Being a work at home mom isn’t easy. Most people assume that if you’re home, you’re available; and that includes your children. Fortunately, your children do not have to be a hindrance to your work life and vice versa. With a few tips and tricks, you can easily boost your productivity as a work at home mom.
Start the Day
If you’ve been working from home for a while, chances are pretty good that you’ve worked in your pajamas at some point or another. This can be a tricky road to go down because you’ll find yourself struggling or stressed at the thought of someone ringing the doorbell, or having to take a trip out of the house. Make it a point to get dressed each and every day. Do your hair, and if desired, do your makeup. By getting yourself ready each morning, just as you would for a job outside the home, you’ll reduce your stress greatly when unanticipated changes to your schedule occur.
In addition to not getting dressed, perhaps you’ve found yourself getting up whenever the kids get up, rather than getting up when you need to. Get back on schedule and maintain a morning routine. This small change may sound unnecessary, but it can help you get your day going and in turn, help make you more productive.
Create Quiet Time
No matter what age your children are, it’s important to have a designated quiet time. Whether you schedule it in the morning or the afternoon, it can aid in giving you a small block of uninterrupted time to complete as many of your work-related tasks as possible. It can take time for children to understand and follow the rules when establishing quiet time but keep at it. For younger children, consider planning an easy craft or other activity they can do by themselves for an extended period of time.
Embrace the Chaos, and the Mess
It can be hard to separate your home life from your work life when you’re living and working in the same space. Make it a point to not do certain tasks during the day when you should be working. This includes running laundry or doing the dishes. These are tasks that you and your spouse can work on tackling later in the day after working hours are over.
Enlist Your Spouse, and Your Children
Speaking of spouses, make it a point to enlist their help. You are not alone in housework or parenting, so don’t assume all the duties. Instead, make it a point to share these tasks with your spouse, whether it’s laundry and dishes, or the bedtime routine. By sharing household chores and parenting, you’ll lighten your load significantly, which can help increase your productivity during working hours.
For children, choose age-appropriate tasks. This could include sweeping and mopping for younger elementary age kids or taking out the trash and recycling for older kids. Kids around four and up can help with putting away their own laundry, and so forth. By including kids in these chores, you’ll be teaching them a valuable lesson and giving yourself some more time to do other necessary tasks. Just be sure to choose age-appropriate tasks and expect some whining in the beginning. Don’t give up and take over, because just as important as you getting your tasks done is your children learning that a household requires a group effort to run smoothly.
Be Flexible, but Also Be Firm
Working from home requires occasional flexibility. Emergencies arise, children get sick, relatives stop by, and so forth. While some situations require flexibility, others require firmness. Don’t be afraid to let it be known that though you are home, you are still working. It is not uncommon for those outside the home to assume that if you’re home, you’re available. You are not available and do not allow yourself to be sucked in by their beck and call.
Create a Schedule
This is especially true in the summertime, when kids may be around more. In addition to creating a schedule, make it a point to talk to your kids, regardless of their age, about what to expect while they’re on summer break. With younger kids, warn them of the day’s schedule in the morning so that they know what to expect for each day.
Consider scheduling one fun day a week, or even small activities throughout the week, to give kids a break; especially if there aren’t other neighborhood children for them to play with. Remember, summer vacation is just a temporary blip and school routines are just around the corner.
Balancing your work life with your home life can be done, but it takes effort, and it’s definitely never perfect. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and certainly don’t be afraid to make the boundaries known to those around you, especially those who are prone to dropping by with little to no notice. Simple changes to your routine, such as enlisting the help of others for chores, or taking small breaks throughout the week, can be a surprisingly effective way to boost your productivity and maintain your sanity while working at home with children.