Tips To Make Working From Home Work For You

Women's Money Week 2012 Participant

This post is a part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about entrepreneurship and making money , see womensmoneyweek.com.

Working from home sounds like a great idea to many because it is a flexible job where one can be their own boss but it does require a lot of time, effort and self-discipline. I spend about 60-80 hours a week working from home between my business, my blog, and my part-time job, along with being a mom to two little boys which is my most important job of all. I wanted to share 6 tips on how I {try} to make it work in hopes that it will help some of you who are considering working from home.

Keep a to-do list and a calendar: Whether kept electronically or written down on paper and pen, keeping yourself scheduled and your tasks written down is probably the biggest thing that you can do to keep yourself sane and get anything accomplished. There are so many methods on how to keep a calendar and to-do list that you really just have to test different ones out and figure out what works for you. Personally, I like to use two different items. I have my planner where I keep all of my meetings, appointments, and events and also keep track of all my children’s school activities, therapies, and playdates. I then have a separate to-do notebook where I have one sheet for every two days to keep track of what needs to be done when. This is where I list phone calls I need to make, posts I need to write, emails I need to send, and the like.

Schedule your “work” time: Along the lines of the first tip, it’s important to schedule yourself and then stick to your schedule {as best you can with children and other last minute things that come up}. When you work from home it’s so easy to accept invitations from friends or lengthy phone calls but if you are scheduled to work you need to tell that person that you are working and find another time to go out to lunch or call your friend to chit-chat for an hour. When I make my schedule I don’t do it down to the minute, but instead have hour chunks of time that I focus on tasks. My suggestion is to try and switch tasks frequently so you are more productive and attentive to the task you are working on.

Create a space for working: When working from home it’s important to have a space dedicated to business. It could be a room, a small portion of a room, or even a desk in the closet. Whatever you can find to call your “office”. I have an upstairs loft that I work in most of the time but when my family is upstairs I will sometimes sneak down to the TV room to relax on the couch while I work. Having a space for working will help you keep organized and focused on your work and will keep you from getting sidetracked on the laundry, the dirty dishes, and the rest of the household chores.

Work when you can, where you can: I’d love to work Monday through Friday during the day and relax with my family at night and on the weekends but it’s just not possible during this time of my life. My schedule varies weekly and I work many weekends. I take advantage of naptime, bedtime, and Sinisa’s days off to work. I get work done in the car while I’m sitting in the preschool pickup line, at the pool while my son is having water therapy, and while my kids are eating lunch. You just have to be creative with your time and squeeze in emails and work whenever you can.

Realize you can’t do it all: There may come a time when you can’t do everything yourself and you may need to ask for help or let something go. It’s okay. You just have to decide what is important to you and what’s not as important and what you need to do as opposed to what you can pass on to someone else. For me, my family and friends and my blog/job are the most important and I decided that my “domestic” duties weren’t as important. Many of the household jobs could be done by someone else unlike my job as mother and blogger/business owner. I realize I can’t be the perfect homemaker and that’s okay with me. Sinisa likes to cook so most of the time he is the one who makes dinner. You can also hire people to help with the aspects of business you don’t know much about or don’t have time to do. Living Your Moment, a business I co-own, was created to help support mom business owners. We grow Twitter and Facebook accounts, run blog review campaigns, and provide many other services for business owners so they can focus on running their businesses.

Make time for yourself and your family: Amidst all the working, don’t forget to take care of yourself and spend time with your family. Do something for yourself every day whether it’s taking time to read a book, pamper yourself, or exercise. If you aren’t well, your business will suffer. Making time for your family is also important. Carve out time to spend with them each day. Cuddle with your little ones on the couch while watching a movie, play a game, or spend time in the kitchen making dinner together.

I hope I have given you some ideas on how to make working from home work for you. If you work from home and have other ideas of what works for you I would love for you to leave a comment below.

Giveaway: Book For Work At Home Moms

Announcing a new giveaway…. I have two copies of the book, I Love My Life: A Mom’s Guide to Working from Home to share with you all. I received the books from my dad who got them from his BNI (Business Networking) group and didn’t know what to do with them so I took them off his hands :)

I haven’t read my copy of the book yet since I just got them a couple days ago but it looks like it has a lot of information that I could use in my blogging “business”- especially the chapter on balancing work and home.

The chapters included in this book are titled:

1) Work-At-Home Opportunities

2) How To Discover Your Passion

3) Creating a Business Game Plan

4) Starting Your Home-Based Business

5) Setting Up and Organizing Your Home Office

6) Running Your Business

7) Building a Business Website

8) Creating a Powerful Marketing Strategy

9) Raising Your Toddler Start Up to a Grown Up Business

10) Work/Life Success Strategies

11) Beyond Your Living Room: The Bigger Picture

image courtesy amazon.com

Now for the methods of entry available (be sure to leave a comment for each one):

1) Subscribe to my blog via RSS

2) Became a fan of my blog on facebook

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Tell me what job you do from home (or would like to do from home)

5) Comment on another one of my posts and let me know here which one you commented on

6) Tweet: “I just entered to win a book for WAHMs from @aliciamarie112 and you can too! http://wp.me/pibQB-h9”

7) Grab my button (to the right) and add it to your blog

This giveaway ends on April 30, 2010 at 11:59pm. The winner will be drawn at random and emailed the first week of May. Good luck!

(Disclosure: I received these books for free from my dad because I asked for them. The person who gave them to him didn’t know that I would end up with them and be featuring the book on my blog and doing a giveaway.)