If you are a work from home mom, you might struggle with productivity; particularly when your little ones are home during the day. Summer break, Christmas break, Spring break, all those other random days they have off of school.
I mean really, can’t we just go to year-round schooling already!
In order to stay productive during these times you need to have a plan! It can feel so overwhelming when you have children at your feet, housework to get done, meals to prepare, and the thousand other things on your to-do list.
But fear not my fellow WAHM! There is a way to stay productive when the kids are home without losing your marbles!
How To Stay Productive As A WAHM With Kids At Home
Written by guest writer Keegan Kraemer of TheDailyChangeJar
Get Up Early
I know, this is my least favorite one…but it is a necessary evil.
I am not a morning person! However, I love being able to get some work in before the kids get up and all the chaos ensues. I generally try to schedule work for the morning that requires less distractions, like writing or strategic planning.
But of course, I don’t do anything without my cup of coffee in hand!
We have house rules and chores posted where the kids can easily see them. They know before they can get screen time (especially over the summer) that they need to complete their “work” first.
This includes things like reading for 20 minutes, doing something creative or productive for 45 minutes, their daily chores, cleaning their rooms, etc.
Not only does this give them a sense of structure but it also gives me time to get some work done. While they are occupied with their work, I can get things done.
Related: From Mom To Mompreneur
If you know other local WAHMs then see if you can schedule playdates. Either switch off and take each other’s kids for blocks of time, or let the kids play together while the both of you work.
This is great for socialization for both your kids and for you. Working from home can be lonely, having another adult around can help to keep you sane!
Speaking Of Time Blocks
Time Block! In order to stay productive as a WAHM you need to schedule your activities and time blocking is a great way to do just that! Time blocking allows you to schedule activities for certain amounts of time and work specifically on those tasks. This works for both large and small tasks.
For example, from 5-7am, Monday through Thursday, before the kids get up in the morning, I will write.
Then, the kids are working on their “work” I will spend about 2 hours checking emails, responding to blog comments and other things that time but don’t require a lot of brain power.
That way if the kids need help with something and I need to step away, it is easier to just jump right back into what I was doing.
Then I also use little chunks of time that I know I will have for smaller tasks. For example, for an hour when my daughter is in dance class Tuesday evenings, I’ll be active in Facebook groups or read other blogs and comment on their posts.
There is no set “you need to do this at this time” for time blocking. It will be different for everyone depending upon what you have going on in your life.
Make A Schedule
This is very similar to time blocking but can include other non-work activities. For example, grocery shopping, doing laundry, making dinner, and all those “other” things that life requires.
I am one of those types of people that if it isn’t in my calendar, it’s not gonna happen!
Now I’m not that crazy person that schedules EVERYTHING, but I know things like grocery shopping and making the dinner needs to be scheduled otherwise I’ll get carried away doing something else and suddenly it’s 7 something and everyone is hangry!
I pretty much live in yoga pants! I mean, why not, I DO work from home!
However, I have personally found that I am far more productive during the day if I start my day off like I am actually “going” to work. You know, shower, put on a bra, and maybe a little perfume! Doing these activities gets you in the mindset of being productive and getting stuff done!
It can be so easy to fall into the trap of staying in your PJs all day, forgetting to eat then binging on cookies because your starving (I have some experience in this if you can’t tell…).
Besides waking up at the crack of dawn, this one is probably the most difficult for me personally. I am more than your average amount of children (6 to be exact). My entire day is one big distraction. So how do I go about minimizing them?
I create a dedicated work space. I have an “office” that thankfully has a door.
The kids know that when I am in my office I am working. So if you can, create a “work” area for yourself and let the rest of your family know when you are in this “work area” you are not to be disturbed unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding!
Make sure that this work area, again if possible, is free of visual distractions. You don’t want to be staring at a pile of dishes or laundry that needs to be done.
Keep your work space for your work stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I have been distracted because my kids unload all their school papers in my office and I notice something out of the corner of my eye that I feel needs my immediate attention.
I try to get outside at least once a day. You know, sunlight and vitamin D and whatnot.
Get some some light, at least indirectly if you still need to see your screen. Let the kids play in the backyard while you get some work done. As I write this I am sitting on my deck, while the kids ride their bikes around and the baby is happy as can be in his jumper next to me.
It’s not much, but it’s a change of scenery, which is nice change of pace from my office chair. A few more “distractions” but well worth it!
What tips and tricks do you have for working from home while the kids are home?
Keegan Kraemer blogs at TheDailyChangeJar.com, a site dedicated to empowering women to take control of their finances through frugal living and savvy side hustles. As a mother of 6, she knows a thing or two about living frugally and making a side income through random hustles. Be sure to get your free copy of Keegan’s Savvy Girl’s Guide to Financial Freedom.