Current trends are showing a rise in the number of work-at-home-moms after decades of decline, 51% of whom care for children at least age 5 and younger.
Most of these moms multitask where they take care for the home, children, and spouse while working long hours. This results in limited productivity if not well managed.
How then can you be more productive while caring for the home and toddlers?
Working at home with toddlers is tasking since toddlers are naturally very demanding of our time, just as our writing career.
As freelancers, our income is proportional to our productivity: the more productive we are, the higher our earnings.
Being a work from home mom affects productivity, even more so when you are a mom to toddlers. How then can you be more productive while caring for the home and toddlers?
There are simple tweaks you could adopt to be more productive and free up time for other activities that make you more money such as marketing your business, sourcing for clients, and replying to important work emails.
When you adopt a combination of these tweaks, you will notice outstanding results in no time.
How to Be More Productive When You Work at Home
1. Have a To-Do List
Time management is single-handedly the greatest concern for work-at-home moms.
Making a to-do-list is a great time management tool used to increase productivity. It is a list of tasks you need to complete within a said time, that is, stuff to accomplish in a day. A well-crafted to-do-list improves productivity, helping you achieve set more goals. For best results,
- Update or create your list the evening before. Doing this will make you wake up with a clear vision of what you have to do each day.
- Break tasks down into smaller parts. Instead of having a task like finishing two 450 paged books in two weeks, you may break it down into chapters for each day. Doing this makes tasks more achievable.
- Set SMART goals. Do not fix items that you know you cannot complete and also do not set out to do too many things at once. Let your goals be measurable at the end of the day.
- Rank your task from most important to less important. This way, you get to accomplish important tasks when you still have the energy and zeal.
2. Have a Strict “for work” Computer
This is important because some computers send out all sorts of pop-up notifications from social media sites and computer updates which could be very distracting.
Use the internet for research and fact gathering, save your facts on the computer, then switch off the internet before you start writing, especially if you work with one computer.
Doing this will increase concentration, helping you increase your output. If you can afford it, you may have a separate computer for work and other stuff like browsing the internet.
Another big no-no is do avoid playing your children’s cartoons, YouTube and, other videos on your computer.
If you do, your child will assume your computer is open to them and will want to use it whenever you are on it. If they are already into the habit of playing games and watching videos on your computer, get them a second one (that is similar to yours), so they can play games and do their school work to keep them occupied for the length of time you need to work.
They may even need to sit at the same table with you while you work. This is fine, as it enables you to keep an eye on them while working.
3. Create An Ergonomic Workspace
Where you decide to work in your house will affect your productivity. Your workstation should be properly set up in such a way that it provides utmost comfort and removes every form of distraction.
For example, do not set up your office space in your or the children’s bedroom, directly facing the television or outside view from where you sight passers byes. When your workspace is well set up, the children know that is mommy’s space and learn to stay away. Whenever you are in your work zone, it also signals to them that you are working and will not be distracted.
4. Organize Your Distractions
Set times for bathing and food preparation. When food is already prepared and stowed, it frees up time and increases concentration. Also, make sure you and the children take a healthy meal before you start working. Television is a big source of distraction for most people. Rather than use your free time to watch T.V shows, ensure you get some work done.
5. Work While they Play or Nap
Children love to play. You can definitely work while they are at it within eyesight. Find their favorite games that they can play for long time and get them engaged while you work.
Working while toddlers nap is also a great way to work without distractions. Study your children’s sleep habits and work with them.
6. Identify and Work During your Creative Window
I am more creative at night when everyone is quiet and I’m sure no toddler will likely appear behind me.
Working at night may not be the best option if you have to take care of the children during the day to avoid sleep deprivation. Find the time of the day when you work better with more creative juice flowing, and work with it.
This could mean early in the morning when everyone else is still asleep, during the day or at night. You may put the children to bed a few hours earlier to free up sometime at night or wake up an hour or more before everyone else. This way, you can get some work done undistracted.
7. Work While They Are at School
This is probably the best strategy if you can afford daycare. While they are away, you can work uninterrupted for a long stretch. Plan chores such as laundry, meal prep, grocery shopping in a way that you have at least 4 hours for your work each day.
8. Pre-Research Your Work
Research each topic before you sit down to work as a way to be more productive. The research could be done in short bouts and kept in a folder on your desktop, where you can easily find them for reference. Doing this makes your workflow easy.
9. Work on the Go
Always have a notepad handy. This is necessary to jot down flashes of ideas as they present to you while you go about your daily chores. Write whenever you find the time, it could be while in the saloon, watching the kids at the park, or even while going about your daily chores.
10. Take Care of Your Health
Don’t overstretch yourself and avoid working when you are tired.
Don’t use your sleep hours for work to avoid sleep deprivation and burnout.
While working, experts suggest you take breaks at 20-25 minutes intervals. While taking care of your body is necessary, you must take care of your emotional and mental health, without which you cannot function appropriately.
It takes a sound mind to do meaningful work. Cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself, don’t push too hard. It is commonplace to want to achieve everything on your to-do list, take care of the home and children on any given day.
Truth is, not all days are the same, and some are more productive than others. Rest when you feel like, stop when you are tired and take a good rest to avoid burnout. A burnt-out mama is not good for anyone or anything.
11. Get Help
This is by far the most time-saving tip of all. If you can afford the service, get a nanny/sitter. Family and friends can also help you around the house where necessary. The nanny takes away the stress of running errands and childcare while you concentrate on your work. If you are more advanced in your freelance career, you may employ the services of a VA to enable you to free up time.
12. Write First, Edit Later
It is tempting to edit as you write but this could be very time-consuming and counterproductive. Always let your work lie, at least overnight before re-reading and editing. This way, you can spot and edit mistakes. Using dictation apps are great for busy moms. you only have to speak and the app transcribes it into text then you edit in your free time. This can be done on the go so it saves you time and help you be more productive.
Be More Productive Freelancing
I hope you found these tips to be more productive helpful! Tell me in the comments if you are a work at home mom with toddlers. What are your best tips to be more productive during the day? Share them in the comments.
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