You may not know this about me, but I’m a work-from-home-mom. I run my business in-between school, naps, and meal times. Some days it’s almost impossible to get anything done. In the early days of my business, I ended every day feeling like I had accomplished nothing.
"I knew that if I wanted my business to succeed, I needed to make some changes."
I could have easily given up on my business and my dreams, but I would have been giving up a part of me. And I had already given up so much. If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Being a mom is the best feeling in the world and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. To me, my business is just an extension of the person that I am. It brings me joy. Isn’t that what we all hope for, a "job" that we love?
I didn’t let this feeling drag me down. I realized I needed to treat my business like a business and not something I only did during nap time. I got serious and started doing a few things that have really helped me stay focused on my business. As a result, my business has grown more than I could have imagined.
Make a work schedule and stick with it.
When you work from home, there is a never-ending list of things that need to be done. Dishes and laundry pile up. If your kids are like mine, they need snacks every 30 minutes. One thing that has worked for me is creating a “work schedule” and sticking with it.
Choose a time of the day that you do your best work. For me, that is the morning. Block yourself off a few hours to focus on work.
One technique that I have found that really helps me get work done is the Pomodoro Technique. This technique was developed in the 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo. The basics of this technique are when you sit down to work set a timer for 25 minutes. Once the timer goes off, take a break for 5 minutes. Do anything you want during that break. Go to the bathroom, make a cup of coffee, stalk your ex on Facebook. Whatever you want to do! When your 5 minutes are up, set the timer for another 25 minutes.
Keep up this schedule of work-then-break until you have finished your tasks. The key is to turn off all distractions during your 25-minute work time. Pick a task and stick with it for the full 25 minutes. I have been able to get more work done in less time since I’ve started using this technique.
Automate Your Business.
When you’re a small business owner, you tend to wear many hats in your business. We know how we want things done, and it can be hard to let go of that control and let others help us. Automation tools give you control of certain tasks. They also free up your schedule for more of what matters. Some of my favorite automation tools are:
Be on the lookout for future posts that review these automation tools!
Take a Break.
If I try to sit at my computer and write for too long, my brain turns to mush. That's when I know I need a break.
Exercise is a great way to get your blood pumping and get your brain working again. I try to get in at least 30 minutes of some type of exercise every day. I take my dog for a walk, exercise in my living room, or chase my kids around the house.
When I'm not exercising, I'm usually doing chores. My favorite thing to do while cleaning is listening to podcasts. Podcasts help me stay motivated and up-to-date on the latest industry trends. They also help me forget that I’m doing chores. So, there’s that!
The most important break I take all day is to spend time with my kids. I have tea parties and battle dinosaurs between projects. A healthy balance between work and life is so important when you work from home.
If you work from home, you know how lonely and isolating it can be. If you do nothing else on this list, please find a good support system with others in your industry.
Social media is a great place to find other entrepreneurs and small business owners like you. Search Facebook for groups that interest you. Some groups are better than others, but if you find a good group, stay in it. You will be amazed at how supportive complete strangers can be.
Another great way to meet others is by joining meet-up groups and networking events. My local library has a book club meeting once a week. The Chamber of Commerce also holds monthly get-togethers for local businesses.
Make sure you choose groups that are familiar with the industry you are in. For me, I join copywriting groups. The most supportive groups will be those that understand what you are going through.
Take time for you.
Above all, make time for yourself. You wouldn’t think it, but working from home can get to you after a while. Get out and enjoy things you love.
Go for a hike.
Get your nails done.
Go on a weekend holiday.
Netflix and chill.
Go to a local winery.
I love everything about working from home. It can get crazy and hectic at times. There are days when I work long hours and feel like I have nothing to show for it. Using the techniques listed above has really helped me stay focused and motivated. My business has never been better!