27 Jul Tips for being a Productive Work-at-Home Mom
Are you a work-at-home mom? Are you juggling caring for your littles while trying to run a business? Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a network saleswoman, if you’re splitting your time between family and earning an income, you need productivity practices. This week we talked to Lindsay Page of Lindsay & Co. She’s s a single work-at-home mom of one 7-year old girl. Lindsay is a virtual assistant working full-time to help entrepreneurs plan and execute their marketing strategies. She’s passionate about creating highly productive systems so she can spend more time with her daughter.
What does your day look like?
I usually start my work day between 8am and 9am and look at my calendar to see what I have scheduled and plan my work and play accordingly. My morning commute is literally a few steps from my bedroom! I still try to have a regular morning routine (coffee, breakfast, get dressed, etc.).
During the summer, I created a whiteboard for my daughter with her chores, morning routine, and healthy activities so she can independently get up on her own without interrupting me. I even made her a craft box full of everything she needs to keep herself entertained. Once she is done with her “Summer Chores & Activities Chart” (as we call it), she can have a little bit of screen time.
Yes, she has been known to add tasks for me too! The idea behind this is that she can be responsible for herself for at least a little while so I can get some work done. I know this isn’t always possible, especially for younger kids, but it works wonders for kindergarten aged kids and up.
I can usually work until lunch time and then I break to make food for both of us. When I am working from home during the summer, I do one of two things:
- Take the afternoon off and go play and come back to work in the evening when she is good and tuckered out.
- Or set her up with some activities that I know she can work on mostly independently so I can get a little more work done in the afternoon.
Either way, I am usually working in the evening in the summer, which I am completely ok with. I make sure to do the heavier work first when my mind is the freshest and my daughter is least likely to disrupt me.
What is your favourite productivity hack?
Time blocking! Everyone is different in terms of organizing and there are so many methods, but I really like to time block out my schedule. I include everything in my calendar including dinner, family time, me time, I actually schedule those in first and work around that schedule. Time blocking is a great way to organize your time and make a plan for how you will use that time. I also think prioritizing tasks is important. Don’t leave the harder more important tasks for the end or you may never get there.
I also love the Pomodoro method when I am time-blocking. It’s an awesome productivity practice to improve focus. You set the timer for a short time period – usually 25 mins – and you work on your task until the timer rings. When it rings, take a 5-minute break, get up and move, drink some water and then go back to work on your next “Pomodoro”. A Pomodoro is a full cycle of 25 mins of work and 5 mins break. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break so you can feel refreshed. This also helps with (older) kids because if they interrupt your work, you can tell them you’re working on something and let them know when you can give them your attention. Expectation management!
What is your favourite productivity tool?
I use a free online project manager called Asana. I love it! It’s like a checklist or sticky notes on steroids. I can create a project and all the steps in the project with due dates, recurrences if it’s something I do regularly, and even assign it to other people who help me with my business. I like using the “list” set up (it’s literally a checklist) but I know many people like the “board” style which looks like sticky notes. You can easily move things around and organize.
This is a great tool for multitaskers (like a work-at-home mom) because you can pick up easily after having to step away to give your kids a snack, or whatever takes you away from your work. Multitasking is not your friend for productivity but this tool helps keep you on track.
How to balance work and parenting during the summer?
I shared my typical day above but I think what saves me is just being ok with what I am capable of doing. Accepting that I have limits and being realistic about what I can achieve. It’s not easy, that’s for sure! I try to remind myself that I am working to support our little family and I try not to feel “mom guilt” about working when I could be playing with her.
There are times when my “routine” just doesn’t work out and I try to stay cool about it and go with the flow. If that means a later night working, then so be it. I do prioritize time with my daughter by shutting off my phone and getting some quality time in. I give her 110% attention, even if it’s for a short time.
How do you fit in self-care?
I am working at being better at this. One thing I have started doing is working on easy tasks, like engagement on Instagram, while I am on my bike. I had knee surgery a couple months ago and I am still working to get back to 100% and I realized how my self-care routine is lacking.
One thing I would like to add to my time blocking is “me time”. Online yoga at home, bubble bath, some time alone to shop… Whatever makes me feel grounded. I actually schedule that in my to-do list and make it a priority. You always have to make room for these kinds of things. I highly suggest we all try to make a little more room for ourselves.
What advice do you have for moms who work from home?
It’s not perfect and not always easy but remind yourself why you are working from home. Is it so you can care for your children while earning an income? If yes, then remember this when you are feeling like your schedule isn’t working or you’re taking too long to finishing projects that someone without kids would have done quicker. You have added challenges that many entrepreneurs don’t have and that makes you amazing.
If your little ones are still napping then take advantage of nap time and try to stick to a schedule so you can schedule meetings around nap time. You’re a super mama and you’ve got this!
For all the work-at-home moms out there, we salute you!