Multitasking moms, more and more, work two jobs from home: The one with the salary, and the one with the saliva.
Running a household and raising the kids is a full-time job. But the other job, pursuing a professional career from a home office, is the one that pays for the diapers.
From medical transcriptionists to customer service representatives, there’s an at-home mom able and willing to do a lot of important jobs from home. If you’re one of them, you know that it can be quite the juggling act. So, here are a few tips for the work-at-home mom to make that “home work” even more productive.
Know when to ignore the mess. Undone household chores, to you, are like a green light to a Formula One driver. But if you don’t put down that mop and turn on the computer, your career will stall. Which leads us to the next tip …
Organize your work. Being a natural multitasker doesn’t mean you’ll get everything done well and done on time. So start with a to-do list, one that includes not only your work obligations but also your regular household chores. Having a list before you not only ensures that you don’t forget to pick up Junior from kindergarten in the rush to meet work deadlines. It also allows you to see your tasks as manageable objectives that will require manageable chunks of your time. Seeing everything prioritized in list form prevents you from getting overwhelmed.
Don’t get flustered by interruptions. If you have a baby, work interruptions are inevitable. Don’t just expect them—anticipate them. Come to see them as unscheduled breaks; if you don’t you’ll only end up frustrated, angry, distracted and unproductive. Ten minutes is inconsequential in office time, but it means the world to a hungry baby or one who needs that diaper changed. So the secret is to …
Be flexible. “Office hours.” That phrase doesn’t mean a lot when you work outside the office. And working from home is a heck of a juggling act if you have a baby to take care of. Kids can almost tell when you’re trying to focus on your professional life—that’s when they want to eat, play, go to the bathroom … And of course they sleep when it’s convenient for them. Don’t sweat it; learn to work around interruptions. And if you have a baby at home, find his natural sleeping rhythm and try to work within those times—very convenient when you have a baby who’s on flextime, too.
Learn to say NO (in uppercase). It’s too bad so many moms feel uncomfortable saying “no.” It’s too bad so many other people (unconsciously or otherwise) take advantage of this. Just because you work at home doesn’t mean others can assume that you have lots of time for their projects. Just say “no” to the extracurricular commitments until you’re sure there really is time available at the end of the workday.