When you are a mom who works from home, you are often juggling kids, housework and your actual work. It’s multiple jobs rolled into one. Sometimes, it feels like it’s impossible to get anything done. In this post, I’m going to share some tried and true productivity tips to help you finish all your work while taking care of your kids.
I’m a single mom who’s working to start her own business at home. I have a toddler who has sensory issues. He needs my attention 24/7. I don’t have family support nearby. I rely on these strategies to actually get any work done at all.
Recently, I’ve added 3 projects onto my work plate in an effort to monetize my freelance writing business. Those 3 projects not only took away time to work on my blog. They also took time away from rest, eating and playing with my son.
The thing is that I need to finish those projects before I can make time for the rest of my life. During this time of “rumble”, I am leaning into my tried and true productivity tips. I’m relying on them to meet my goals.
Establish a Solid Work schedule
Often times, working from home can feel like dragging your feet. You can easily get into a rhythm of “I’ll do it later” mentality. I’ve been guilty of several occasions when I’m waiting for my son to go to bed to write a blog post. That blog post never actually got written.
Now I try to stick to this work schedule for myself:
- Morning Work Time – 5am – 7am
- Afternoon Work Time: 13:00pm -> 15:00pm
- Night Work Time: 20:00 -> 21:00pm
During those times, my son is either sleeping or he’s occupied with an activity. It’s not easy, especially during non-nap hours of 13:00pm -> 15:00pm. I try to do as much as I can. Then, I make up the work time later during the night.
Prioritize your lists dynamically
Motherhood is unpredictable. At any time, there’s a chance a fire needs to be put out. The todos on my todo list are only real if I do them. If my todo list is a mile long, I just won’t finish the list. I try to keep mine short. I group them by three categories: Home, Work, Clean. I put them on post-it notes. They are little projects: publish a blog post, throw out the garbage etc..
At any given moment, I reprioritize the list so that I only concentrate on the items that are the most important.
I also let the day flow dynamically. If I do more tasks in the “Work” category today, then I will consciously work on more tasks for the “Home” category tommorrow.
Focus on one task at a time
When I’m pulled in all directions, it’s easy to lose focus and not accomplish anything. What I try to do is to always focus on the present moment. This takes a lot of practice.
- If I’m playing with my son, I will laugh with him, talk to his dolls and cook with him.
- If I’m writing a blog post and my son won’t nap, then he will stack blocks on my desk while I focus on making a blog post outline instead. Then, I will put him on the iPad for 20 minutes to concentrate on writing that blog post.
It’s always a back and forth between spending time with my son and getting things done. It helps that my son “helps” me when I do housework. He loves to “wipe” his toys and return them to the correct buckets. It also helps that there are a number of kid’s shows that he loves to watch. I reach for those shows when I desperately need a minute.
Work mindfulness into your day
When I work from home, the biggest challenge is to stay “sharp” mentally. Without the
There are several ways to refuel your soul:
- Laugh, Laugh, Laugh – I often make my son laugh so much that we both just fall on the couch.
- Repetitive tasks – I use the 15 minutes I need to “load the dishwasher” to meditate. I load the dishwasher in silence and I try not to think about anything at all.
- Close your eyes – Sometimes, when my son’s playing. I close my eyes for a few seconds. If you do it often enough, it has a “centering” effect.
Recover from frustrations
I started to work from home when my son was going through the terrible twos. He started early right before he turned two. It was the worst time. I remember getting so frustrated at all his “no reason” tantrums. I remember thinking that I will never actually get to do any work at all. I remember feeling helpless as I held him for the whole day.
The thing is it all eventually passes.
As time went on, my son’s tantrums decreased. By 2.5 years old, he finally learned to play independently. At 3 years old, he’s happy and well adjusted.
We have bad days all the time. But, I’ve learned to just wait it out. Eventually, work will be done.
It’s just that work comes in second to my first job as a mom.
I will just have to live with that.
I often look at other mommy bloggers and marvel at the successes that they are having. Actually, I marvel at the speed at which they work. They can put together a campaign in a day. They can schedule all of their social media in a day. They can put out blog posts every day.
Every mommy blogger goes through a period of time when there’s “dead silence” on their blog as they juggle with their kids at home.
This period of time is when we need to support ourselves emotionally. This time is valuable.
When we are successful later on, we can look back on this time and genuinely appreciate our business.
For now, I just don’t compare myself to other bloggers. I know that I’m slowly working my way through the massive project list that needs to get done. I’m not wasting time. I’m working at my optimal capacity.
That’s enough for now.
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