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Being a work at home mom is tough. Especially if you have very young children at home. You know, the ones that need every second of your attention every second of the day and start asking for snacks the moment you sit down to get work done. You’re overwhelmed, can’t seem to finish anything, and you can’t figure out how other people manage to raise a family and have a successful side gig. Trying to be the best mom possible and working your tail off at the same time is a delicate balance.
It is very important to me, and I believe it is very important to you as well if you are reading this, to have an identity away from being a mom. For me, that is the whole reason I started this blog. It is the whole reason I am driven to work at this every single day, even if my day has been hectic and crazy and the only thing I really want to do is go to bed and sleep. My desire to be “me” and not just a “mom” overpowers my need for sleep (most times!). I love my children, but I also need my own goals to strive towards and be passionate about. I bet you feel this way too.
Chances are, you have already tried to figure out a schedule that works for you. Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn’t. Hopefully you have already read my post on Time Blocking and found that an effective way to plan your day.
Time blocking is an incredible way to stay focused and get through more work in less time. It helps you zone in on exactly what needs to be done and helps get rid of distractions. You don’t spend your time trying to balance work and your family. Work and your family are separate. You don’t take away from your time spent trying to be a mom boss, and you don’t take away from your kids by trying to fit in random bits of work when they’re wanting your attention.
So, this time blocking method is great for your daily schedule, but where it really shines is when you can use this method to help run your business and your home.
How To Stay Organized As A Goal Getting Mom
The very first thing you should do is make sure that you do in fact know what needs to be done when you sit down to work. You can check out my Productivity Plan to help work through and identify your goals. Let’s face it, you are working with limited time, so you need to be more organized than most entrepreneurs. As parents, we don’t have the luxury of uninterrupted working time. We are on call every second of the day and working within the hours that most people are relaxing. You can’t do it all if you don’t know what you’re doing! Set aside a day to create a strategic plan for what you need to get done. Identify main goals and weekly goals. Plan one month at a time if 12 weeks seems overwhelming, but I am a huge believer in planning quarterly.
Second is making your weekly schedule for getting work done. List out the various types of tasks that you have to complete, and choose how they fit into your calendar. But you’re only going to focus on one topic per day. This is known as batch planning. It helps to have two entirely different schedules – one for your work and one for your home.
Get Themed Obsessed
For your work plan, assign each day a theme. If you’re a blogger, take one day to pound out the writing and editing of posts. Take another day for image creation. Yet another day for curating content for social media. The list goes on according to how many days you are working a week and how many things you are focusing on. My first thought when I discovered this method was that it seemed a little counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t you finish your entire blog post, image and all on the same day? Well, I could spend hours pouring over the tiny details of each post and in the end not getting a whole lot done. If I can focus just on content creation, I get in a groove and when I go to sit down for my images, I have a bunch of posts already almost done! It really speeds up the process.
In my home life, I think what I have struggled the most with is being able to do it all – making sure lunches are packed, laundry is done, the house is clean, everyone is fed and bathed and dressed, and also working my butt off at trying to be a success. The method that has worked the best for me is having a strategic plan for the house. The goal isn’t to have a spotless house. The goal is to make sure that it is orderly enough that it doesn’t take time away from working.
I recently read How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana White. I really, truly feel like this lady spoke to my naturally messy soul in this book! Dana is funny, ladies. She’s a recovering slob who has it all figured out. She speaks about having a “day” for household tasks instead of trying to do a little bit of everything. She suggests tackling all of the laundry on one day because it is more like a project that has a beginning and end, and once it’s done, it’s done. I can truly credit this entire philosophy with changing the way I manage my home, family, and life in general.
Whether or not you pick up Dana’s book, I do highly suggest you come up with some kind of household management schedule. You are less likely to be distracted during your dedicated working hours if you are sitting down in a semi-clean house. Get all those messy, cluttered procrastination strategies out of the way so that when you are read to work, you are 100% game on!
Finally, make sure you are working these plans around your family. Family always comes first, and all of this planning and hustling you are doing is ultimately to benefit your family. If Mom is happy and content in her life, then the entire family benefits. A manageable work/life balance is essential. Too much work and you will burn out too quickly, causing stress and negativity within your family unit. Not enough time spent with your family will cause them to crave time with you even more. My trick is to never try to multi-task my family life. I don’t overlap my work with my time with my kids. I’m a single focus kind of gal, and it seems to be working for me.
On that note, I’m off for a much needed coffee date. What are you doing for your family today?