How to Maintain Balance as a New Work From Home Mom
Becoming a work from home mom is an often talked about aspiration that some think will solve all of their problems. It conjures up images of slow mornings, impromptu lunch with friends, working in pajamas and the ultimate flexible schedule. While those experiences may be commonplace for some, new work from home moms can struggle until they find their groove.
I’ve been a full-time work from home mom now for six months and, admittedly, I struggled to figure everything out for awhile. Especially since the bulk of my income comes from writing, getting derailed or not having a clear-cut plan for my day has a direct impact on my income. On the other hand, the whole reason so many want to work from home is the flexibility and greater work/life balance that the lifestyle can offer. Today, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you in the hopes I can make your transition easier.
Turn off the TV. It’s way too easy to get sucked into a show and realize an hour later that you haven’t gotten anything done that whole time. You do not need the television on for background noise. If you want something on in the background, try looking up ‘study music’ on Spotify and put that on at low volume. I’ve found that music without words, or with words I don’t know, won’t interfere with my thought process.
Before you start any kind of work for the day, make a schedule for your time. Especially if you’re a writer or blogger, blocking out your day can have a huge impact on productivity. Some use a daily planner, outlook calendar or some other tool but I prefer a simple notebook. Write at the top what your goal is for the day and keep it in the front of your mind when planning. If you find yourself jumping around or procrastinating anyway, check out my Procrastinator’s Secret to Productivity That Never Fails.
Experiment a bit. For me, I can work all day in my pajamas and still be as productive as if I were in formal business attire. It makes no difference. For others I’ve spoken with, they need to get dressed ahead of working to tell their brain it’s not leisure time. Try both ways and notice if you see a difference.
Turn your phone off. I cannot tell you how many of your friends and family members are going to think that, since you’re working from home now, they can just call for a chat in the middle of the day. Unless you need to be accessible to clients or a boss while working, don’t pick up your phone and allow yourself to get sidetracked. If you can’t turn it off, put it on ‘do not disturb’ mode so you won’t get notifications.
Unless you’re a blogger or social media manager, stay off of social media. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc… are all a bigger time vortex than television. Any time I jump on Pinterest quick, it’s like going down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland; three hours later, I come up for air with a new burning desire to redecorate my house, get a six-pack and throw a dinner party. While all that is lovely, it doesn’t get me closer to my goals for the day.
Household chores should be kept out of work hours. Listen, if you need to throw a load of laundry in, go for it, but don’t vacuum the entire house for an hour. Compartmentalize.
Get out of the house once in a while. If you’re a freelance writer, designer, VA, etc… and can work from anywhere, take advantage of that. Head off to somewhere with free wi-fi like Panera, the library or Starbucks. Sometimes a change in scenery is invigorating.
Have a clearly defined start and end of the workday. For me, the heavy lifting ends when my kiddo gets home from school at 4:30. I want to be present when she gets home, otherwise what’s the point? I don’t want her sitting in front of the tv on her iPod just because I don’t know when to call it quits. If I have anything leftover writing or blogging to finish, I’ll often jump on the computer while she’s doing her nightly reading or working on her homework. If you have younger kids, they might just need all of your attention from the time they get home from school until bed. In that case, try starting earlier if you find that you’re struggling to end your work when they get home.
Be careful working at night. What I mean by that is you need to resist the urge to get more work done after dinner or after younger kids go to bed. Once in a while is fine, but you need to have that time to do other things besides work. Spend that time connecting with your hubby, pets, friends or older kids. Spend that time on your self-care or relaxing. You can’t work all day every day without burning out.
Guard your weekends. Weekends are not for work, especially when you’re a new work from home mom. Weekends, much like evenings, are for connecting and recharging. No working woman, find something better to do.
We work to have a life, not the other way around. Working from home doesn’t change that but you have to be more conscious of it creeping into your personal time. For a new work from home moms especially, maintaing balance is the key to maintaining sanity.
If you’re a work from home mom, how do you maintain balance?
This post is part of a blog hop from Blogs & Business. Check out some of the other awesome blogs participating:
The Art of Better | Being Mrs. Beer | Women Winning Online | Mommy My Way | xo -Ava | Kori at Home | Ma Bell Vie | Stellar Mama | The Jessie K | Make & Do Crew | This Kenyan Traveler | Blue Eyed Babies | HebrewDawn | Leah With Love | Fighting for Fitness | Tot Tot Goose | Nurture Her Nature | Blogihealth | A Cotton Kandi Life | The Bipolar Mama | Simple Acres | Dawn P Darnell | A Kreative Whim | Scarlett Ballantyne | My Unfiltered Chaos | The Big Red Patch House | The Mother Blog | Diary of a New Mommy