Being a mother and having a career has always been a juggle. The pandemic has meant many parents have to work from home while caring for their children and sometimes overseeing their education as well. As hard as this year has been so far, the shift has given rise to more options for flexible home office situations which will be of great benefit to mothers beyond 2020. As most industries now provide opportunities to work remotely, mothers will no longer have to choose between taking care of their children and building their future.
During this crisis, most parents have been working hard to continue building their businesses and careers while taking care of everybody in the family and maintaining a household. Working from home has made it possible to be able to attend to everything personally, but it has also brought a whole new level of difficulty to motherhood. Bearing children and caring for them already makes motherhood tough, but adding day-care and school closures with the demands of a full-time job, makes working from home that much harder.
Mothers are usually quite restless coping with the busy routines. On most days, we run from one thing to another, juggling one task after the other, almost never having time to stop and catch our breath. We like to make sure that everything is perfect at work while being there every second our children need us. Many people would say we do not have to, but there is a very rewarding feeling whenever you cross things off your to-do list and spend time with your family at the same time. Sure, there are many things that contribute to this busy lifestyle but learning to manage your time will work wonders for both your mum and career lives.
Work from home mums ranges from entrepreneurs to full-time, part-time and casual employees, as well as women who juggle a couple of jobs. Tasks vary from day to day, and from job to job. We do not have an all-inclusive checklist for every type of mother working from home, but here is a list of general time management tips that is sure to give work from home mums less to worry about daily.
1. Create a Schedule
Scheduling can be a nightmare for mums, whether it’s your first child or your fourth. There’s just so much to include and 24 hours never seem enough. This is one area that most mothers, working from home, the office, or staying home all face.
Creating a schedule does wonders because you are given an outline of what everybody else is doing – class schedules, meals, naps, errands, chores, and work.
Having a visible outline of your day allows you to be on top of all your responsibilities. For example, you can take your children’s nap times and use that quiet time to work on a project you currently have for work. This takes time off your usual work schedule, allowing you to have more time for either a new project, new tasks, or to relax and breathe a little during your day.
As businesses and schools open again, some with altered schedules to minimize physical distancing, it will be even more important to organise households around a schedule.
2. Track your time
Set distractions aside and make sure you use your time wisely. Track your time by using time tracking and productivity tools, or simply a timer on your phone to make sure you focus on your current task. This allows you to maximise the time you have to include your tasks for work, chores, errands, and if you are lucky, maybe a little bit of alone time.
Tracking your time will also help you work with a better schedule, as it will give you an idea of which tasks take longer, and which ones can be done in a few minutes. Having this information, you will be able to work your schedule around your non-negotiables (class schedules, meetings, errands, mealtimes, etc.) and not compromise anything.
3. Have a workspace
One of the wonders of working from home is being able to do your household chores while working, especially for mums who do most of the household work. This is good for chores, but oftentimes, bad for work. Being in a place where there’s just so much to do can often distract you from what you are currently doing and letting that happen could affect your job or business.
Create a separate workspace at home to maintain focus while working. It does not need to be an elaborate home office – sometimes a small desk in a corner of your bedroom would do. Knowing and physically seeing the difference between common areas in your house and your designated work area will not only allow you to peel yourself away from the many distractions you will see, but it will also set boundaries for your children. It will be much easier to tell them when you are busy and when they can play with you!
4. Eliminate distractions
While giving yourself a dedicated spot in the house for work, distractions could still sway you from your timeline. Whether its your phone, social media, emails, or food, you need to eliminate it from your work area.
Set your notifications to silent or completely shut them off when you are working to avoid feeling the urge to check your phone when you are working on a task. You can also choose to leave your phone in another room when you begin working. Turn the TV off before you sit and put that bag of chips away before you start checking your emails. Less distractions mean faster completion of your tasks, allowing you more time to work on your parental responsibilities too.
5. Your children come first
I bet the reason you decided to work from home in the first place is to be with your children. Put them above your work-related tasks to avoid making them feel neglected. Emotional issues put the most stress on mothers, and any additional stress will only lead to compromised performance quality at work.
Work around the times when your kids are busy with homework, taking their naps, or washing up. This helps you manage your time because you get to complete your tasks successfully without sacrificing time with your family.
6. Splurge and reward yourself!
Do not be too hard on yourself. Splurge a little every now and then to keep yourself happy and sane. Mothers already have a difficult role in society and the family, and we would crash and burn if we do not stop and relax every once in a while.
Get yourself something you have set your eyes on for some time now, treat yourself to a day at the spa, or simply lay in bed with junk food while watching cheesy old movies. Stop, breathe, and celebrate the small wins you’ve had by completing and checking off tasks from your to-do list. Doing this will help you prepare, relax, and recharge yourself for another day, week, or month of being a busy work-from-home mum.
For more tips on how to manage your time while working from home, get in touch with MRS V today.