Effective time management was a struggle right into taking a leap at an online career. I used to blame so many things. But soon enough, I’ve had it and carefully looked into what was wrong. Home for like almost 24-hours-a-day and all days of the week, how come I never got things done well?
Cutting the dreadful story, now I’m better at this. Like six or seven years ago, I’ve finally gotten myself into the habit of watching time. More importantly, I even found a career – an online career – after practice of time management was started.
The one great thing about time management for work at home moms is you give quality, positive attention to all aspects of your person. There’s so many things to attend to from the first hour of the day until that few seconds you’re finally asleep. Apart from the tasks in the kitchen, tending to the kids’ needs and making all corners of the house clean and appealing, there’s your money-making pursuit and errands as well.
With all these, the need to have specific time management approach and appropriate techniques must be learned. This post focuses solely on how stay-at-home mothers. But this one, it’s tailor-made for you and many other moms who find great joy and personal satisfaction with a career or business at home.
So what are these time management for work at home moms?
1. Clear goals, clearer targets. “To have more time for the kids and hubby, and my interests.” Most mothers who switched to full-time home-based careers would have this reason. Then they discover the only difference is they’re working inside the home. Yes, I guilty of the same. I had to knock myself to senses. Why did I do this again? Yes, to have quality time with the kids, be less stressed, pursue writing and still put some cash into the family budget.
So now, there’s that aspiration. It’s followed by definite targets like being present in my kids’ academics, interests and social growth; more so, there’s the objective to earn this or that much with my online career, keep romancing my husband and organizing a weekly bonding time for the whole family.
2. Schedule. It’s not napping on a hammock everyday, mind you. Particularly because there’s work and there’s being a mom. Plus there’s the house. Then there’s other routines outside of the house. For such merry mix of so-many-things-to-do, my best weapon is scheduling. All the activities for the day would be on a clean list, stuck to the fridge door. The important events for the week and the month highlighted on the calendar on the breakfast counter. The “mom tasks” are in blue ink, my “career” stuffs are in red. I’ve designed this for better retention, not just for me but the hubby and the kids as well.
For the weekdays, it’s ideal to work on two separate occasions. Like a few hours in the morning, and more hours in the afternoon or evening. Whichever works best for you is fine. It’s important to create a suitable schedule that’s tuned to your most productive hours and where the family and home chores would be well tended to.
3. Plan and prioritize. The best time management for work at home moms calls for sharpened skills on planning and prioritizing. Not all days are the same. It goes the same for each coming week. And so you might need to make a few changes here and there with yesterday’s schedule or that from a couple of weeks ago.
Always determine the workload and its required hours for your home-based career. Put this against the mom tasks to have your hours well distributed between the two. If you must attend to the carpet cleaners on the hours you’re usually at work, fill the next vacant time for the work. Or if there’s a soccer game you need to watch and thus miss work, adjust your following day’s sked. With a wisely planned schedule, planning and prioritizing will come really easy. This order is followed with knowing what to prepare for the planned and slated activities.
4. Get helpful tools. Don’t get lost in inspired, frenzied work and leave dinner unprepared. Apart from your weekly skeds or listed tasks for the day, there are tools like timers, alarms and online organizers that would help you remember. Make use of these tools to ensure you don’t overwork or leave out the laundry. I have a timer on my work station to signal that three hours is up for the morning, and another in the kitchen. For errands, I have the mobile phone in alarm mode, one for each task. These tools, they always help. Always!
5. Delegate and discipline. My designed time management for work at home moms wouldn’t work so well if it weren’t for the three kids and my husband. They pitch in their hands to the routines at home, particularly with their bedroom organization. That’s like 45 minutes of saved time for me everyday! Plus, the two older kids have skeds doing the dishes and taking the trash out.
The kids have learned the value of doing things on time, aware of the repercussions as well. So they make sure all assigned “duties” at home are done so they could get on to school work, some TV and online games. With instilled discipline, the tasks delegated aren’t viewed as burdens. Equally important, they take off loads off my back and more time on my lap.
6. Don’t ever, ever procrastinate. The temptations to set things aside are always around. There’s always a good show on daytime TV, there’s a lot to talk about during lunch with friends and we could always opt for pre-cooked dinners. And so the room to procrastinate is always opened. But knowing one scheduled task procrastinated means three more tasks that needs to be done in a very short time, I avoid doing so.
Following your schedule gets things done. It leaves a good space to produce really good articles; it gives me quality time to prepare healthy dinners. And yes, it means I get that “naps in the hammock” a few times each week.
7. Set clear work and mom boundaries. The target to effectively implement time management for work at home moms meant separating my working area from the home ambience. Doing so meant having the visual and atmosphere suitable for what’s to do. There’s nothing in my work space that speaks of the kitchen or grocery list, the same way there’s no drafts and outlines of my work anywhere in the living room, dining table or in our master’s bedroom. Making sure that the two roles are clearly delineated helps to focus on the tasks at hand.
The kids know this, too. So they’re careful about not disturbing me inside that “dungeon” as they call it; and they make sure they don’t put in any distracting object in there.
8. Prepare ahead. ALWAYS. One awesome thing about having time in your hands is that you get to develop being a “girl scout” as well. You always look ahead, get things prepared for later. With this, there’s very little chances of freaking out over deadlines at work or lateness for the kids’ orthodontist appointment. Early on, cramming to get things done and ready was the mode of my two roles. But soon when I’ve got the hang of it, there’s always an extra half-hour or more to get the later tasks done.
This “girl scout” thing honed me to rise up early and work ahead of time. Or have a few quite minutes to myself, visualizing the day ahead. It preps me up. Also, before I head to bed at night, I spend some more minutes making sure everything is in order for the next day. From the kids’ breakfast and packed lunches, the settling stuff in the kitchen, even organizing the hampers for tomorrow’s laundry.
9. Stay fit – and fun! Soon you’d be falling into the strict routines and observation of time management for work at home moms. Is this picture a put-off? Well, it could be, particularly for women who give up at the idea of “military-like” regimen. Could a career mom like you even find time to stay healthy and be free from stress with this difficult picture? The answer is YES. Absolutely yes.
Just imagine: You work as planned and fully function as a mom. Schedules are followed. Everyone’s doing their part in helping out. You get things done in assigned time. So most likely, you could insert half an hour of more each day to exercise or do yoga. With evenings relaxed, there’s time to jog around the neighborhood or go for long nature walks on weekends. Most importantly, there’s time for your scrapbooking or soap making interests. Or whatever hobby you have in mind, it could be pursued.
With efficiently practiced time management techniques, you’re sure to address physical, emotional and spiritual uplift. Besides, a clear-cut sked would offer a few hours each week to do something really fun or crazy. Like movie night for the whole family, a weekend camping adventure or a romantic dinner with your hubby. So when the question of “why am I doing this again?” hits you, just think… For my well-being and to have fun being me. It always works as a reminder. It helps you appreciate your designed time management plan.
10. Waste not on “hungry blobs”. There are things I eliminated from life since I’ve practiced this time management for work at home moms. They’re the stuff people consider part of their daily routines, but are actually upsetting the whole implementation of time management. I simply call them the “hungry blobs”. Even as they eat so much time, they’re not helpful to my growth. And yes, they’re not in any strong way related to my goals and actions.
One hungry blob would be the social network sites. Another would be my two email accounts. Last would be the TV. There’s always something in those blobs that spike up my interest, and one thing leads to so many more. When it’s done, realization hits – bang. Two or three hours wasted. And what did I achieve? Nothing useful to my career or role as a mom.
To make sure the hungry blob doesn’t eat me, I check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hubpages four times a week. No more than 30 minutes for all those sites. As for emails, segregate them wisely. Better yet, get two accounts for personal and career-related stuff. Check the latter daily, leave the other to three or four times a week. As for the TV, just note down shows you want to watch and see the replays sked. And puhleez, who needs the news every single day? That’s one stressful, hungry blob!
Well. I’m done here. These time management for work at home moms worked great for me. But then again, you could have it modified according to what home-based career you have. Remember, I am an online writer, blogger and editor, so while most stuff I said here would work for anyone with a home-based career, they wouldn’t work for other careers. So get back to tips # 2 and # 3 when designing your own ways of managing time. It would work best that way.
I hope I’ve helped you out in a way. If you have questions, do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk it over. Uh, virtual talk it over.