5 Things That Help Me Stay Motivated and Productive as a Work From Home Mom
I have recently transitioned my photography business from part-time to full-time and work exclusively out of my home for the time being. In the future, my office will be in a separate location, which will help, but even then, I’m my own boss and set my own expectations.
And let me tell you - sometimes it is HARD to stay motivated and get work done. There are always dishes in the sink, toys that could get picked up, laundry that could be folded and Netflix that could be watched. Whether you work from home occasionally, exclusively or work for yourself or someone else, I am sure that everyone could use a dose of motivation and focus from time to time.
So, here are my best tips for staying motivated and getting things done in this busy thing we call life.
1. Plan your day. I do my best to plan out the items I need to get done each day at the beginning of the week. At the very latest, the night before. It makes it so much easier to get started in the morning if I already know what I need to do, as opposed to sifting through yesterday’s tasks to figure out what comes next.
2. Write it down. Writing out your tasks or time blocks for the day not only helps to remember them, but also helps to hold you accountable. It can be hard to ignore a task when it’s staring you in the face. Added bonus: it’s satisfying to cross it off when you’re done.
3. Add a motivational quote to your week. I know this one seems a little cheesy, but I love it. I have added a quote to my planner each week and try to read it each morning. You can also put it on your signboard for the week or on a sticky note at your desk. It can be something simple like, “Choose Joy,” to remind me to find a way to enjoy in the tasks I need to complete (they have to get done either way). Or something more lengthy like, “I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active, show up more often” from Brian Tracy.
4. Time block your schedule. Its a little work up front, but I took the tasks that I need to do to run my business and listed them according to how often they need to be done. Then, I used an empty calendar to plan out a four week rotation. Daily tasks go on every day. Weekly tasks get added to a specific day of the week (Mondays are for editing, Tuesdays are for continuing education, Wednesdays are for… etc). Lastly, monthly tasks get filled in throughout the month in the extra spaces. This helps to ensure that occasional tasks don’t get missed and that I can get them off my mind because I know they are scheduled for another day.
5. Set an alarm on your phone. Science says that we actually perform better when given short breaks throughout the day. I’m not talking about reading 6 chapters of your favorite book during the work day. I’m talking about taking no more than 10 minutes every hour to get up, stretch, grab a glass of water or just rest your eyes. It might sound counterintuitive, but taking breaks refreshes your brain and leads to being able to get more done as you will be less fatigued later in the day. Setting an alarm for breaks and for getting back to work helps me to stay on track.
Side note: I also use this when trying to get things done with the kiddos home. I will set my alarm and let them know that I have to work until the alarm goes off (usually no more than 30 minutes), but that when the alarm goes off it’s their time. Then, I set the alarm again for the time we can play together (anywhere from 15-30 minutes). It helps them to respect the time that I need to work, and it helps me to sneak in some extra play time with them without getting too far off track.