I’m too embarrassed to tell. When I finally decided enough was enough, I then realized that a good day began the evening before.
Since learning how to makeover our evenings, our nighttime routine starts at a set time and includes preparing all of the things we need to have a good start to our mornings. Posting the schedule for the kids to see was an option we chose that works well for us.
#2 – Create an “Eat the Frog” List – Brian Tracy, in his book Eat That Frog, defines the “frog” this way:
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.”
So your goal is to create a list of the most important activities and commitments you should be investing your effort, time and energy into. Use this list in the next step – creating a prioritized To Do list.
#3 – Create a Prioritized To Do List – making a list of all tasks that need to be completed for the day and prioritizing them can help you finish the most important items first. Sometimes when we’re faced with a lot of tasks on our list, we tend to do the easier or quicker items first, but the growing list of high-priority (and often harder to do) tasks can eventually create stress.
By getting the critical items done first, you are better positioned to handle the interruptions (which are sure to come) in your day. For tips on how to create a prioritized To Do list, check out the post on Better Managing Your Time.
#4 – Schedule in Time for Interruptions – having a daily schedule is a great way to plan for the day, but what happens when other people impose on your plans? One idea when creating your daily schedule is to be sure to include time for interruptions. If a task would normally take you 30 minutes to complete uninterrupted, then block out one hour instead.
This will keep your stress level down if you do get interrupted, and you’ll gain additional time if you don’t. It’s a win-win either way. Being realistic when adding tasks to your calendar will give you more time and save you unneeded stress.
#5 – Work While the Kids are Sleeping – okay, so this is probably an obvious one. However, be careful that you don’t burn the candle at both ends. Instead, get your adequate amount of rest. If you are fresher early in the morning, then get to bed at a decent hour and set your alarm to wake up 2 to 3 hours before your kids awake. If you are a night-owl, then seek to give yourself enough rest by sleeping in a little later in the morning.
#6 – Eliminate Calendar Conflicts Forever – there’s nothing more frustrating than discovering you’re double-booked or missed an important engagement because of poor scheduling. Even if you’re “planning-challenged” you can find a calendar system that works for you.
Research and invest in ONE main planner or calendar for the family. If you keep all appointments, events and notes in one place, you help avoid conflicts. Also learning how to say No to requests that aren’t aligned with your “Eat the Frog” list will help you free up time to actually get work done.
I’m a planner junkie, so if you need some ideas on great planners, check out my Pinterest “Planners and Organizers” board.
#7 – Take time for yourself – as important as it is to schedule your work hours and stick to them, it’s just as important to schedule time for you to relax and rejuvenate. So as you create your work schedule, be sure to include time for “play”. Whether it’s time with the kids, your husband, or your girlfriends, schedule it in and stick to it.
#8 – Dress for the Day You Want – I was recently introduced to Dear Abby Leigh’s site where she says, “Dress for the day you want to have, instead of the one that’s trying to have you!” This statement is so true. How you dress makes a difference in how you feel. And how you feel determines how you act.
This doesn’t mean you must have the latest fashions or the fanciest clothes, but to pick the colors and styles that flatter you best and make you feel confident.
#9 – Keep a Positive Attitude – You ever hear the phrase, You are what you think? It’s true. Our thoughts determine our actions. If you’re constantly reminding yourself of all the things you aren’t, or all the things you haven’t done, or all the things you can’t do, you’ll never move forward and get better.
Instead, each morning, fill your mind with positive words and thoughts. Pick a scripture or inspirational quote that motivates you and commit it to memory, then repeat it during times you’re tempted to be negative. If you commit to being positive, you’ll find your days will run smoother.
#10 – Put Your Kids to Work – want to raise a savvy entrepreneur? Then allow your kids the opportunity to “work” while you work. Find a creative activity for the kids to do at a set time each day. Consider setting up an arts and crafts station in your home office and rotate the type of craft activity they do each day. Even if it’s only for 45 minutes, that’s extra time for you to get a task completed. For more ideas on great activities for kids, check out this guide for SAHMs working from home.
#11 – Make it a Great Day – By putting these steps in place, you’re on your way to working successfully at home with your children. But don’t let life just happen. Make a decision each morning to make it a great day. Choose to live up to your full potential and create a legacy for your children to follow.
Following these steps will give you a great start to changing your evenings so your can have a successful day. But if you’re like me, needing more details, then join me in taking Crystal Paine’s brand-new 14-day Make Over Your Evenings course.
In just 15 minutes a day, you learn how to:
- Establish a Realistic Evening Routine that works — and that sets you up for amazing success!
- Design a Prioritized To Do List for each day — one that you’re actually excited to wake up and tackle!
- Create a Best Stuff List of the most important activities and commitments you should be invested your time, life, and energy into right now.
- Eliminate calendar conflicts once and for all — and how to do so without guilt or frustration.
- And more!
The course includes a handbook, daily videos, worksheets and projects.
Head on over to MakeOverYourEvenings.com to learn more about the course, and get in on the rock-bottom price for this fabulous course today!
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