While working from home is an ideal scenario for any mom, it is not as romantic as it sounds or as easy as it looks. When working from home, distractions abound, especially if your kids are young and are around the house most of the day. Also, when you’re working from a place you don’t usually associate with work, it takes much more discipline and focus to get things done. Challenging yes, but it is definitely not impossible….and so worth the flexibility and the time you can dedicate to your kids.
Here are a few tips to guide your work and ensure your optimal productivity as a work at home mom:
1. Create routines/set a schedule. While you may not be working at an office, training your mind and body to work within a schedule will give you the rhythm you need to be productive. Try to wake up at the same time each day, never neglect your morning rituals, and block specific hours for solid, focused work. As a mom, this may mean that your best work will be done while your children are at school, busy, or asleep.
2. Designate a space for your work desk. Choose a specific area in your home as your off-limits work area. Just being in a space that you associate with productivity and a checked to-do list will aid in getting your creative juices flowing. You can also teach your children that when you are in that area, you need quiet and concentration, and that you must not be bothered. They will eventually learn that when mommy is at her work desk, this means that she must be left alone. To encourage your children, tell them that you will be available at a specific time so that they will have something to look forward to.
3. Know your most productive hours. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Know your most productive hours and dedicate your most mentally challenging tasks to those times in the day. If this synchronizes with your toddler’s nap, then that’s a plus! Leave the more mechanical, and less taxing work for your more sluggish hours (such as after lunch) or when you believe you will be able to multi-task effectively (e.g. working on your laptop while the in the same room as your children).
4. Set goals for each day, but be realistic about what you can accomplish. Having kids means saying yes to a life that is full of surprises. But that doesn’t mean you can’t commit to your to-do lists or set goals for each day. When writing out your tasks, pick the top three items that you know you need to prioritize and direct your energy toward fulfilling these items. And then, resolve not to be so hard on yourself if the rest of the items on your to-do list do not get done. Supermoms can do a lot, but we can’t do EVERYTHING, every day.
5. Take breaks (and spend quality time with your kids!). While it may be tempting to fill your days with online meetings and tasks to fulfill, remember the reason why you opted to work from home in the first place. While working from home does provide you with the flexibility you need to be available, that does not necessarily mean that you are present. Thus, set aside specific hours in the day to just be with your kids. It will be good not just for your heart, but also for your health, and for your productivity in the long run.
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