Work at Home Mom Survival Guide
Help For Moms Who Work From Home
Jackpot! That's how it feels when you first become a work at home mom.
Then you realize working from home when you have kids is more than a balancing act -- it's a magic act!
Working from home allows us moms to be there for our kids, to save money on day care and other assorted costs associated with working outside the home like special office wardrobe, transportation costs and lunches.
It's also supposed to allow us to get even more work done since there isn't the time spent in transit, we can work hours of our choosing, etc. But, alas, this is where the kids come in - and out - and in... yeah, you get the picture. As if the kids weren't enough of a distraction, you've also got the phone, the doorbell, the neighbors, the housework and egad, perhaps even the television!
You may soon find yourself craving the sanctuary of a real office again. Don't get out that white flag yet. After over 15 years of working from home while caring for three children, a husband and a slew of critters, I have worked out some survival tactics that I feel other work from home moms can implement to make their work from home life more manageable, productive and even enjoyable.
Do You Work From Home?
Select your answer below. Feel free to also leave a comment if you like. I'd love to hear from you.
The Naughty Word
Work From Home Advice
Yes, that's right... there is a NAUGHTY word to avoid when you work from home and you don't need to curse like a sailor to be caught by it's trap.
The word is YES! shiver
Yes, those three little letters can spell absolute disaster when you work from home. Learn to say no, now! You will be tempted, begged and, worst of all - made to feel GUILTY for not saying yes when you are approached to do something, help with something, go somewhere, or even just to goof off. You must learn to say NO. Make your kids and other people understand that working at home is no different from working at an office. You must put in your time, in order to succeed.
Starting right now, repeat after me -- and mean it!
"It's okay to say NO. I give myself permission to put my need to be successful in my work from home career first. Saying no is the first step in finding that success."
No, NO, NO!!!!
Got it?! Good!
Learn How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty - This Book Helps A Lot
Dr. Seuss Quote:
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss
Set Your Work Hours
A Routine Will Help
Setting your work hours when you work from home may seem silly. After all, you likely feel the biggest advantage to working from home is the very fact that you can wing it and work any hours you like each day. This may be but, trust me, coming from experience, it is also the biggest handicap to working at home.
Setting your work hours not only keeps you organized, it helps to keep family and friends from taking your new at home status for granted. It's funny how so many family members and friends will assume you make money purely by osmosis when you work from home. Set a certain block of time each day to do your work. Consider this to be your minimum that must be done each day. Anything over and above that is gravy, that you can feel really good about for going above and beyond. Make sure your timetable is reasonable, leaving you enough time to get things done outside your "job" hours too.
Get Dressed Already!
Don't Fall Into the Pajama Trap!
It's easy to succumb to the soft and fuzzy feeling of wearing your pajama's and forgetting to comb your hair when you work from home. Fuzzy pink bunny slippers and coffee by the gallons. Ahhh...
Not so fast. This is okay some days but do try to make an effort to not only get dressed but also do your hair. You can also wear makeup if that makes you feel more alert. This doesn't mean you can't dress relaxed or even with a splash of humor. Just GET DRESSED!
That furry zippered bathrobe may do nothing but make you crave a nap or a shower. Too many days like that and you'll find yourself making more money at the local fast food restaurant.
Comfy Clothes to Work in - That Are Still Presentable Outside Your House
Rise and Shine
Advice For Your Day
Find what time works best for you but for most stay at home moms, early morning is going to be your most productive time. You are usually up with the kids before school anyway, so make use of that time when your brain is fresh. Have a light breakfast, like a protein or cereal bar with some fresh fruit, and take your favorite beverage with you to your "office." Make sure your chair is comfortable. I would suggest that you not turn on the television, as it is distracting. The radio or a softly played music CD may also help you to relax and let the creative juices flow!
Take a break every hour or two. I like to do a short household task to help stretch, like empty the dishwasher or water my houseplants, but do whatever makes you happy on your breaks. Make sure to stop for lunch. I usually take an hour for lunch, unless I am especially busy. I fix my lunch and sit down and watch my favorite soap, General Hospital. After that, it's back to work.
It is important to take your work seriously, if you expect others to. Make them aware of your schedule and ask them not to interrupt you when you are working. When is time to end the work day....end it. To keep on working, just because you can is to invite burn out, and rebellion the next day which could lead to lost productive time.
~photo courtesy of Flickr.com
Set Your Alarm Clock - It Doesn't Have to be Early, but Do Set it!
If you over sleep, it throws off your whole day, even when you work at home, so set your clock. This is my favorite clock, I like the big letters, they are easy to see, even when you are half asleep without your glasses on.
A Healthy Diet Help Your Brain
Make Sure to Eat RIght!
Eating healthy is paramount to being successful in any business venture but especially when tackling both motherhood and working from home at the same time. You need food that are good sources of nutrition and energy that won't lag you down. That means saying no to sugar and heavy starches. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.
Get adequate protein. Women should have a minimum of 60 grams of protein per day. (this also helps with weight loss if that is a concern for you) Protein bars are a great way to get in plenty of protein while tasting almost like a candy bar.
Also drink plenty of water and low sugar drinks. I drink Propel, exclusively. I think it tastes awesome and it is good for you. To save money, I buy the powdered version of Propel. It comes in individual sleeves, you just cut off the top and dump it in a glass of water and stir. Perfect, easy and tasty.
I would avoid the 5 hour energy drinks and the like. They are not good for you and are a short term solution and usually have poor after effects.
Propel Zero Calorie Nutrient Enhanced Water Beverage Mix - 36 Individual Packets
This drink mix is yummy and is so much better for you than soft drinks. Give it a try and I would be willing to bet your whole family loves it! It will also save you money over the already bottled Propel drinks.
Easy Grab and Go Cereal and Protein Bars - Great for Breakfast or a Snack Anytime!
I know there are many protein bars on the market but the Pure Protein bars are my favorite. I especially like the S'mores and Peanut Butter flavors. They are really high in protein, low in sugar and taste PHENOMENAL! I LOVE THEM! I also love Nutrigrain Cereal Bars. They are soft and have real fruit in the center. They are delicious! I eat them for breakfast and sometimes a mid-afternoon snack.
Don't Skimp on Your Equipment
Working At Home Deserves Good Tools
Do women expect a man to work with junk tools when we need him to do a good job around the house or at work. Why should we women be any different when it comes to our tools? Yes, this means tools for doing housework as well as working in the office. We are expected to juggle many things in life when we are work at home moms. Quality tools will help us do these jobs better and more efficiently - not to mention without as much frustration so our husbands and kids can also benefit by a happier mom.
Men, take note! These would also make great gift ideas for work at home moms!
A Nice Place to Work Helps Jobs Go More Smoothly - Comfort and Organizaion is Key
You need your own organized work space if you plan to treat working at home as a real job. Keep it organized, with what you need where you can find it.
Beautiful Cherry Desk or White Floating Desk - Both Inexpensive and Practical for Working at Home
Ideas to Keep Kids Busy so You Can Work - Keep Little Ones Occupied
If you have school aged children and they go to public school, you have the school day to work uninterrupted but what do you do with the younger kids that is both constructive and keeps them busy without you feeling too many pangs of guilt. Yes, you need to get your hiney away from your desk and play with them but for those times you need to steal some work time in, these items may come in super handy.
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