Working from home can challenge even the most efficient time managers. Use these guidelines to help you get a handle on your workload and home life.
A poster on a forum I frequently recently posed this question: what does your work at home schedule look like?
Though the answers varied from mom to mom, a few constants remained among their responses. In four years as a work at home mom, I have found these constants to be the truths of working from home.
Remember Your Purpose
Moms who work from home typically are making sacrifices to do so. We face higher taxes, less regular hours, and scrutiny from people who don’t understand the choice. Why do we so willingly enter into this situation? For most of us, we wanted to keep our children out of daycares and have them in a home environment all day. Remembering to spend some time with them to nurture who they are and enjoy the stages of childhood is necessary on bad days and good. Time dedicated to your children also helps your focus during work hours.
Make Work a Priority
If you work “when you get to it,” meaning when everyone’s fed, in clean clothes, and happy, you likely won’t get much work done. Setting aside time daily that fits into your family’s schedule is the best way to make sure you have time to complete projects and expand as your work at home vision changes.
A goal for the work at home mom may be financial. Many women need to earn a certain amount to keep the household afloat. When I first started working from home, I faced that situation. As our finances improved, I found without other goals, I floundered. Setting goals may be completing a certain number of articles for writers or setting up a certain number of shows for crafters. Long-term and short-term goals are essential to keeping you on track and give you the evaluation you don’t get from an employer.
Regardless of the situation, most moms find themselves with some child crisis interfering with work needs. Work at home moms face this issue in abundance. You probably will be the person to nurse sick children and to do much of the family planning and organizing. That means you need flexibility in when and where you work. When my son was chronically ill, we spent at least one day a week for 18 months at a doctor’s office. It was brutal on our lives, but by the time we got a diagnosis, the staff at the office knew exactly what I did for a living. I never showed up without a notebook and pen – or even my laptop – so that I could work while we waited. You’ll need this type of flexibility to survive as a work at home mom.
Setting a schedule and goals will help keep you on track, but assertiveness is necessary to keep others on track. From neighbors who stop by to chat to your husband calling to ask you to run an errand, other people will fill your days with meeting their needs if you aren’t careful. While the occasional favor may be warranted, guarding your work time is essential to making sure you can focus and succeed.
These five principles won’t ensure your success, but they can get you in the frame of mind to work harder and smarter. Learn from the work at home moms before you and use these constants to guide your efforts.
By Brandi Rhoades