Monday, July 27, 2009

Work at home mom: time management

Laundry, advertising, cleaning, finding new clients, cooking, designing a new project, grocery shopping, meeting with a client, the list goes on and on and being a work at home mom running my own business, having four children do not always mix together well. It takes a lot of time management and being ok with letting certain things go. I use these tips to try to shape out my day.

It's so easy to let a day go by and not get any work related business done. When you're a work at home mom you have to set aside time in your day to work. For me, it's getting up early before everyone else does, during nap times, maybe an hour after dinner and then again after everyone goes to bed. During these times, don't allow any visitors or non related work phone calls. Let your friends and family know, that way they will be less likely to contact you while you're "at work".

If your budget allows, try dropping the kids off at the sitter a few days a week and only do work related business for that time. It would be easy to stop at the grocery store on the way home, but try to avoid that. It just means more time to get work done. Save the weekends to do grocery shopping or to get laundry done.

Learn to say no. Reality is, people will be far more understanding than you think and realize you have a business to run when you turn them down in order to get work done.

Make a to do list. I usually do this the night before. That way I can wake up in the morning and get right to work while my mind is fresh. However, keep this list short that way you feel like you've accomplished something that day when you get all of your tasks done. If you need to, make a day list of things to do and another list for the entire week. Put the most important tasks at the top and cross them off as you go.

Don't multi task but do learn that you can't do everything all the time. If you have a lot of small tasks, get one done and move onto the next. However, if your tasks are time consuming see how many hours that day you have to work and break up that time accordingly to your list. Once you've spent about an hour or so on one task, move onto the next. That way you don't spend your entire day working on one thing and you feel like you've gotten more done.

If you're working on something and another idea pops in your head, write it down instead of investing time to do it. If I am researching on the web and I come across a website that looks interesting but irrelevant to what I am working on, I'll jot it down and go back to it later that day or write it on my to do list for the next day.

Sometimes laundry will pile up or your house won't be as clean and organized as you would like it to be, but know that you have to compromise somethings in order to be lucky enough to work at home. Be ok with letting things go for awhile and just know that you can get to them later. Don't drive yourself crazy thinking you can get everything done. There's just not enough hours in the day. And just remember... if mom's not happy, ain't nobody happy!

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