We’ve talked about this before: prioritizing - well, we’ve discussed why it’s important, but not how to do it. After getting several emails from readers about this – and a bunch of tips from several WAHMs, including my blogging friend Aleta from Aleta’s Arty Facts – I decided it was high time we broached this topic. Here are some tried and tested tips on learning to prioritize when you’re a work at home mom. Or dad. Or just a work at home-er. You know what I mean.
Set office hours. One of the biggest things people struggle with when they work from home is keeping the outside world OUT when they’re working. The easiest way to combat this is to set office hours for anyone that interrupts your day – and stick to them. Doing this will also help you to be more productive during the times that you’re supposed to be working. Yes, you can still take breaks to toss in a load of laundry, start dinner, etc. But it avoids taking long phone calls, having people stop by unexpectedly or being guilted into going to the mall when you have work to get done.
Don’t minimize what you do. Aleta has a great tip: she never refers to blogging as just blogging. She refers to it as marketing for her business – another part of running her business. Which is absolutely true. I have multiple clients that hire me solely to create, manage, comment on and write blogs for them because blogging is such a valuable tool in the way that business – especially online business – works today. When you minimize what you do, and say I’m *just* doing this or *just* doing that, you’re sending the message – not just to the person that you’re talking to, but also to yourself – that what you’re doing isn’t important and that you’re wasting valuable time doing this. Which means it sends the message that if you don’t do it – or put it off til later – that it’s not a big deal.
Your work time is flexible. Your time with your family is not. REMEMBER that while your work day might be flexible – which is probably why you chose to BE a WAHM – every minute you take away from completing your work during your office hours is a minute that’s taken away from spending with your family. When you think about things in terms of time with your family, you’ll find yourself guarding your work day quite a bit more than you otherwise would. Example: yes, I realize that I could meet so-and-so at the mall for three hours this afternoon. But that’s three hours that I’m going to have to spend working on Saturday – time when my hubby’s home and we could be doing things together. So I won’t go to the mall because the bigger priority is to get as much work done as possible before the weekend.
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