In 2008, 1.8 million self-employed Canadians worked from home, and that number continues to rise as more and more people discover the benefits of moving outside traditional employment. The ability to work from home has affected mothers drastically — so much so that moms who run businesses from their homes have been dubbed "momtrepreneurs." But running a small business from home leaves many moms wondering how it’s possible to juggle all of their responsibilities. The good news is, it’s actually fairly simple to balance your family and home duties with the responsibilities that come with running your new business if you follow these tips.
Get the Kids on a Schedule
All mommy moguls need uninterrupted work time, which is really hard to come by if you don’t have your kids on a regular schedule. If you have younger kids, consider setting a bedtime for them and getting them up at the same time each morning. You should also try your best to schedule their naps. This way while the kids are sleeping you can get an hour or two of work completed. Alternatively, some moms find it easier to get an hour or so of work done before the kids wake and after they go to bed.
It’s a bit more difficult with older kids who tend to go to bed later and have more after-school activities. If this is your case, it’s often easier to schedule work time around your kids’ school and activities schedules. You can always work while they are at school, and if possible, take your laptop with you to dance class or soccer practice to catch up on work you couldn’t get done earlier in the day. If their activities frequently take you to a place without WiFi, consider adding a mobile hotspot to your cellular phone plan so you can work on the go.
Make Several To-Do Lists
When you work from home, staying organized is the key to success. Keep a running to-do list with everything you need to get done for the week, month, and year. Then, each day, use your running to-do list to create a household to-do list and a work to-do list. It’s important to prioritize your daily to-do lists so they only include the most important tasks. This way you don’t become overwhelmed looking at them. When you start your day, review your lists and tackle one item at a time so you don’t end up with a mess of half-finished tasks at the end of the day.
Set a Timer While You Work
When you have limited work time, you need to make the most of it. Setting a timer while you work can help keep you on track. For example, checking your email and business social media pages is important, but it can also be a huge time suck if you aren’t careful. So instead of winging it, set a timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, move on to something more productive. You should also consider setting a timer for any breaks you take. There are a lot of distractions at home, so it’s possible to get so sidetracked that a quick five-minute break turns into an hour-long break.
Make the Most of Your Breaks
It’s important to schedule work breaks, but you should also make the most of them. Spend your breaks making lunch for the kids, putting laundry in the washer, or cleaning the bathroom. By doing these tasks when you take a break, you’re getting time away from your computer and getting your household chores completed so you won’t need to do them in the evening.
Make Phone Calls as You Drive
When you’re a mom, you spend a lot of time driving kids around. So instead of wasting that time, use it to make important phone calls. While you may not want to conduct a new client intake in a car full of kids, you can make follow-up calls or even make household-related calls, such as calling the electric or cable company, so you can use your home time for important client calls.
Learn How to Delegate
As hard as it is to let go, it’s really important to learn when and how to delegate tasks to others. If your kids are old enough, make chore lists for them. Make sure your spouse or significant other has a list of household tasks to complete as well. Anyone who works from home should consider hiring a virtual assistant. You don’t have to hire someone full-time, but you should consider using a virtual assistant on an as-needed basis to lighten your load a bit. Most VAs can handle things such as posting on your social media accounts, answering emails, and keeping your bookkeeping up to date. If you outsource work to others, your VA can help you manage your team, make sure their work is completed on time, and make sure they get paid on time.
The fact is, momtrepreneurs have a lot on their plates. Between running a household, building a business, and raising kids, there isn’t much time left in the day. But by taking analyzing everything you have to do on a regular basis, making and sticking to schedules, and learning how to delegate less important tasks, you can succeed.