Many work at home moms struggle to manage housework, meal times, caring for their children and their businesses on a daily basis. It can be hard, especially if the children are home all day while you are trying to get business-related tasks finished.
Here’s a few tips that may help ease the chaos and bring more productivity to your day.
- Start by evaluating what is important to you on a personal and professional level. Here are some questions to think about: Is it important to you to spend quality time with your family every day no matter what? Do you have a fitness routine that you always feel guilty about missing? Are there any spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and meditation that uplift you whenever you practice them? Is there a certain workflow that you are really in tune to? What are the most important household chores that must be done every day in order for you not to feel overwhelmed? What types of meals would you like your family to have on a regular basis- are there shortcuts, like using a crockpot or freeze-ahead meals to make them happen? Knowing the answers to these questions and more can help you put a plan in place to be your best self in each area of your life and contribute to your productivity.
- Create a list of tasks that must be done every day and weekly to maintain these areas: Spiritual, Physical, Family, Household, Business. This will begin to form your core schedule based on the things that are most important to you. Remember, align these task to your goals.
- Write down everything in a schedule. Everything. Once you have answered the above questions and have an idea of the tasks that are needed in order to reach and maintain those things, begin to fill in your schedule, entering the most important things first. For many WAHMs, this is a game changer because it helps to create the necessary boundaries they need and nurture themselves and their loved ones. Invest in a paper or digital calendar to create your schedule, entering repeat tasks as far in advance as you feel is necessary. Track your progress in 6-week intervals and tweak the schedule as necessary to improve.
- Meal plan. Consider creating a 6-8 week rotating meal plan, complete with shopping lists for each season of the year. This way, your meals never get boring, and shopping becomes an automated task that you no longer have to give your energy to. By creating menus that align with seasons such as Spring and Fall, you can also take advantage of in-season produce and sales. Ways to save even more time in the kitchen include: meal prepping, batch and bulk cooking, utilizing your slow cooker or instant-pot and having whole meals ready to go from the freezer. Many grocery stores now offer online ordering and pick up from their stores, some even deliver directly to your door. Take advantage of these services is shopping is a time-consuming task for you.
- Have a clear housework schedule to follow. Break your household to-do list up into monthly, weekly and daily tasks. This will generate a master household schedule that you can use to cover the keeping of and maintenance of the house. Involve your family and delegate certain chores. Consider minimizing the amount of clutter and actual stuff in your household to make cleaning even more efficient. Brainstorm with your spouse ways that you can work together to keep on top of everything.
- Schedule quality time with your family and stick to it. Make the time to sit down and draw on the sidewalk with your child. Take an extra 30 minutes to talk with your teenager. Schedule a regular date night with the spouse. And do it cell phone-free. Allow yourself downtime on the weekends.
- Schedule non-negotiable business hours. When you work at home, the lines can easily be blurred between home and work. If your spouse is gone during the day, would it be possible for you to work once they can get home and can take over with the kids? If you do need to work during the day, do you have anyone who can come spend time with the kids while you get a couple hours of concentrated work time in? If interruptions are slightly okay while working, can you think of things the kids can do while you are tending to certain tasks that will help you be more efficient in your work? Batch tasks together on certain days. On one day, for example, you could focus on messages and emails, on another, administrative tasks for your business and so on.
- Find a community that provides real support for your journey. Find other WAHMs on social networks through groups or apps that are in the trenches just like you are. Learn from them and lend your encouragement to their road. Sometimes having others who understand us and with whom we find belonging is worth its weight in gold. Having like-minded connections is important to maintaining the right perspective.
- If you are in a position to do so, hire help if needed. Something as simple as hiring a lawn care service can lift a huge burden. A mother’s helper can be a valuable addition to your home. A virtual or physical assistant can help when business is booming. Moving past the stigma that we must be everything and do everything can relieve stress and help our overall success in achieving our goals.
No matter what type of business you operate from home, streamlining your schedule and how you spend your hours can lead to time saved, quality work and efficiency without sacrificing what is most important to you. With a little planning and consistency, you can achieve greater overall productivity in your business, life and home.