If you are a work at home mom, one of the things you may struggle with more often than not is the ability to actually be productive. Fortunately, there are a few essentials that can help you boost your productivity, thus increasing your income. Here are five essentials that the work at home mom can’t live without.
This article is brought to you by a work at home mom with a toddler and one on the way. All items mentioned are things I have used to get the most productivity out of each day as a freelance writer.
Your Own Office Space
Having a room in your house that is a dedicated office space is the ideal solution, but that can be hard to come by, especially if you live in a smaller property. This is why I reference your own office space. This can be any room in the house that you can close the door and use as an office when you need to work.
Maybe it’s an office you share with your husband, but your husband doesn’t use it when you need it. Maybe it’s a portion of your bedroom that has room for a desk and a laptop. Maybe it’s an unused walk-in closet with a window.
Whatever room or space you choose, make sure it’s not something that is a high traffic area, such as your living room or a corner of your kid’s playroom. Nothing will kill productivity like constant interference and interruption.
If you are fortunate enough to have your own room for an office, make it a space you truly love. Paint the walls something inspiring. Get a great desk and office chair, bookshelves for your books, and maybe even plushy chair and a half for a comfy thinking space. Make it the perfect you space.
Set Work Hours
A lot of work at home moms (myself included) start out with the “I’ll work when I can” schedule. I’ll work when the kids are asleep, or I’ll work when my husband gets home, after dinner, and if he’s in a good mood. These, unfortunately, are not the stable hours you need for productivity.
While most work at home moms chose to be work at home moms in order to escape the rigidity of a schedule, sometimes it’s not the best of ideas. Having set work hours each day will help you get your body into the rhythm of being focused on work during a specified time of day (kind of like those who work a 9 – 5 job). It will also help get everyone in your household in sync with your schedule so they know when it is ok to talk to mom, and when she needs to be left alone.
Someone to Watch Your Kids
If the kids aren’t in school and still need supervision, then you’ll need someone who can watch them. This could be your spouse, your in-laws, a daycare, or an in-house nanny. If you’re not sure to committing to the expense, calculate it this way.
How much are you making now, trying to work with constant interruptions or at odd hours? How much would you make if you had a set number of hours that you knew you could work each day? Does the latter minus childcare fees equal more than the former?
The trouble with your spouse, in-laws, or non-paid sitters is that they tend to overstep the boundaries of work time unintentionally. They either need to let you have your set work hours free of interruptions (with exception to emergencies), or you need to hire someone who will allow you that time and space.
If you’re nervous about sending your kids off to someone else’s house or daycare, hire someone who can come to you. Care.com is a great site to start looking for the right person to work with your kids. If you’re still nervous about even that, invest in a Dropcam. This little camera just needs a power outlet, and it will feed live video through your wireless network to your computer or mobile device. It makes for a great baby monitor at night too! If you’re curious about the implications of having a hidden camera or nanny cam, this article will help.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
No matter who is watching your kids, unless you’re in a guest house, you’re still going to hear all of the noises – Disney Jr., running around, crying, etc. Even if you know you’re not responsible for them during your work time, you’ll still worry and be distracted.
Noise cancelling headphones can help turn any work environment into a peaceful one. It’s best to test them out at a local electronics store – Bose is one of the best you can buy. While they are pricey, Bose does offer a 6 or 12-month payment plan to make them a little more affordable.
If you’re the type that gets distracted by listening to music while working, try listening to some white noise. There are songs and albums dedicated to different types of white noise on iTunes, or you can just go to RainyMood.com to hear the endless (and free) sounds of rain.
Time to Yourself
Outside of work hours and time with family, you need some time to yourself too: time to exercise, get a regular massage, read, do some yoga, meditate, etc. If you give yourself a little breather each day, even if it is a half hour of light reading before bed and a half hour of exercise in the morning, your overall mood and health will benefit. Improving both will also boost your work productivity and happiness level.
What are some other must haves that you use as a work at home mom? Please share in the comments!.