There are so many wonderful things about working from home. You lose the commute, get more time with your family, and have more flexibility in your schedule. But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, especially when you have young children. I’ve been working from home for the past five years, and these seven time management tips have helped me find better work-life balance and get my work done without losing my mind!
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Let Your Kids “Work” With You
My three-year-old loves to “work” with me. I set her up with some mess-free art supplies, like this Crayola coloring book, and she feels like such a big girl sitting next to me and getting things done. Other favorite “work” activities: these sticker books with reusable stickers, and painting with water. Are you sensing a theme here? I make sure she is only doing activities that are totally independent and won’t make a mess that I’ll have to clean up later. 🙂
Sometimes you find yourself with a few minutes free, but if you don’t already have a plan in place, it’s hard to know what you should be doing. I like to use the Productivity Planner to keep track of my prioritized to do list. The planner is small enough to carry around, so I always have it with me. When my kiddo is deeply engrossed in a puzzle or her dress-up clothes, I’ll refer back to my to do list and sit down with my laptop in the playroom and get to work.
I find that when I haven’t planned ahead, I use my free time to browse Etsy or Zulily, or aimlessly scroll through my Instagram feed…not exactly productive!
Use Your Phone
I do most of my social media updates from my phone because it’s convenient and I can do it from anywhere. You can grab my social media routines swipe file here to see how I promote new blog posts and engage with my audience in 15 minutes or less:
Other tasks you can do on your phone: read and respond to emails, reply to blog comments, and comment on other people’s blog posts.
Before I had kids, I loved to shop, but now it’s so much less fun. :p I inevitably forget the diaper bag, or the baby’s pacifier, or the stroller, and someone ends up crying in the parking lot as I try to get us all into the store.
So now I buy as much as possible online to save myself time and hassle. Amazon Prime is my go-to for diapers, baby wipes, snacks (We live on Goldfish crackers and pouches), and household goods, like paper towels and toilet paper.
I buy most of my kids’ clothes (and some of my own) from Swap.com. I like buying used because it’s cheaper. Plus, kids grow so fast that used kids clothing tends to be in pretty good shape!
It’s hard to stay focused when your work space is cluttered. My desk may be in a closet (true story), but I keep it very tidy, with just a planner, pens, and my laptop on it. I even try to minimize distractions from my computer by shutting off notifications on all my social media channels, keeping my inbox closed, and keeping the “desktop” of my computer clean. I’m so obsessed with digital minimalism, I even created a free challenge for my blog readers. You can check it out here.
Ask for Help
If you’re serious about your blog or business, then ask others for help so that you can have more free time to work. Here’s a few things you can try:
Outsource your least favorite tasks. When we lived in the U.S. we got Blue Apron, a meal delivery service. We loved the convenience of the meal delivery and the fact that we could try new meals without having a ton of leftovers. It was also cheaper and healthier than the places where we ate out, which helped us justify the cost.
Ask your spouse to pitch in more. Now that we are overseas and can’t get meal deliveries (see above), my husband does most of the cooking. He enjoys it, and it makes my evenings so much less stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse to take over some of the household chores!
You could also hire a monthly house cleaner or outsource some other dreaded chore. It’s a double win because you’ll have more time to work and you won’t have to tackle a task that you hate.
Pay for Childcare
Just because you’re a stay-at-home mom or work-at-home mom doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a break. I am loud and proud about the fact that my three-year-old goes to preschool, even though I’m home with our six-month-old baby.
I will rave about preschool until the day I die. It is so wonderful that there’s a place where I can send my toddler and she can play and socialize and sit in furniture that’s exactly her size and generally feel like the center of the universe. Meanwhile, I can get a break and have several hours in a row to work.
Even better, after playing all morning at preschool, my kid is exhausted and takes a pretty long nap. What a bonus! Now I have even more time to work!
Seriously, preschool is the best. If you can work it into your budget, it’s a great way to make more time to work.
If you can’t afford preschool, try swapping babysitting services with a friend, family member, or neighbor.
Or hire a mother’s helper. A mother’s helper is usually a young teen who plays with your kiddo while you’re still in the house. It’s cheaper than a babysitter or nanny because you’re home, and the teen has less babysitting experience. Plus, your child will probably adore having a “big kid” play with him or her.
Working from home can be a double-edged sword, but you can make the most of your work freedom if you manage your time well.
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