As a single work at home mom with two insanely rambunctious kids, it’s difficult to wash a load of laundry let alone get any work done on the computer.
I’ve picked up a few things over the years that helps me balance work and family (and “me time”). I have to admit that I don’t always practice what I preach but I do my best and it really does work when you manage to stay focused.
JUST DO IT
How many times have you had a great idea only to let it die because you waited too long to put it into action? Having that great idea isn’t enough. Writing it down on paper isn’t enough. You need to start acting on it right away.
- If you want to start a new site, start by buying the domain name right away.
- If you want to write an ebook, sit down with a pen and paper and create an outline.
- If you want to create an email course, put up a subscribe form and get crackin’ on the first lesson.
Just do it! Once you start that first step, continue on and keep making steps, even if they’re baby steps.
Something John Reese said in his blog post How To Get Everything You Want in 24 Hours really struck a chord with me.
“You must do something every single day towards accomplishing your goal. It doesn’t matter how big or how small this effort has to be. It just has to be something.”
That is a great post to read if you have trouble taking action. I even printed that quote out and have it by my computer at all times. Every time I look at it I want to work!
Who doesn’t love Twitter? Even though Twitter can be a great tool for building contacts, relationship and traffic, it can also be a huge time suck. Instant messaging, email, reading RSS feeds – all those things can consume a huge amount of time without you realizing it.
Sometimes I just have to turn all those things off if I want to get any work done. Other times, I allow myself a certain amount of time to use them. If you want to get really serious, you can time yourself to see just how much time you spend on things that aren’t benefiting your business. SlimTimer works perfectly for me. Scary how much time you lose to certain things each day!
ONE THING AT A TIME
I can’t tell you how many text files I have on my computer of articles/blog posts/ebooks I’ve started writing but didn’t finish. I’ve been in the process of cleaning them all up and I’ve achieved a lot in the past few weeks but I’ve implemented a few “rules” for myself to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand again.
I keep my computer desktop completely clean except for one folder, “To Do”. When I start a new project, I save it to my desktop. I will not allow myself to put it into my To Do folder until it’s complete. When it is complete, I rename the file to add “done” at the end. Then when I go to publish new content, I have all my “done” files in my To Do folder.
This works for me because I despise clutter and I can’t stand icons on my desktop. I’m a bit strange that way. I can’t stand anything on my counter tops either and fridge magnets are a huge no-no in my house. Poo on clutter, including half-finished text files all over my desktop.
Sometimes it’s hard to finish a project while you’re working on it because you come up with even more ideas while you’re in the process. This gets overwhelming and leads to complete burn-out so I’ve trained myself not to think about anything else while I’m working on something.
KEEP A SCHEDULE
Whether your kids are still at home with you or are going to school during the day, you need some kind of schedule or routine. My routine is always changing and needs to be very versatile. My kids are still young and most of my time is devoted to them so I might have a few months in a row where I get up early and work before they wake up, then I might have a few months where I work after they go to bed.
If you’re just flying by the seat of your pants, you should consider adding some kind of structure into your day. Starting a schedule for myself has added to my productivity immensely.
I’ve tried a lot of online tools like Google Calendar to keep a schedule, but I always come back to my handy dandy notebook. I love my daily planner and I would probably cry like a little girl if I lost it. A lot of WAHMs like to use Remember The Milk which can actually be used with Google Calendar so it’s worth checking out if you’re in need of a little routine-making action.
We’re all different. We all have different situations at home and we all have different goals and tasks that need to be accomplished every day.
It’s important to make the best of your time so that you can find a healthy balance for you and your family. Nobody said being a work at home mom was easy, but it can be very rewarding. The trick is to find what works for you.