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Imagine you are working from home. You’re sitting in your comfy chair, reaching over your desk to grab your acai bowl. You are still in your jammies and you stare at a blank screen on your laptop as you listen to your kids playing outside your cozy home office. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But if your days are remotely close to mine you know this is FAR from reality.
Running things from home has some advantages of course, but just like a field job, you should treat it exactly as it is…a job! Being a work at home mom can be challenging. You have so many distractions and temptations around you. You have laundry, playgroup, playing with your kiddos...and all the sudden it is five o’clock and you haven’t even started dinner yet! It is not easy. Being a work at home mom requires a lot of patience not just from yourself, but from your kids as well.
Here are 15 ways that you can boost your productivity and help make your mommy blog a success.
1. HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE
Whatever your morning routine would be on a regular work day, do it still even though you will just be working from home. Wake up at the same time every day and make your bed. Eat a healthy breakfast (or the leftovers of your toddler's toast) and get started!
2. ALLOCATE TIME TO DO HOUSEWORK AND TIME TO DO BUSINESS WORK
It is too easy to get distracted when you are working from home, especially if you are a mom. I know I can’t focus when all I can think about is that laundry that needs to go in the dryer or the pile of unwashed dishes in the sink.
Make a schedule as to when you should be doing housework and when you should be concentrating on your blog. Some moms prefer to do chores in the morning just to get their minds settled for the rest of the day. Then times like nap time or bedtime for your kids will be the perfect to double time in doing your work and fully concentrate.
3. DISCONNECT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
We’ve all been there. You catch yourself taking a quick glance at your phone when there is a notification or if it beeps because of a new email or message. Your phone, the internet, and social media can be a huge distraction. It seriously takes up more of your time than you may realize.
I had to turn off a lot of the social media notifications on my phone because it was becoming a huge problem. I’d be writing blog posts and all of the sudden 15 minutes have passed and I’ve been zoned out scrolling through Facebook? How did I even get on there? Or when I’m playing blocks with my cute little guy and mommy’s phone vibrates and both of our concentration is broken #BondingBuzzkill.
4. KEEP ESSENTIALS CLOSE BY
Keeping what you need at arm’s length as you work is very useful. This can be your pens, notebook, charger, chapstick, etc. Also, keep snacks close by. This will ensure that you won’t be working on an empty stomach and that you will have enough fuel to keep on going without getting sidetracked by that rumbling in your tummy. Staying hydrated is important too! Always keep a water bottle nearby.
5. HAVE A WORK AREA THAT IS CLEAN AND COMFORTABLE
You need an official working space if you want to be a successful work at home mom. You need to allocate a certain area where you can fully concentrate and treat that space just like your office…because it is!
If you have a home office you are totally ahead of the game! For me, most of the time I work in bed. We don’t have a designated office, so the best with what I have. I have a drawer in my nightstand with all of my work goodies and what is more comfortable than your bed? Am I right?
6. TAKE TIME FOR YOUR KIDDOS
My little guy is my "why." What is the point of working at home if I don't get to spend any time with him? Although, I find I am more productive if I keep work and playtime separate, it is so important to take time to be with your kids, even if you have to put it on your schedule.
I like to be focused on my little guy during meal times and then have at least one to two hours of uninterrupted playtime with him during the day. The other times we play in his room and if he is content to play independently I do whatever work I can from my phone. Take advantage of these moments and interact with them.
7. GET A GOOD AMOUNT OF SLEEP EVERY NIGHT
I am seriously the worst at this one. Most nights I am up working until 12:30 or 1:00. My goal for this next month is to be to bed by 12:00 each night.
If you are like me you may be tempted to keep on working till the wee hours of the night. I’m speaking from experience and this is exhausting. It is so hard on your body and if you keep it up for too long eventually your body will crash.
Sleep is super important to retain learned information and to work efficiently. Your health needs to be a priority!
8. LISTEN TO MUSIC
It is entirely up to you if you would like to do this, but I find that music helps me focus. I have Pandora stations based on what type of work I am doing. When I am doing writing based work I listen to classical music, if I am editing graphics I like upbeat pop songs and when I do research I like to listen to my country station. It depends on your taste and what kind of music you prefer, but pick songs and make a playlist that keeps you going and help you focus.
9. HAVE A NOTEBOOK READY
As you go about your day doing chores or spending time with your kids, there are times when you will have a stroke of genius! These moments of brilliance often come out of nowhere and you need to write it down! You don’t need to carry around a physical notebook with you. There are tons of free apps and tools you can use to record your ideas, a few that I use are...
10. HAVE BLOGS AND SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULED AHEAD OF TIME
Make sure you never run out of ideas. It is good to plan ahead for the next week and not have to worry about searching for what’s next. For social media posts, you can use scheduling tools that you can fill up ahead of time.
A few tools you can use to schedule your posts are...
Or...I just recently implemented this new scheduling hack I learned from Suzi at Start A Mom Blog. It is a bit tricky to set up but it is like the free version of Meet Edgar.
11. GET CONTRIBUTORS
If your work tasks are starting to get too overwhelming to be done all by yourself, consider getting contributors. It is good to find fresh new ideas and seeing ways that your business can grow. Make sure to find people who you can relate to and that they understand exactly what you want from them for your business.
I’m working on scheduling a few guest posts in the next couple months! If you are interested in doing a guest post please check out my guest post guidelines.
12. TRACK YOUR TIME
It is so easy for time to slip away. Many nights I used to stay up late working on projects only to wonder hours later what I really had accomplished. I then started using Toggl to track my hours. In Toggl you are able to break down your time by what activity you are working on. This helps me understand where most of my time is going. From there I narrow down ways to make these processes more efficient.
Consider giving yourself an allotted amount of time to get a project done. This should be shorter than what you estimate it usually takes you to complete. Set a timer or watch your time in Toggl and you will become more productive as your race the clock.
13. EVALUATE YOUR WASTE
What steals your focus and wastes time?
I used to get caught up with my emails forever! It would take me so much time to weed through my inbox. Then I heard about a free tool called Unroll Me. This helps you clean up your inbox by unsubscribing you from multiple email newsletters at a time! Although a few still fall through the cracks this does a great job of removing unwanted emails from your inbox.
Before I started automating the my pinning I would waste so much time on Pinterest! The majority of my Pinterest scheduling is automated with BoardBooster, but I still like to go on and add fresh pins every day.
Lastly, my worst time suck of all. Facebook. I will head over to my saved posts to check in on an interesting thread. Then you know highway hypnosis? I get facebook hypnosis. The time has passed, but I have no idea how I got to watching cat videos.
14. BATCH SCHEDULE
Seriously, batch #AllTheThings! This applies to your home and business responsibilities/ For me, I have a laundry day where I crank out all of our laundry for the week. That way I don’t have those, “Oh Crap, I’m out of clean underwear!” moments (Don’t lie! You’ve been there!). Another of time saver is to do your week's meal prep all at once!
In business my a few of my favorite things to batch are...
- Scheduling social media
- Creating graphics
- Brainstorming blog post topics
15. MAKE STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS
As a WAHM we are pressed for time. We don’t have a million hours to work on tedious projects or scour the internet for days trying to figure out how to fix the latest problems in our biz. I’m about as thrifty as they come, but I finally had to break down and switch from only free tools to a few paid ones. As soon as I did my business started to take off.
Here are a few investments that will make your life so much easier (some starting at just $5).
E-mail Automation -
MailChimp offers a free plan up to your first 2000 followers. This does not however include all of their automation features. To get those super special features is $10 a month. This allowed me to set up content upgrades to send to my email list. I’ve met some of my favorite blogging buddies by having a system for my email list.
ConvertKit is another email alternative. Their plans are a bit more expensive (starts at $29/month), but their systems have more features which can also make your processes move faster.
Social Media Scheduling -
This is THE hack that will save you the most time. I upgraded to the paid plan on Buffer. It is only $10 a month and you can schedule out 100 posts per social media channel. For me, that is about a month's worth.
Another lifesaver is Pinterest Scheduling. The two big players are Tailwind and BoardBooster. If you have established boards and are really pressed for time I recommend checking out BoardBooster. You literally set up your systems for looping and campaigns, forget about it and watch your Pinterest account grow. BoardBooster has plans starting at $5 a month. Best $5 I’ve ever spent.
There is so much information on the internet, but I personally don’t have thousands of hours to sift through it all. This month I finally broke down and purchased a few courses in order to get my business organized, monetized and legal.
First, I purchased Trello for Business from Think Creative Collective. This course was only $29 and it really helped me to get my business organized. I’m in no way affiliated with this course, but I found it to be incredibly helpful. It comes with built-in Trello board templates and cards that making organizing your business a breeze.
Second, I purchased Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. When I started this blog, I knew that I wanted to diversify my income streams. This course is created by Michelle of Making Sense of Cents. I have followed her blog for years and have been inspired by her MASSIVE income reports (we are talking $50,000+ per month.). When she launched her course in July I knew I had to get it. Within two days I had my first affiliate sale, and two weeks later I had already made over $200 in affiliate sales (not bad for a blog that is just over 1 month old!).
Third, I highly recommend Blog and Be Legal from Jackie of Jade and Oak. I don’t know about you, but the law totally intimidates me. I knew I wanted my blog to be a business and when you start making money from your blog there are tons of legal ramifications if you are not careful.
Plus, she is throwing in legal templates for disclosure statements, privacy statements, and terms and conditions. These usually sell for $350 alone on her website.
Working at home is a BUSY life, but a great one. What do you do to be more productive?
P.S. Want to know more of the tools that help me run my businesses? Check out these tools (most of them are FREE!)