Working at home can create challenges in focus. There are so many distractions ranging from meal preparation, laundry, household cleaning, yard maintenance, pet care, errands, childcare and self-care. Hours can slip by quickly without the feeling of accomplishment that anything really productive occurred. If you have switched from a traditional job and office setting to a home employment environment, it can be difficult to set up structure to your day to provide you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Here are 15 tips to provide a better sense of forward movement towards your career goals while juggling the responsibilities of home and children.
1. Throw Out the Long “To-Do” list.
-Gone are the days where you can mark off a long “to-do” list. Pick one task that if accomplished that day would move your forward one baby step at a time.
2. Avoid Multi-Tasking.
-Choose your focus and give yourself to it fully. When in you are in your mother role, really get into it fully so that your child feels you are truly present with her. When you are working on your business, give it your full attention. Multi-tasking is over-rated and diffuses your energy. Segment your day as needed so that each part of it gets a single-minded focus.
3. Consider Getting Up an Hour Early Before the Family and Children Awake in the Morning.
-This sacred hour is for you. You can use it for writing that book inside you or any other significant project related to your career or life goals. Some women like to meditate, pray, do yoga, or write in their journal. Choose what brings you focus and direction for the day ahead.
4. Strive to Complete your Most Important Objective Before Lunchtime.
-Whenever you can complete priority tasks early in the day, the more your day will feel satisfying overall. If unforeseen events occur as your day unfolds, you may feel less stress knowing that your chief aim of the day has already been finished.
5. Create a Vision Board.
-Paste pictures of your goals and dreams on a poster board. Place this poster in a prominent spot and spend 5 minutes a day absorbed in looking at the images. Keep this time free of interruptions even if you need to sneak to the bathroom for 5 minutes.
6. Use Affirmations.
-Write down one or several affirmations on a note card. Frame the affirmations in a positive light and in the present tense using “I am… ” For example, “I am making steady progress on completing my book and enjoying motherhood and family life while I write it.” Tape this affirmation to your mirror or on your computer and repeat it aloud several times each day.
7. Consider Being a Finisher Instead of a Starter.
-If you have previously been one who starts a lot of tasks or projects but leaves them incomplete, consider finishing or de-committing from the ones that are begun before starting new ones.
8. Learn to Say “No”.
-Raising children while working at home is a full day. Avoid volunteering or committing to each request of your time if you are feeling overwhelmed. It is okay to say that you are spread thin and to ask you again later. Keep your plate manageable instead of overflowing.
9. Give Yourself Time to Plan and Think.
-Carve out time for planning. Decide your chief focus for that week or month. As decisions arise, decide by pondering if saying yes is in alignment with your focus. A clear goal makes it easier to say no if needed.
10. Record your Successes.
-Instead of focusing on what you did not accomplish, focus on what you are accomplishing. Consider having a journal to record your successes, even small ones. Little successes add up over time, and your attention on what you are getting done will give you confidence that you can chip away at completing a big project.
11. Acknowledge What is Going Well and Focus on Gratitude.
-If you wrote 5 pages for your book before lunch, completed an unfinished task, had a wonderful meal with your family, cleaned out a closet, had a wonderful date night with your husband or any other item that feels good, relish that feeling. Think about all that you are grateful for in your life now. Record in a journal each day at least one thing you are grateful for today.
12. Simplify and De-Clutter.
-Keeping your email inbox cleaned out, your desktop neat and tidy, and periodically do a cleanse of your closets, drawers, files and commitments. Simplifying and sorting allows a peace and energy that will uplift you instead of drain you. Clutter diminishes your energy. Keep things that are useful or bring you joy, and get rid of the rest.
13. Find an Accountability Partner or Coach.
-Support from a friend or coach can be helpful to keep you on track and focused. Incorporate regular phone chats with focus on keeping your clear direction and eliminating time wasters and distractions. Partnering with other moms who are working from home can assist you in feeling less alone. A life or business coach can be a great asset to cheer you on as you make baby steps towards your goals.
14. Have Fun and Celebrate.
-As you reach your business objectives, be sure to celebrate. Have fun along the way, but also celebrate your completions and accomplishments.
15. Refresh and Take a Break.
-Take some time to relax between projects and recharge your batteries. Replenish yourself with whatever fills your cup. It is okay to take time before you begin the next big objective.
Your children will grow up fast. Be aware of the balance scale of motherhood and family life with career, which may need to tip one way or the other at different times. It is possible to be productive as a mother working from home. Enjoy each day of your journey!