With a great deal of excitement, I introduce to you, Amy, a successful, home-based freelance writer, who quit her full-time job and started her own business to look after her two kids. She writes for a blog "Work At Home Adventures", teaching other moms about how to stay productive by starting their own businesses or find other work from home jobs. Over to you, Amy! I've worked from home for almost two years now. For most of that time, my youngest child was home with me. He's now in school, but I remember how difficult it was to concentrate on work when a little one wants your undivided attention. After all, it's tough for youngsters to understand that Mom needs to work. Now, I teach what I've learned through my journey thus far to other moms who are just starting out. Productivity is key when it comes to working by yourself from your home office, but these tips helped me stay on track:
Do whatever you can the night before to make your next day go a little smoother. Prepare lunch and snacks and stick them in the fridge. Print out some fun worksheets and coloring pages for your kiddo. Set up a few open-ended crafts that let your child explore his creativity. The more you do the night before, the more prepared you'll be for the next day. Have plenty of activities stocked up for your kiddo and explain what's available in the morning so she has a few options and is less likely to interrupt you.
One of my best productivity tips that I share with all new work from home moms is to get up one hour earlier than you usually do. I know, it's not an easy task for night owls or people who like to sleep in until their kids awake. But, I'm telling you – you'll notice a huge difference in how much you can get done when you squeeze in an extra hour before your little ones wake up. I set my alarm for 4 am every work day and get up at that time, without fail. I can get at least one to two solid hours of work in before my kids get out of bed and need help getting clothes or packing their lunches. This trick definitely takes some self-motivation, but it'll soon become a ritual. You might even enjoy it once you start seeing its benefits!
Even if you're working, young children will need you at some point through the day. You're a mom first and employee or entrepreneur second. So, give your kiddos the time they need to still feel loved and provided for, but do it in a way that still lets you stay productive and not lose focus on your work. When my son was home with me, I'd take a 15 to 20-minute break in the morning, a 30-minute to an hour lunch break, and another 15 to 20-minute break in the afternoon. During my lunch break, I'd usually bring my son to the park with a picnic lunch so that we both could get some fresh air (which is also great for productivity, by the way) and have some bonding time. During the shorter breaks, I'd read to him, play a game with him on the iPad, or draw some pictures – fun, quick activities to remind him that I'm there for him too. Your schedule may not allow you the same type of breaks depending on your job, but you get what I mean. Do what you can to make some time for your little one – you both need it!