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6 Ways For Work-At-Home Moms To Stay Motivated

6 Ways For Work-At-Home Moms To Stay Motivated

6 Ways For Work-At-Home Moms To Stay Motivated

Working from home is often touted as an optimal solution for new parents seeking to balance their work and family lives. However, I’m learning that working from home is a double-edged sword. With my son just shy of his first birthday, I recently returned to work on a part-time basis outside of the home. The rest of the time, I work from home and he stays with me.

Juggling work demands with our kids’ needs can be a struggle. It’s hard to stay motivated and be productive with work when you’re managing a household, all the while making sure your kids stay out of trouble while you try to make a call, book an appointment or write an article; and even if your kids are in school or daycare, it’s easy to get distracted (or, I admit, lazy) at home, procrastinate and let your motivation wane.

Fortunately, though, there are steps that can be taken to stay motivated and focused when working from home.  Here are 6 things that I’ve found helpful:

1. Start Your Day By Doing Something For Yourself.

Although no one day will be the same with a baby or kids on board, do your best to have a morning routine, starting with something for you. Whether it’s working out, reading, taking a bath or going for a brisk morning walk before your kids wake up, do something that you enjoy doing to clear your mind and better prepare for a productive work day. This is your ‘me’ time. When you start your day on the right foot and on a positive note, everything that follows is more likely to fall into place.

2. Ditch the Jammies!

This may seem like a silly and odd thing to say, but there’s something about taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning that resets your brain. When the home and work setting is the same, lines are blurred, which makes it harder to switch your mind from home to work mode. Who wouldn’t love to stay in comfortable PJs and slippers all day? For me, getting dressed psychologically marks the start of a business day.

3. Remember That You Do Have a Full-Time Job.

When people asked me if I worked when my maternity leave was over, I found myself stumbling over my words a bit. "Yes, I work, but I work part-time, but also from home, and I’m also a stay-at-home mom, so… no. I mean sort of, actually, yes." If anything, I think that working from home, especially if you have kids home with you, is the equivalent of 2 jobs. I often feel more tired when I work from home and have my son with me than when I work outside of the home, which is something many people don’t understand.

4. Get Out of the House periods 

When I'm home for days on end or long stretches of time, I tend to go stir-crazy. Like a deflated balloon, I start losing motivation and inspiration. When you reach a mental block and your productivity starts going down the drain, a good way to recharge your batteries is to get out of the house. Take a lunch break and go for a walk. If you work from home with your kids, you have an even bigger reason, to get out of the house for a bit; otherwise they’ll likely be bouncing off the walls and preventing you from doing any work. Some fresh air and a change of scenery can do a world of good and give you the mental boost you need to tackle the rest of the day.

5. Make the Most Out of Your Work Time. 

It’s so easy to get distracted with other things when you’re working from home, whether,it’s household chores, personal phone calls, TV etc. Don’t let your own distractions eat up the precious work time you do have – because once your kids are back from school or daycare, it’s hard to get any real work done. Once you break your focus and chain of concentration, it’s easy to lose your motivation. If you work from home with your kids, make the most out of nap time or quiet time and avoid veering off track during those periods.

6. Set an End Time For Work.

When you have a 9-5 job outside of the home, it’s more obvious when it’s quitting time. One of the challenges of working from home is knowing when to stop. At home, you’re always surrounded by tasks that could or should be done. Try to end your work by a certain time and when it’s that time, shut down your computer, turn off your cellphone, and change clothes. Again, this cues your brain to switch back from work to home mode. Personally, having a reasonable time in mind to ‘end the day’ motivates me to be as productive as possible during the day so that I feel less guilty or stressed about leaving things undone at the end of the day and I can enjoy playing with my little man and unwind a little.

Although there’s no foolproof or one-size-fits-all method to avoid motivation slumps when you work from home, the above tricks have helped me tremendously. You‘ll eventually come up with your own techniques to keep yourself motivated. No one knows you better than you know yourself. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable.


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