Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
Moms who work at home often feel they have the best of both worlds. They can arrange their work schedules around their children’s needs, but they also have the outlet of work to keep them connected to the adult world, using their talents, and keeping their minds sharp.
Time management for work at home moms is not always easy and requires a bit of perseverance. Moms have to figure out how to navigate interruptions, meet deadlines, and balance work and home life when their work is in their home.
Compartmentalize The dishes in the sink may be beckoning you away from a work project, but the dishes will have to come later. Create distinct separations between work and home responsibilities. This will help prevent getting caught up in one task and neglecting another. Attempting to multi-task means giving less than 100% to either task.
Schedule A schedule becomes essential in managing work and home responsibilities. Create a routine filling in all of your absolutes first. For example, if you drive your children to school in the morning, write that in – there is no flexibility there. Leave a cushion of time around meetings and carpools to allow for unexpected delays. Note how the rhythm of your week unfolds and where your chunks of “free” or fill-in time lies.
Anticipate It won’t always run smoothly. Prepare for the moments that don’t go as they are supposed to. Creating a back-up plan for the “what ifs” will make them more manageable when they arise. Know who you can call upon when you need to.
Separate It is important to keep work separate from home life. We all like to take advantage of all the little moments of time – like when we’re in the car with our children. While you may place a work call, on the way to picking up your children – refrain from work when you have them in the car with you. If you need to continue to do some work while your children are at home – set up a routine with them so that they know what to do while you are working.
Outsource and Enlist Even when both parents are working, it is typically mom who still takes on most of the home and children responsibilities. Assess what your time is worth and outsource things like housecleaning, laundry, or errands. Prioritize family and work and find ways to keep those two things sitting high on your priority list. Enlist all family members in the running of the household. Let your children learn from early on that they have responsibilities.
Take Breaks When you work at home, every moment can become a work moment. Modern technology makes us available to our clients 24-hours a day, seven days a week. It is important that you create a weekend or a day off for yourself. This is important – not only for you – but for your family as well.
Set Daily Goals Spend some time each morning (or the night before) creating a list of your day’s tasks – both work related and home related. Use your schedule (mentioned above) to block out time for each of your tasks. When engaged in the task, set a timer to keep you on track. When it’s time to move on to the next item – move on!
Keep a Notebook Handy How often are you in the middle of something when another “to do” pops into your head? Rather than stopping or becoming distracted with something else – keep a notebook handy and jot a quick note to yourself. It’s an easy way to capture your thought without taking you away from what you are doing.
Working at home brings a sense of freedom and flexibility to moms. Organization is the key to creating balance between your work-at-home job and your home.