Many moms are attracted to working at home while raising their children but the juggle and struggle of managing both effectively can be challenging!
It takes planning and working with a purpose to find a formula that meets the needs of home and work. If too much time is spent on the business, the family suffers! If too little time is spent on the business, the results are meager.
At different stages what your family needs from you will change. What is on the forefront of responsibilities with toddler’s changes when the children start school. Summer schedules vary from a winter routine.
Here are a dozen timeless tips to help you work at home effectively:
1. Telephone Toy Box.
Did you ever notice as soon as you get on the phone your little ones want your attention? Try making a special “Telephone Toy Box.” Create a big picture of a telephone, laminate it and glue it to the outside of the box. Fill the box with several reserved toys only to be used when mom is on the phone. Store it out of reach.
When you begin your calls take the box down. When your calls are over return the toy box to its out-of-reach space. Soon your little ones will be asking when is it Telephone Toy Box time?
2. Use Wireless Head Set
The wireless head set is a great tool for multi-tasking! With a cordless head set on you can be on the phone and cooking dinner, folding clothes or doing other busy work. This can be a real time saver.
3. Take a day off weekly.
Keep one day sacred and do not work. This helps you to refresh and energize yourself and prevents the counterproductive feeling that you are always at work. This is important if you are building a business to last over the years. Home-based work can feel closed in. Set boundaries now that will help you in the future.
4. Play office.
Get your children a desk near yours and let them play office. Working with your toddlers can be a perfect playground for promoting hours of imaginative play. When my daughters were younger, we had a play office set up right near mine.
Once I heard my little girl talking to her imaginary sales person and asking, “Did you get a re-koot?” (She could not yet say recruit!) We would often hang up the phones and talk about real and pretend business issues. Today my little girl is age 20 and succeeding in a straight commission sales job while going to school. She has had many years of training and practice due to my working at home.
5. Cook ahead.
When you have an upcoming busy week, cook ahead on the weekends. It is amazing how much better your family will adjust to a fuller schedule if they are still well fed.
6. Segregate your office from your family life.
Set up an office in a room with a door. This way you can shut off the work from your family life.
7. Use one calendar for work and family.
Mark important activities of your children in a different color. Let your family know you will work hard not to miss their special events. As the children get older, have them mark on your calendar any activities that they want you to attend.
8. Have a team approach to the family chores.
Who can help with what? Even toddlers can sort laundry by colors. Sorting by color is a good preschool practice activity.
9. Take a mental health day when needed.
Give yourself an unplanned day off when tasks are piling up. Allow your older children to take a mental health day off once or twice per year when needed, too. By encouraging them to listen to their minds and bodies and putting them in charge, they will be empowered. Used judiciously this can be a source of maintaining one’s well-being.
10. Feel the power of the shower.
Many important Ah-hahs! have been discovered in the quiet of the shower. On those days when you have too much to do or need to restore your focus or get away from the world take refuge in the shower.
11. Accept the “mess of success!”
Lower your standards for a perfectly kept house. As your business grows you will have more mess that goes along with home-based business success! Become comfortable with a reasonable amount of organized clutter. You will be able to tolerate that your house may not be as spotless as if you did not have a home-based business.
12. Have a clutter-buster day!
STOP! Gain control when you are having a paper attack! When the clutter becomes a deterrent from managing home and work, set time aside and rein in the clutter.
One of the greatest things about having your own business is that it is ALL up to YOU. One of the hardest things about having your own home-based business is that it is ALL up to YOU!
Tammy Harrison is a successful home-based working mom for over five years. She holds a degree from Mizzou in Consumer Economics. Her business focuses on Marketing and Creativity for Small Businesses as well as numerous other small businesses.