“Now you have all the time in the world!” How many times has this line been said to mums who just made the transition from being a corporate slave to a work-at-home mum?
Sure, work-at-home mums have more time in their hands. The commute to and from work is a huge time-saver. But what you must realise is that there are more opportunities to waste your time now that you’re working at home.
Sleeping in late, taking too many frequent breaks, and watching TV are just some of the temptations you’ll encounter. What you need is a plan to make sure that you stay focused and you manage your time effectively.
1. What are your time-wasters?
It’s easy to pick up the phone and chat with a friend. Mums need to identify activities that are considered time-wasters. These may be as mundane as chatting online to something bigger like frequent grocery-shopping or snacking. By knowing what these time-wasters are, you’ll be able to minimise doing these activities and focus on the more important stuff.
2. Make a schedule of your daily life.
The term work-at-home mum has two definitions—a mum who works to earn money and, at the same time, works to keep her home. Mum should set a schedule of her daily life that includes both her work and family activities. A routine will help you manage your time effectively and avoid unnecessary distractions.
But don’t forget to include mini-breaks from your schedule to rest, eat, or for play. These are equally important to stay healthy and stress-free.
3. Make a to-do list.
A to-do list is a lot like a schedule but this gives you a detailed list of what you must accomplish on a daily basis. A to-do list can include errands, people to email or call, tasks that need to be accomplished, etc. You can make a list in a small notebook or your BlackBerry although I know some mums prefer using Post-It notes to remind them.
4. Use technology.
Technology is both helpful and distracting. Make technology your ally by getting an efficient computer system. Your PC/laptop should be in great working condition and your Internet connection should be flawless. You can also set up auto-responders and mailing lists to be efficient. For mums who have their own websites, you can save time by setting up a Frequently Asked Questions page to minimise the need to reply to similar inquiries.
5. Set boundaries.
Mums who work at home often find the lines between being a worker and a mum blurred. How many times have you caught yourself working on your business during family times? Or when your child asks you to read a story, you find yourself telling him to go ask dad instead.
You must set a time when you stop working and focus on being a wife and a mum. One mum I know quits working at 6 PM. When the clock strikes, she drops everything and concentrates on her family. She doesn’t open her emails or take calls. She figures that these can wait until the next morning.
Indeed, work-at-home mums have all the time in the world but make sure that we make effective use of time. With proper management and a little know-how, time would be every mum’s best friend.