Creating a successful business from within the walls of your home is a challenging feat. But facing the many difficulties and endeavors of entrepreneurship as a work at home mom is an even more intense task.
Finding a balance between work and home life is essential for entrepreneurs when it comes to productivity and mental health. With schedules, routines, and goals in mind, you will be able to create a healthy balance in your home.
Routines and the Need for Flexibility
Routines are an efficient way to keep yourself on track, while allowing time for other necessities and priorities. Setting up a routine requires you to look at several different aspects of your work and home life.
Consider your priorities. Of course, your children will always be a high priority in your life. Focus on prioritizing the most important tasks for your business after that. When you can make a list of what needs to be done first, and what you absolutely have to work on, you’ll be able to have main focuses to align with your daily routine.
It’s important to set aside time for your children throughout your work day. Just being in their presence doesn’t mean that you are being present in their lives. The same policy goes for work and meetings as well.
Prepare for sacrifices. You won’t be able to make a perfect dinner every night, or finish every project you desire within a day or week. Being a work at home mom means that you’ll have to sacrifice some of your time for both work and home life.
Once you’ve chosen your priorities, there are some things that you will simply have to let go of. Allow for some flexibility, too. As a mom, you know that no schedule or routine can be set in stone.
With children, unexpected situations will occur, and work can be just as unpredictable. If your kids are showing signs of needing your attention, you may have to take a break from your work to be there for them.
Or, if you’re working on a project for work and there are technological issues for a big multimedia release that has to be fixed immediately, you may have to order takeout and focus on fixing those problems.
Persist with a routine and reward yourself. As you complete goals and follow along with the routine you’ve set for yourself, you deserve to treat yourself. One of the best ways to stay motivated and efficient is to take small breaks and reward yourself for your own hard work.
Maybe you want to get lunch at a place you haven’t been to in awhile, or you could take a break and take the kids to go get ice cream. You are only human, so you have to find ways to keep yourself happy and satisfied.
Keep track of your goals, too. Create a spreadsheet, calendar, or planner that maps out your drafted routine plans. This way, you will have everything solidified in writing, and it will be a creative way to keep yourself on task.
Find the Sweet Spot for Productivity
Working at home as a mom means that you may not be able to follow “normal” work hours. Instead of a typical 9 to 5, you have to search for sweet spots during the day that allow for the most productivity.
If your children take naps during the day or have a show that airs during a certain time, save your most important work for those moments. You will be able to be the most productive with your distractions lessened.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. If you are falling behind or feeling frustrated with the multitasking at hand, reach out and ask a friend or spouse to help watch the kids when they have some spare time. Give yourself a break from home life so that you can put in your best work.
Get Good at Saying No
It’s not your job to make everyone happy. People will come to you with their problems and desires because everyone needs help sometimes. But you don’t owe it to anyone to do every favor they ask for.
Your job is to work on your business and be there for your family. You will have to turn down someone’s request eventually, and it will help you realize how relieving it can be. Being a work at home individual means people will try to take advantage of your availability.
Your needs and desires matter as well. Take care of yourself and the things that matter most to you. Even if you have to say “no” to those closest to you at times, it will be worth it for your mental health.
Tell your spouse that you need to focus on a presentation instead of making dinner or doing a chore when they request is valid, as long as you don’t push your responsibilities off onto them every night.
Take turns with responsibilities so that you both have time for other things. Telling someone “no” does not make you a bad person. Some people may act offended that you had the nerve to turn them down, but that’s only because they’re just thinking about themselves.
However, this means that you have to work to understand why others may say “no” to you as well, so that you aren’t being hypocritical. Everyone has the right to take care of themselves and their priorities first.
Sometimes you have to say “no” to yourself, too. You may have to fight off urges to sleep in or skip out on a project because everything feels too overwhelming. But being in control of yourself is important – especially when you are working towards your goals.
Learn How to Tune Out Noise
Working from home as a mom can be challenging when it comes to working with peace and quiet. Children may not understand the impact of the noise they make, and they may be too young to fully grasp that concept.
There are some things you can do to lessen the impact of noise. Get a white noise machine. A white noise machine may help you drown out the sounds your kids are making, while building up your focus.
If you struggle with random sounds distracting you, this method will help you calm down and push past those distractions. It doesn’t drown them out to a level that’s unsafe, but it kind of blurs it all into a background noise.
Try having a separate office space. Whether you add in more insulation or just need to shut a door, a separate office space will give you an area of quiet concentration. Your kids may pick up on the fact that when you enter your office, you need to work hard and be left alone for a little while.
Consider having quiet hours. If your kids are old enough, you can teach them that you need time to work, so they have to be quiet for a certain amount of time. This could also be their time to watch TV or play a video game that they love, as long as they keep the sound at a low volume.
Listen to music while you’re focusing. Although this method does not work with everyone, some people become incredibly efficient when they listen to music. If you have a nicer pair of headphones to block out other noise, you can try listening to classical music, or any genre that works for you.
Sometimes, you can find a video on YouTube with a sound like a crackling fireplace or a running stream or thunderstorm. These sounds can help you focus better and lessen the distracting noise in the home.
Invest in Outside Help If Finances Allow It
Since you are already working on a growing business and raising children, your time is spread pretty thin. If finances allow it, investing in outside help is a good idea. This will help ease the burden of the work, so that you don’t have to shoulder all of it.
There are a few different helpful ideas to consider investing in. Get a weekly cleaning person to come in and help. Hiring a maid will take the task of heavy cleaning off of your shoulders.
Someone who can deep clean your house once a week will keep the larger tasks out of your hands, so that you only have light work to do when the day is done. They can also help you catch up on dishes, laundry, and even meal prep.
Use grocery pickup or delivery. Grocery shopping takes up more time than you may realize. If you are on a time crunch and have a shopping list ready, order your supplies online and have it delivered to your door.
If you are looking to save a little money, order online and pick up the groceries when your order is ready. Both of these methods will save you a lot of time. Get a babysitter sometimes, too.
Keeping children entertained while working on your career isn’t always easy, especially if they are very young. Hiring a babysitter who can spend focused time with them and play with them will give you the space you may need to be efficient.
Even if it’s only for a few hours a day, every busy mother needs a break. An assistant might be a good idea, too. You may worry that you’re missing out on spending more time with your children because of tedious tasks that you have to complete for your business.
Hiring an assistant (virtual or in house) for those tasks will save you time, and allow you to focus on bigger projects as well. Sign up for carpooling if your kids are school aged. If you have a neighbor or friend with kids that lives nearby, you could give them a small amount of money each week for them to pick your kids up along the way to school or other activities.
You can even share in the responsibilities and drive once or twice a week, but it will alleviate the daily burden. Driving takes up a lot of time, and you can’t multitask while taking your children places.
See If Multitasking Helps or Hurts Your Productivity
Multitasking is something commonly recommended to busy people. But what most don’t realize is that it can hurt your work process more than help, if you are the type of person who gets slowed down or overwhelmed by multitasking.
Test out how multitasking works for you by timing your work. Test 1 would include you working on one simple task. Test 2 would include you working on two simple tasks (example: writing and listening at the same time).
Afterwards, reflect on how much information you retained, and how quickly you were able to accomplish things. If you feel like multitasking muddles your clarity or slows down your process, stick to one task at a time.
If you thrive with multitasking, use it to your advantage. Listen to informative podcasts while making your kid’s lunch, or play with the kids while brainstorming for an upcoming project. As long as you feel like it is manageable for you, go for it.
Systemize Your Processes
Developing routines and clear systems for every task at hand will help you fall into the swing of things and work as quickly as possible. Whether you are tackling something for work or for home, systemizing your process will be the most efficient way to go.
Getting the kids ready can be a routine. Sometimes getting your kids ready in the morning can be a burdensome task. If you can teach them how to stick to a morning routine, everyone will be able to do their part.
Have one kid pick out their clothing while the other takes a shower, and give each of them an order of tasks to complete so that mornings run smoothly. Templates for product creation come in handy for systemization.
Whether you’re creating a sales letter for a launch or writing a product review, stick to a template that provides a quick and effective solution, so that you are organized and it becomes second nature.
Automate emails and blog posts. Upload your posts and emails ahead of time and schedule them out, so that you don’t have to worry about making a deadline or being available at a specific time.
This will also help you make the most out of posting at specific hours to optimize engagement. Use pre-planned dinner schedules. Instead of brainstorming what to make for dinner while you should be paying attention to a tutorial, set aside time at the beginning of the week to plan out your dinners, so that you can be prepared and ready.
Have a cleaning routine. Cleaning can feel like an overwhelming task. So focus on taking things one room at a time, with a determined path so that cleaning becomes a process, rather than a long, burdensome task that has to be done everywhere at once.
Know When to Be Unavailable
Your work doesn’t have to follow you everywhere you go. Keep your work phone or certain contacts muted when you are devoting time to your family. If it is an emergency, they will reach out to you more than just once.
Giving your children undivided attention is important. They need to know that you prioritize them and want to spend time with them. If you give them that love and effort, they are more likely to be respectful when it’s time for you to work.
Your family will have to learn that you can’t always be there for them at every moment of the day. Although children may not always understand why you have to work, they will have to accept that you can’t always play with them.
This may take time and patience, but it’s something that they will have to learn in order for you to be able to work without an interruption every five minutes. This is also something your spouse will need to learn.
Sometimes, they may have to parent or do tasks on their own without your help because of the work that you do. Don’t let this cause friction, but instead keep a calm demeanor as they find their way.
Learn How to Use Tools of Convenience
Finding products that help you deal with two things at once is a great way to multitask without having to physically do the multitasking. There are thousands of products made to make lives easier, and many are specifically targeted towards those who work at home as parents.
Look for toys and items that will keep your children entertained and safe. For example, for younger children, you could purchase a bouncy jumper and attach it to the doorway of your office.
Your children can amuse themselves while you work, and they will always be within your view, so you know they can’t get into anything crazy. To make things easier on the work front, you could try purchasing technology that helps you out with your business.
Set your phone to read messages aloud, so that you can communicate through text with people while playing with your kids. And if you still have baby cameras from when your children were younger, you can utilize them now so that you always know what your kids are up to in the other room.
Have Clear Daily Goals and Make Sure They’re Reasonable
When you set smaller goals, the key is to motivate rather than overwhelm yourself. These goals may be designed to make you more involved in the family, or be more productive at work.
When creating these goals, focus on what you want from them. There are some ideas for goals to set to get yourself started. Push past procrastination. Write at least one page of what you are working on, or set a word goal.
Set timers for allotted time to work on something, then take breaks. Make one important business call. Doing things like this get the ball rolling, and you end up doing far more than you initially promised yourself.
Spend more time with your spouse. Plan out a short date night. Take the kids and bring them to lunch. Try to break your nightly routine by talking about a certain topic together or watching a show you both enjoy.
Involve your children more. Have the kids help out with dinner. Play a board or video game with them. Plan a family movie night. Being a working mom can make you feel like you’re being pulled in all directions at times.
But if you work on finding a healthy balance and utilize tools like routines, schedules and other strategies, you’ll find that your children grow up with a healthy appreciation for your efforts to parent them while simultaneously growing your business.