Do you work from home?
Maybe you’re deciding that the best option right now is to work from home. Whatever your circumstances are, having the option to stay home as a mom and work can be the best decision you can make.
You see, I’m a work at home mom, and I have twins. They just turned four-years-old. I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer for a little over two years. This isn’t anything new in our family. My husband has always worked from home for as long as I can remember.
We are an entrepreneurial family 🙂
But, this doesn’t mean every day is full of unicorns and rainbows. Some days I’m knee-deep in client work, and my twins have to stay inside all day.
Other days, I’m busy all morning doing chores and cooking. And still, on other days I spend time with my twins going outside to play, do activities and have all around funness.
But, it’s hard. It’s a challenge.
I have more stress as a work-at-home mom. There are deadlines, invoices to send out, scheduling to be done and batch work to get started.
On top of that, laundry is piling up, dishes need to go in the dishwasher, and my twins need to get changed for the day.
I also feel guilty when I work. It’s a little better now, after two years, but in the beginning, I felt guilty when I thought about work while playing with my twins or thinking about the upcoming doctor visit while trying to do a conference call.
So, why am I still a work-at-home mom? It’s simple. I know that I’m providing a better life for my family.
I’m able to stay home, cook all their meals, put them down for a nap, play with them and just be there for them all day, every day.
I do most of my work when they sleep, which isn’t a lot now that they no longer nap!
Because of such a small window of time to do my client work and personal projects – like my blog – I’ve learned how to maximize my time, so I’m ultra productive.
If you are struggling to balance everything, check out these five hacks to make your work more productive.
1. Create Templates
Templates are a lifesaver for me. Whether it’s blog post headlines, a swipe file of pitches to send to prospects or just a template for my blog images, it saves me oodles of time in my day, guaranteed.
Part of being a writer is pitching. I write for native digital companies, and when I want to pick up more work, I can pitch my services to different companies.
Instead of crafting a new pitch each and every time, I can use a basic template and personalize it each time.
I like to use Evernote to store some of my templates.
One other way I save globs of time with templates is with my blog images. I have a certain way that I create my blog images. I use the same font, size, color and I usually create two to three different images per blog post.
This not only helps me brand my blog, but it saves me from doing one image at a time; I can do all of them at once in Photoshop.
2. Track Your Time
Did you know that there are a lot of distractions when you work at home? The phone rings, your child needs you, your sister comes over to chit chat, there are emails to read, you need to remember to create a newsletter this week, and the list can go on and on.
What if I told you that if you tracked your time for each task that you do, you’d double your productivity?
The first thing you do is list the first task you need to do and a start time. Once that’s down, you get down to work.
When you’re finished, you put the end time and write a new task. You do this until all your tasks are finished for the day, or for the week!
For me, I like to use a time tracker like Toggl to show me how long it takes me to do each of my tasks for my clients.
3. Use the Pomodoro Technique
Let me tell you something mamas – we have a built-in Pomodoro!!
Okay, let me back up. If you have no idea what I’m talking about that’s okay. The Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity by breaking down your day into 25-minute blocks called a Pomodoro.
Now, I don’t know about you, but my twins know exactly when 25 minutes is up because that’s when they come into my workspace and ask me a question. Your children are your built-in Pomodoro!!
After each 25-minute work period, you take a 5-10 minute break. Get up, drink some water, do a couple jumping jacks, run around with your child and just let loose.
After 4 or 5 Pomodoros, you can take a longer break. This can be time to get lunch or supper ready, fold a load of laundry, do an activity with your child or go to the park for an outing.
I love using the Pomodoro technique because, during the day, I can focus on my personal projects like promoting my blog posts, writing emails, creating newsletters and research. When my twins sleep, I can focus on writing.
If you haven’t tried the Pomodoro Technique, you should!
You may not hear a lot about delegating, but I live by outsourcing as much as I can. I have very little time to work, and if I can get someone else to do outreach, editing, research, and prospecting, then that saves me hours in a week.
Right now I have a copyeditor, and my husband helps take care of my websites and invoices.
I’m currently looking for a VA that will handle outreach and some blog management. This will free up more time to work on other projects.
If you are bootstrapping your business or you’re not ready to hire a VA, writer or editor, you can use automation tools.
My personal favorite is Tailwind. It’s a scheduling tool for Pinterest. Since Pinterest is my #1 traffic source, I want to focus my strategy on this platform. Tailwind makes it easy to automate my pinning so I don’t have to spend hours a day pinning my content and other people’s content to group boards and my personal boards.
5. Have Contributors Write Your Blog Post
I have a secret to tell you – when I’m swamped with projects and client work, instead of not writing a blog post for my Twins Mommy blog, I do round up posts.
These posts have been some of my more popular posts on my blog.
And you know what? They don’t take a lot of work. I don’t have to write the post, search for information or even promote it when it’s published!
Of course, rounding up the contributors can take some time, but I usually make a template of the email (J) and either ask them on Facebook or email them directly.
I make sure to include a deadline and the requirements.
I also have a template of the format for these contributor posts (i.e. headshot, subheading with link and link to social media profile) that makes it easy to plug in the information and keep moving.
Another version of having contributors write your blog post is having a guest blogger write a post. You don’t have to open your blog for guest posting, but if you are working on a product like a course, then it might be a good idea to line up some guest posts on your blog.
For example, Krista of blog beautifully occasionally has guest posters on her site, which can free up some time for her to focus on other things.
Time to Get Working Mamas!
There ya go! Five hacks to get more work done while working from home. Whether it’s using templates to speed your blogger outreach, using the Pomodoro technique to boost your productivity, tracking your time, getting contributors for your post, or delegating and outsourcing work to free up more time for other things, just doing one of these things will maximize your productivity and get you more efficient.
Now it’s your turn – tell me your number #1 hack for getting work down as a work-at-home mom.
Elna Cain is a first-time mom to twins. Once she was able to get uninterrupted sleep, coffee and a few minutes to herself, she started her own freelance business. When she’s not working for her clients or when her twins are sleeping, she helps moms become successful mompreneurs as a blog and biz strategist. Make sure to grab your guide of 190+ free resources to grow your blog like a weed!
Connect with Elna here: https://facebook.com/twinsmommyblog