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I'm April the #CreativeMomista • A Vintage Soul passionate about living a simple life with a modern approach to business and branding

How To Manage Working From Home Without Going Insane

How To Manage Working From Home Without Going Insane

When I became a full time work at home mom in 2011 I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had worked in corporate America since I was 19 years old. I did not go to college for I was in too big of a hurry to get out on my own. Live the glamorous independent life. Over the years my experience led to working for an oil and gas company in their in-house law department. It was a good job but the commute was long and my creative side was longing for something more. The "what" I had no clue but after my first son was born in 2005 I started searching for a way to work from home. Have more flexibility. Be my own boss. Become of the CEO of ME, Inc. 

In 2011 I lost my job and while I was scared out of my ever loving mind to make the decision not to go on the hunt for another j.o.b. I knew this was my chance. It was now or never and I was determined to go for it. To take that leap of faith and build my wings on the way down. As Marie Forleo says "Everything is Figureoutable".

While I was fired up about finally living my dream, being home with my son, not punching a clock, trading hours for dollars and having the title of Pajama Executive, I was not prepared for the havoc that not having a schedule would reap in my life. There is something to be said for having structure and accountability. Working for someone else meant that I knew I had to be at a certain place at a certain time. Rolling out of bed with only myself to answer to makes it extremely easy to borrow a famous line from Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind "I can't think about that now. I will think about that tomorrow". 

I am not a list maker or someone who thrives on a tight schedule. I am a true free spirit who likes to fly by the seat of her creative pants but I knew that to keep myself on track with my goals, focused and more importantly productive, I had to put some kind of schedule together. I found myself working all the time. Always needing to be plugged into social media so I did not miss anything. There was no separation between home and work. 

You won't see the word "balance" anywhere in this blog post. I actually hate the word. I find it to be unrealistic. I tried to find "balance" for a lot of years and put myself through a lot of self hate at how badly I was failing in this area. Finally one day I just made the decision that my role as a mom, wife, friend, taxi driver, grocery hauler, maid, full time business owner, branding coach, daughter, sister made finding balance impossible. I could only focus on living more intentionally and keeping my priorities and core values straight. So stop beating yourself up over trying to find this magical thing called balance in your life that is going to make you feel like you are holding it all together and doing it well and instead get your priorities straight. I hope these tips will help you do that. 

What I want to share is what my daily schedule looks like, for the most part. Not every day goes as planned but having a schedule that is written down keeps me focused and on track because I can easily go off in another direction that is not productive or income producing, like drooling over home office designs on Pinterest. While pinning stunning office designs is fun, its not very income producing. 

Whether you love to write your schedule down on paper like I do {I use a 5 subject spiral notebook, I know fancy right?! lol} or you are more techie and want to use an app like Evernote, bottom line is to do what works for you. 

MY TYPICAL DAY

6:30 a.m. The kids and I are usually up at this time, especially during the school year. I drink a cup of hot lemon water or dandelion root tea. This is a great detox for the body and has numerous health benefits especially first thing in the morning. 

8:30 a.m. During the school year I stop at our local track at the school to run. If I don't get some form of exercise in before I get home I will get so busy that it just will not get done. 

9:45 a.m. I get home and immediately put on a load of laundry. It is my goal to wash 1-2 loads every day so it does not pile up. I make my bed. There is just something about having a bed made that instantly lifts my mood. I eat breakfast, make a cup of coffee and start my devotional time. I love the 5 First App from Proverbs 31 Ministries and the Sarah Young Jesus Calling Devotional. I love candles so I will usually light one of my favorites. It too is a great mood lifter for me. If music is your jam, put together a play list on Spotify or iTunes that you can play softly in the background to inspire you. 

10:45 a.m. I start my "work" day. I have a social media plan that I follow to keep myself on track. Scheduling posts for my Facebook fan page, Instagram post, what day I will write a blog post {I usually blog once a week}, LinkedIn post, Pinterest scheduled pins, If I will write a guest blog post for another blog, Facebook groups that I network in. Your business will not grow if you are not creating valuable content for your audience. In my 5 Subject Notebook I also have a marketing plan written out for every day of the week, the type of content I will post and how many times I will post.

The key to staying on track is to not get caught up in things that are not income producing. Getting into political debates on social media and gossiping with other business owners will not grow your business. You have to learn to put on a big fat filter to what goes on and learn to let that crazy nonsense go.  

1:30 p.m. I try to shut everything down and unplug for some self care time {and why its so important for me to stay on track for the 3 hours I have to work}. For me that is yoga that I do at home. I have been working hard on my inner work, slowing down for more meditation, more patience. Yoga is helping me with that. 

2:30 p.m. is time for me to unplug and pick up my kids from school. For the rest of the afternoon I try very hard to put my phone and computer away to make my kids a priority. I also work on finishing up a load of laundry and straighten up around the house before getting started with dinner. 

3:00 p.m. - Bedtime is family and dinner time. 

Bedtime: I will spend an hour on some form of personal development. Reading a book that I have downloaded on my Kindle app or a blog post that I saved to read for later. I do not watch much television. I just don't find it a good use of my time or stimulating to my intellect to watch the news, sitcoms or "reality" T.V. I would rather use that time to fill myself up spiritually and mentally. When I am learning I am growing. When I am growing I can better help others. 

This is what a typical Monday - Thursday looks like. Fridays are my day to go grocery shopping, self care time for myself, run errands, finish up chores around the house, etc. I strive to work hard on my business 4 days out of the week so I can unplug on the weekends for family time, fun, church and to recharge my batteries. 

Do my days always go as planned? No because life is unpredictable. If I can only work an hour I make the best use of that hour. I know what I need to get done in my business to drive results and yes there are some days that I just need to take a step back and take a self care day. Its okay to do that every so often. Should it be a habit no, growing a business takes consistency but taking care of you should also be a consistent habit. 

My days are of course a little different during the summer when the kids are home v. the school year. I have to be a little more flexible as I have more distractions but I stay on track as much as possible. I give my kids my focus when they need it and when they give me a break I sit down, cut out any distractions and tackle my list getting as much done as a can. Consistency is important but so is having a fun enjoyable summer as a family.  

Another tip would be saying "NO" to multi-tasking. It has become a very dirty word in my life. I struggle with it but know that the more I try to multi-task the more poorly I am managing my time. I need to be fully present for my priorities. When I am working I need to make that time a priority and do it well. When its family time I need to give my time to them and make it a priority. This means putting away my phone and other distractions. 

The beauty of having a system and knowing what drives results and revenue into your business means you can work smarter not harder. The goal is to automate your business as much as possible so you are not glued to your phone and computer all day. 

Now its your turn.

1. Write out what a typical day looks like for you and start filling in the hours that you have to work your business, family time and other obligations. 

2. Next identify what drives results in your business. What your daily action items are that bring in clients, customers and revenue. Map out what days you will focus on personal stuff like organizing your office and house work duties. If you can hire a maid and take some of that load off of you that is great. If not, there are some great housework hacks that can help on my Life Hacks For Intentional Living Pinterest board. 

3. Create a detailed marketing plan for your business to keep you focused on the daily steps you need to take to drive results. You can refer to this plan daily so you stay on track, minimize distractions and keep productivity high. 

5. Communicate your schedule and goals to your family. Including them will create more understanding and cooperation. Don't be afraid to give your kids chores to help out around the house. Be sure to do your part. When you say you are going to unplug between certain times of the day, ensure you keep your word as not to create resentment or hard feelings.   

5. Be gentle with yourself. Oprah was not built in a day and your business won't either. If you need to launch a fan page work on that until its done. If you need to launch your blog put your focus and energy there until you can cross that off your list. If you need to master a new platform like Pinterest or Instagram take a course to help you shorten your learning curve. 

The point that I am getting at is don't have 10 projects going on at once. When you have too many irons in the fire it will just slow down your progress and lead to frustration. Know that launching and marketing a business takes time. A lot of grueling up front grunt work but the long term pay off is so worth it. When you focus on one big project at a time and cross it off your list you will feel more accomplished. 

If you are a new mom with a new born or going through that active toddler stage know that your schedule will have hiccups often and that is okay. A new baby and curious 2 year old demand a lot of time but they are only little once. Work your business but enjoy being a mom too. Do what you can when you can. When you do have time to work be focused and intentional. Stay off your Facebook newsfeed and work on finishing that blog post so you can publish it. When the baby is napping shoot a video with a valuable tip and get it loaded on YouTube. Its not about how much time you have, its about what you do with your time.  

Hang in there. Its okay for you to not have it all together all the time. Its okay to be a hot mess sometimes. I think I could be a co-founder of that club so know that you are not alone. Remember its about the journey. Its about honoring the space between where you have been and where you are going. Its about where you are now and the beautiful transformation that is happening in your personal growth. My hope is that you will love yourself through it. 

Did you find these tips helpful in managing life as a work at home mom and keeping your sanity? Be sure to pin this article to reference again and leave me a comment, would greatly value your feedback xo


April Williams is the #CreativeMomista and Soulpreneur of 2 boys + whimsical wavemaker + creative expressive + Texas country girl + branding junkie who loves green mint tea + horses + fuzzy socks + surrounding herself with high achieving amazing women + peppermint anything + the color red + cozy coffee shops. She is a branding strategist for creative women entrepreneurs and founder of Creative Brandista™ . 

Imagine. Create. Inspire.

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