When I first started working from home, I was pregnant with my first son. I didn’t have any kids to distract me and I had a designated office all to myself. It was wonderful! It was not hard to figure out how to balance work and family life.
These days, I have three kids, no office and a husband who works insane hours. Not only am I responsible for making sure the kids survive and the house is in acceptable condition, I also need to actually do some work from time to time.
I often get asked how I manage to do both, so I thought I would share some of the strategies I use. Putting these in place allows me to keep up with my job and housework while also making time for my family.
The list of things that need to get done is truly never ending. It is easy to get so bogged down in the little things that nothing of importance actually gets done. This is where prioritizing your time comes into play.
Create a list of the things that absolutely must get done everyday. Your list probably include things like making dinner, getting the kids to school and laundry. Once it is complete, remove anything that is really non-essential and see what can be delegated to others. Maybe your kids are old enough to help cook dinner, or they can do their own laundry. Doing this will free up some time you didn’t have before.
Create A Plan
I suggest you check out my post about Creating A Life Management Plan for a more in-depth approach to this. But basically, I suggest taking some time one day per week (I do it on Sunday) to plan out your whole week. Layout your entire schedule and meal plan for the week. I use both a planner and a wall calendar for this. You should also create a to-do list with your top three “Must Do” tasks for the next day. This allows you to hit the ground running first thing.
I always feel so much better when I have things ready for the next day before I go to bed. Get as much ready as possible so you can hit the ground running first thing.
Do not multitask. The key to productivity is to complete a task in full before moving on to the next thing. The most effective method I have found for doing this is time-blocking. This means that I set aside a predetermined amount of time (usually 30 minutes) to work on only one task. When that time is up, I take a short break and then move onto the next time-block. I strongly suggest using a timer so that you actually know when that time is up.
Nobody can truly do it all. That is why it is important to prioritize the things that are most important and to just say no to the rest. Some ways I have scaled back is by getting rid of cable, reducing the amount of time I spend on social media, and saying no to opportunities that are not in-line with my main priorities. This was one of the hardest things I had to do when learning how to balance work and family life.
Being a work at home mom is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. These are the strategies I have used to ensure I am able to maintain my home and job. Implement these and I am positive it will make a difference for you as well.