Top 5 Habits for a Work at Home Mama
Or Work-at-home lady or Work-at-home guy or . . . really anyone who works at home
I thought I had my big girl pants on when I finally quit my corporate job at a law firm and went to work for myself. I told myself, I’ll be the boss. I make my hours. I get to go golfing during the week in the middle of the day. I can wake up when I feel like it and take 2-hour lunches. I was excited.
and then. . . Reality hit.
I found myself behind on my own deadlines. There was no income coming in since I didn’t book the clients I had set out to do. And worst of all, my husband was telling me that if I didn't get my sh*t together soon, I’d have to go back to a corporate job. Which I dreaded. (And for the record, he's a great guy and the conversation didn’t start with “get your sh*t together”, it was more like, “Honey so…we need to talk.”)
So what was a girl to do?
I was proud to say I owned my own business but ashamed to say that my business was failing. I turned to Pinterest to see what other mamas were doing to sustain their businesses. And I came across a list of things to do when you work from home.
I started doing these few little tricks and then I made some tweaks to fit me. Not everyone’s list will resonate with you and I don’t expect all of these tips will be the best for you. They’re here to give you some inspiration and then make it your own. Take some out and add a few. One of my friends said she actually takes a short walk after she gets ready and walks in the door like she is leaving and going to work. I tried it and it just wasn’t my thing. So make it your own.
I also recommend you print your habits out and post it where you can see it every day. It helps remind yourself of doing these few things and to keep them going.
5 habits of a work at home mom.
- Take a shower + make your bed. This is probably most important and not one to really skip. I’m a mom, so I’m gonna tell you from a mom standpoint that I have to remind my boys every day, “take a shower and make your bed.” I hope that this will ingrain them in the daily things they need to do to succeed. It will also wake you up and get your body moving. I was guilty of just rolling out of bed, zombie walking to the coffee machine in my kitchen and sleep strolling into my office to turn my computer on and start work. I found that all I did was browse Facebook and Instagram for an hour and read a few emails. When I finally started taking a shower and making my bed, it was a process of waking my body and mind up. I would have a glass of water first before anything and then coffee maybe an hour later. But I would attack my inbox before opening up any browsers and then write my to do list and tackle the most important items first.
- Set your hours and post them for your family (or roommate) to see. Why? Because without boundaries on your work hours, they’ll feel the need to step into your office space and ask what’s for lunch or what are you doing. This can still happen on the daily with me. I’ve setup a sign with mom’s office hours and I verbally ask them not to interrupt me. This helps me focus on my task without those distractions and get things down faster. AND this helps train your family to think twice before walking into my office to interrupt me with things they can take care of themselves.
- Time block your work. I always have been a proponent of time blocking. I tend to batch things so I’m not constantly pulled from one thing to another. On Mondays, I try to reserve to only working on administrative items; i.e. bookkeeping, emails, delegation of duties. I also work on client’s to-do lists for the next two weeks. That way, I’m not scrambling to get things done on Mondays. The rest of the week, I work on client projects and promoting my business (to gain more clients). I’ll usually take 1-2 days every month to write blog posts, social media captions and content for any PDFs or course creation. This way, I can get uninterrupted writing time. I need to be able to just write without thinking about taking photos or client work to bust out at least a draft on what needs to be done the following month.
- Limit your out of home meetings to 1 - 2 times per week. I was notorious for meeting people for coffee and lunch outside of my home. It started to get hard on the time when I needed to get work done and it was hard on my wallet. I always felt the need to market and when a potential client asked for a meeting, I felt like I needed to meet with them right away or I'd be missing out. When I started to limit my in person meetings to once per week, I found I had more time to get other things in my business done and my checkbook thanked me too. (and lets' be real, my husband was like, "thank god!!") I didn’t feel the need to rush into a meeting with any potential clients anymore and I still was able to gain clients. I also think by doing this they respected my time and I respected theirs.
- Take a break every 50 mins. Stretch, meditate or read a book for 10 mins. This will help you twofold; you will feel more refreshed to push to get work done within the 50 mins and you give your brain and body a break. And tbh, you can actually get that book read that you bought 3 months ago. There’s also a study (here) that by doing this, you’ll actually work more efficiently and effectively without getting tired throughout the day.
Give a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below. If you have some other suggestions on honing down working at home, please feel free to share as well in the comments below.