I‘ve been running my business from home for over four years now so I’ve had plenty of time to figure how to be a work from home mum. It sounds like an ideal solution to be able to work around your family commitments and raising the kids but it’s a lot harder than you first realise but well worth the effort. So here’s how to make working from home work for you.
GET READY FOR THE DAY
Some people who run a business from home say that they get ready as though they are heading out to work, to get themselves in the same mind frame. For me personally, this isn’t the best use of my time. I don’t have time to spend doing a full face of make up & styling my hair. I need to get ready for the day but for me that means a shower to wake me up, throwing on my mum uniform of leggings, jumper & converse and getting Archie ready for nursery.
I like to be comfy for work but that doesn’t mean slobbing about. If I didn’t get ready in the morning and make myself presentable I’d be tempted to sit in front of the TV for the three hours Archie is at nursery rather than at my desk working. You do what works for you.
HAVE A WORK SPACE
Before blogging became my full time job I used to run a cake business. Thankfully as my blog grew my very talented sister was able to take over the day to day running of our cake business. It was so hard not having a defined place to work, trying to bake & decorate cakes in the family kitchen whist trying to cook for the kids etc.
Now that I’m blogging full time I need to have a clear area where I work. At the moment I’m still working in the kitchen but when I set up for the morning I have my own area for working without any distractions. As we have a large bedroom I’m going to be setting up an office area to ensure I have a work space that works for me. We can’t all have a home office but if I’m going to be working from home then I at least need a defined work space just for me.
Again, this is another reason I want an office space at home, to minimise distractions. You have to be really disciplined to work from home. It’s too easy to potter about, putting the washing on, cleaning the bathroom or having a brew and getting carried away watching TV until you realise t’s time to pick the kids up.
It’s great that you have the options to get other things done whilst working from home but make sure that you set yourself time to work. I like to set myself daily hours to work, this way I can focus on what I need to do in the time I have whist Archie is at nursery. Then once the kids are home I can be mum & housewife again.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR FLEXIBILITY
Flexibility is one of the main benefits of being self employed & working from home, but it can also be your downfall too. It’s so important to me that I go to all Archie’s appointments, which I would really struggle with if I was employed.
You need to take advantage of your flexibility to give you a good work life balance, however the time still needs to be made up. Make sure you can catch up on the hours otherwise you could be missing deadlines and losing business.
PLAN YOUR DAY OR WEEK
I try to plan both my week and my day. I mark in my diary all my deadlines and blog post ideas for that week. Then day by day I like to plan what needs to get done on a smaller scale such as emails, social media scheduling etc.
Archie’s Autism means that we have various appointments and therapy sessions so I need to be able to plan ahead. Things don’t always work out exactly as planned, especially being a Special Needs Mama, but if I have my work mapped out then nothing gets missed if I need to reschedule my work hours.
HAVE A TO DO LIST
OMG I cannot live without my lists. I have my to do lists for work and personally. I have so much going on that my brain can be like a sieve, especially if something unexpected crops up.
I create a to do list each day crossing off as I go. If a work offer comes in with a higher priority I can move things around and reschedule things throughout the week. Anything that doesn’t get completed is moved onto the top of tomorrow’s list to give it priority.
KEEP THINGS TIDY & ORGANISED
Being organised is one of the most important aspects of being self employed. You’re responsible for you. Tidy home, tidy mind.
I like to keep my paperwork tidy & organised, especially as I’m currently working from the kitchen table. I have cupboard space allocated for my work items to keep them separate from day to day files and to make sure that the kitchen doesn’t get cluttered up. When I put my laptop away the kitchen is back to being the kitchen.
KNOW WHEN TO CALL IT A DAY
Even though I have flexibility in my day I have also had to learn when to call it a day. Some days you can be so tired that you just aren’t productive anymore. You’re stressed out, the kids have been playing up, the laundry is piled high and you feel like giving up. So give up. Call it a day, get an early night or slob out in front of the TV, whatever you need to do to chill out. Start the next day refreshed and ready to kick ass!
Do you work from home? What works best for you?