One of the toughest parts of being a work-at-home mom is finding the right balance. Meeting all your work deadlines and staying on top of phone calls and emails without letting the laundry pile up or the kids go hungry—it's like walking on a tightrope. One WAHM reader reached out on a forum and posed this question: “How do you all get your housework, shopping, etc. down and still have time for your business? Any tips, ideas?”
Fellow WAHMs have responded with a variety of different ways to manage it all. Here are the top tips from the chat.
Block Out Your Time
User ProMomof3 says she dedicates certain time to different tasks—including housework. Each hour will be dedicated to something that needs to be accomplished that day, and she sticks with the schedule. 9 a.m. might be an hour of returning phone calls, for example, while at 10 a.m. she concentrates on paperwork. Cleaning gets scheduled too, though quick things like starting the washer might be mixed in at the top of the hour.
If you work better in longer blocks of time, you could instead block out days. Monday might be dedicated to a primary client, Tuesday could be cleaning, Friday catching up on paperwork and finishing end-of-the-week tasks. Determine how you work best and stick with it. If you do better at mindless, physical activities like dusting and vacuuming in the mornings, don't force yourself to work first—just quit the housework at the designated time.
Take Advantage of Weekends
One reader, maurice.cowell, suggests using the weekends for running errands, getting groceries and household chores. Just make sure to set ahead of time how many hours you'll work on the weekends—you don't want to wear yourself too thin.
Keep Your Family In the Loop
WAHM user lovemygirlies says keeping your family involved is key. Communicate with your spouse so that you're on the same page—and don't be afraid to ask for help with the household chores, either. User Marci Miller suggests starting a chore chart if your kids are old enough to take on certain tasks themselves. The house is divided into zones, and one person might have the living room on Mondays and the kitchen on Tuesdays. For lovemygirlies, between herself and her two kids, the chore chart works out so everyone even gets a week off.
Work When You Can and Outsource When You Can't
When she first started working from home, user mwldream would head to her college classes an hour early so she could get some work done there. She also worked evenings if she needed to. Now, as an online business owner, she outsources projects that take up too much of her time.
Working at home is often difficult because you notice that laundry pile as you are working. But finding the right balance is an important step to success. Manage your time with a method not mentioned above? Join in the conversation here.