As mothers, we’re constantly bombarded with the concept of finding balance. It seems to be a magical space where we’ve figured out the perfect ratio for all of our priorities so that everything is always taken care of and we feel good about the time we spend with our families, on our careers, and more.
But the truth is that balance is nearly impossible to find. Especially if you’re a mother who is working at home. We all only have 24 hours in each day and we want so badly to spend as much time as possible on everything. It never feels like enough.
There are a lot of tips out there for getting more done, being more organised, and being a great mum. As a work at home mum to three children and a fourth on the way, I spend a lot of my time switching between being a mum and being a businesswoman. Between dropping the kids off at school, working in between, preparing meals, and then going back to pick them up, it can be a lot of running around on top of everything else that needs to be taken care of. Take a look at some of the tips below on how to juggle working from home and being a mum.
Learn to prioritise
There is a lot of advice out there that claims to help you be more productive. The goal is always to help you do more. But the reality is, doing more means that you’re probably not doing much well. Learning to prioritise can be hard because it sometimes means cutting out or cutting back on responsibilities or parts of your life that feel important.
You need to look at the important parts of your life and measure everything up to those. If your priorities are family, your business, and staying healthy then you need to compare these to anything else you’re committing your time to. Any time you decide to commit to something else is time that is taken away from your true priorities.
Try block scheduling
Block scheduling or time blocking can really boost your productivity and make your schedule a lot easier to work with. The easiest way to come up with your own block schedule is to take a look at your average week and add in the appointments or events that happen at the same time each week. Once you have those down then you can fill in the blocks in between with tasks or types of tasks. Maybe you can dedicate the first three hours at home after dropping the kids off at school to work. The way you set up your blocks is entirely up to you and you can always change them as needed. They’re meant to add some predictability to your day so that you know that everything is getting done because it’s on the schedule.
Have a designated work area
While it’s true that not everyone that works from home has a home office, you can still create a great working environment for yourself. Having an official, designated work area will help you to be more productive and, in a way, train you to focus on work. Even if this means cleaning off the kitchen table for work time so that there are no distracting papers or kid’s crafts sitting around, this is still a major improvement that can really increase how organized and productive you are during your workday.
Ask for help
It’s hard to ask for help, but it’s also ok to ask for help! Ask for help with whatever it is you are comfortable asking for help with. It may be helpful to find other parents to switch playdates with so you can get a little extra work done, or even hire someone to come over and play with the kids a few hours each week so you can get more done. If you’d rather not feel like you’re outsourcing your parenting, think of time-consuming tasks that you can remove from your list of things to do like grocery shopping, laundry, or cooking. There are often services that can really help to alleviate these tasks so you can focus on what’s most important.
Timers are a wonderful way to get you to be more productive! When you have a looming deadline it’s a lot easier to focus and not get distracted on little things like your phone alerting you that a text came in or a question you wanted to ask someone. Doing things like setting a timer for 5 minutes to speed clean your kitchen can make a huge difference.
Timers can help with work as well. There’s a popular time management technique called the Pomodoro technique which features setting a timer and working for either 25 or 50 minutes straight and then taking a 5 or 10 minute break before doing another long stretch of work. It’s said to increase productivity and can help you divide up your work into manageable chunks.
Prepare special acitivities
When you need to get work done, but the children are constantly interrupting it can be hard to concentrate and be productive. It’s helpful to have special activities that you save especially for times when you need the kids to be occupied so that you can have even an hour to work. By saving certain toys or activities for when you’re working, rather than giving them access to them at all times, they will become special and hold their attention for longer. If you allow your children to watch TV or play games on a tablet, this can be the perfect time for that.
Meal plan and prep
As parents it seems like we’re spending half of our day preparing meals, feeding the children, and cleaning up after meals. If you aren’t already meal planning and prepping, you may not realize how much time and energy it can save you during your days. By knowing exactly what is on the menu each day and also taking a few extra hours one or twice a week to do as much of the prep work as possible, you’ll be able to save yourself time on a daily basis when it comes to preparing meals for your family.
Get up earlier
No one wants to think about getting up earlier than they already are, but oftentimes this is the best way to get more time in your day. Even if you wake up even one hour earlier than you normally do, that’s one full hour that you will get to yourself to get things done or even just start your day on the right foot so that you can have a productive and well balanced day.
No matter what you do to try and balance your life and try to be more organised, while being a good mum, remember that all you can do is your best. By continually attempting to find better ways to manage your time and get everything done while still caring for your family, you’re already doing your best. However, there is always room for improvement if you’re up for it so hopefully, the above tips gave you some ideas for figuring out how to manage it all as a work at home mum.