I am almost three years into this whole work from home mom life and often get asked how I do it all. How do I juggle motherhood with owning a business, all while having my husband gone nearly 50% of the time? Are you ready for the truth? I don’t do it all – I have just found ways to efficiently do the things I do need to do.
Before we jump into this, I just want to say this…every family dynamic is going to look different. Whether you have help or not will effect how your day is structured. I’ve had both seasons of help and no help. Right now my son goes to school two days a week for 7 hours and those are my dedicated work days. Anything else is extra but I really try to just be mom the other days!
So what’s my secret? There really is no magic answer. Every Mama and every child will have different needs, but these are my 5 practical tips for work from home moms that you can implement today!
I know this can seem like such a daunting task, especially in those early days when you’ve been up all night. So maybe give yourself a few months or as long as you need, but once everyone is sleeping a little more, challenge yourself to get up 15 minutes early, then 30 minutes, and eventually an hour before everyone else is up.
Giving myself that times allows me to feel like I have been able to accomplish something before I’ve even really started my day. Some days this means just having some quiet time, some days it’s a workout, and other days it’s work or a mix of things. Then on the days I am not able to get as much (or anything) done during the day, I don’t feel that guilt and pull to work as much. It also helps to eliminate working at night when I am too exhausted to be efficient.
Even you night owls, I would encourage you to just try to get up a little earlier in the morning because there is any room for life (or excuses) to get your off-track!
This may be my #1 tip. I remember hearing this and at first I thought the person was crazy, but then realized it was the best advice I had been given as a new mama working from home. The idea is that when baby is sleeping you do the things you can’t do (or easily do) when they are awake.
The other benefit to cleaning when your child is awake is they are watching you. Children are so smart and often times they want to do what we are doing. My son is almost three now and he will often clean alongside me. The Melissa and Doug cleaning set is his favorite!
I am a big list person. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to cross something off of my to-do list. I use Trello to manage my lists and have a few different tasks lists, one of which is priorities. At the end of each work day, I’ll move the top three tasks over to my priority card and then that’s where I start the next work day.
Sometimes life happens and other work stuff will come up, but for the most part I really try to stick to working my way through that list. Not only does it help me cross of what I have already deemed most important, but it also keeps me on track. Doing this also helps me to not get as overwhelmed by my ever-growing and much longer to-do list.
I am someone that works a lot better and quicker under pressure. I also work better when I have more variety in my day. Is that weird? Anyhow, so let’s say I have client communication, a blog post, social media planning, and website updates on my list for today.
Because I’ve been doing this for a while, I know how long each should take and I will set a time for each of those tasks. Unless one is on a deadline, I move to the next when the timer goes off. Doing this helps keep me from getting distracted by other things.
If you’re someone that works for yourself and/or multiple clients, this can be a particularly good way of managing bouncing around from task to task. There are a few timers out there, but I have found toggl to the best best. It allows me to track my time, and also give each task it’s own project so that I can see how much time I am spending in each area of my business.
At the end of last year I was drowning. We had just moved from Seattle to Charleston and I was trying to do EVERYTHING. I’d wake up early to work. I’d rush to my office the second my son went down for nap to work. I’d work while he was awake. I’d rush to my office the second he went to bed at night. I was working ALL of the time. For what and at what cost?
It took realizing that trying to do it all was actually keeping me from doing anything truly well. I kept telling myself, I just want to be able to breathe. And then one day it clicked. I HAD the time, I just needed to protect that time.
In order to do anything efficiently, I had to be capable of taking a full breath. So now, I actually work fewer hours a week between photography and the contract work I do. I am also far more productive and get more done.
I also want to say this, both motherhood and working from home with come with its own seasons. Sometimes you will have childcare and sometimes you will not. Some of the tips will apply more in certain seasons and some in others. The important thing is to remember that it’s okay to not do it all. It’s okay for things to look different. Keep YOUR why at the forefront of your mind and take it one day (or hour) at a time!
I’d love to hear from you! Any other work from home moms want to share their tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments below or come join the conversations over on my Instagram!
Laura Ryan Photography is a Charleston Family Photographer specializing in maternity, motherhood, newborn and family photography. LRP serves the surrounding areas including Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, James Island, West Ashley, and Summerville.
If you would like more information and/or ready to reserve your session with Laura Ryan Photography, please contact Laura here or email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.