You would think that being able to work at home as a mother would be a win-win situation. You have the freedom to choose when you work while also being at home where and when your kids need you the most. On the contrary, however, working at home comes with its challenges. Try as you may to focus on getting your business off the ground, finding new clients, and providing quality customer service, you get so wrapped up in your responsibilities as a mother that your business can fall by the wayside. How do you improve your productivity?
In the home, there are so many distractions. If you have children who stay at home with you, then you’re worried about everything from making sure they eat to keeping them entertained. Even if you have school-aged children, you try to become a more involved parent and get wrapped up in the PTO, school activities, and your kid’s events. Not to mention the house itself. There’s so much that needs to be done. From doing the laundry and prepping meals to decluttering the basement and reorganizing the kid’s room, you want so badly to get it all done.
Essentially, the work-life balance is way off-scale. You realize that if you don’t do something to become more productive at your business, working from home isn’t going to be ideal. Though there are likely plenty of factors that keep you distracted from your business and cause you to waste time, here are two very important elements to consider for improved productivity as a work from home mom:
Set Work Hours (And Stick to Them)
Though flexibility is one of the perks of being a work at home, mom, too much freedom and flexibility can reduce your productivity. So, it is ideal to have set hours where your focus is solely on work. Sure, there may be times when you have to step out for a doctor’s appointment or function at the kid’s school, but the idea is to choose a time of day where you can (for the most part) free yourself from personal responsibilities and distractions and focus on running your business.
When you set work hours, review your personal schedule to see where you can reasonably fit things in. For example, if you set working hours from 9 to 5, but you have to pick the kids up from school and give them an afterschool snack at 2, then chances are you’re not going to work those hours. You may then need to work from 9 to 1:30, then pick up working again in the evening after dinner is prepared, and homework is done, for instance, 7:00 – 10:00 pm.
Once you’ve set those hours, it is important that you stick to them as if you were commuting to work every day. During those timeframes, you are to focus on the business and leave all other distractions and responsibilities until you are off the clock. If there is an important personal matter, you must tend to schedule it in advance so that you can plan your work week accordingly.
Most women who work from home are doing so without the support of any staff. That means you’re doing all of the work from clerical to accounting on your own. When you have that many things on your plate, it can become increasingly challenging to keep up and remain productive. So, the next best thing would be to automate processes so that you have less to do.
For instance, let’s say you were a home organizer. You organize the homes of your clients in exchange for a fee. Instead of having to read emails or make calls to clients to determine when they’re available (that also works for you), you could use schedule management software. This appointment scheduling software can be uploaded to your company website or social media pages.
Schedule management software allows your clients to schedule consultations or appointments by reviewing your calendar for availability. You can reach out to them on the go and accept or reject these appointments and even receive payments for your services without having to sit at your desk. This frees up some of your time while still allowing you to be productive. There are plenty of other automation tools from social media and content management to accounting and file management for work at home moms that you can tap into to reduce the legwork of many of your responsibilities and maintain your productivity.
When you’re a work at home mom, time management is one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome. You want to be passionate about your business, but at the same time, being home with the freedom and flexibility to work as you see fit, you can easily become sidetracked with everything going on around you. Try focusing on the two concepts provided above while also determining other underlying causes for your slowed productivity for better work at home experience.