Over the last year and a half or so I have transitioned from a nurse with no children to a stay at home mom of one to a work at home mom of two. That's simplifying things, of course, and to say that I'm a work at home mom is a bit of a stretch since my work is pretty flexible and might entail a grand total of 10-15 hours/week at its busiest. But it is still something that I take seriously, and I work faithfully at this blog, my writing for Her View From Home, and my budding photography work.
So how do I do it? How do I have two babies under two and still work a bit on the side? How do I take care of them and myself and not crack or neglect one or the other? To be honest, sometimes I don't. I do have to prioritize, of course, and the work is the first to be back-burnered when things become crazy. Actually, that's probably a lie; self-care is probably the first to go, but life quickly escalates and requires that self care be added back in PRONTO.
But, I do have a few tips that help keep me focused, grounded, and motivated, and I thought I'd share my favorites with you today. Maybe something I say now will help you, too. :)
1) Make it fun
Naptime is my work time, and I guard these moments very jealously. I adore my babies, but I still need alone time and a creative outlet, and I find that I become cranky and irritable when I don't have it. I feel like I'm on a secret mission to accomplish all the things during these beautiful two hours in the middle of the day, and I have been known to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. I make it extra fun by quietly playing favorite music or having Netflix going in the background, and I use an exercise ball instead of a desk chair and bounce away while I write and/or edit photos.
2) Create your space
When we first bought our house, I had plans to rip out what has become known as my Momma Desk because it takes up space in the dining room and is kind of awkward with the way it's tucked under the bar. But, over time, I have transformed it into my work space, and I love it now. I have my bulletin board with all my lists, a calendar, a schedule, and a few favorite pictures above my desk, and I love how I can change up what's on it to keep the area feeling fresh and new. That's not to say that I can't work anywhere else; you'll often find me laying on the living room floor, sitting on the couch, standing at the bar, etc to work, but it is nice to have a spot that's "my" work area and is organized exactly how I want it.
3) Have a plan
I'm still using my Target dollar section weekly schedule paper to outline a basic plan for each day, and this helps me so much. I also have a note in Evernote where I add in blog/Her View From Home post ideas. That way, if I go into a work session without a specific writing plan for that day, all I have to do is check this note and pick one. I also have a master to-do list for the month with a loose blog/HVFH schedule. If I plan to write a certain post on a certain day and end up changing my mind in the moment, I just roll that post into the next week or month. Schedules only work for me if there is still the freedom to change and rearrange.
4) Keep it relaxed
This may seem to counter #3, but what I mean by keeping it relaxed doesn't only pertain to my attitude toward the plan or the work but also my environment. I like to burn a candle or diffuse an essential oil while I work, and I like to have fresh flowers on my desk. These two elements make my space enjoyable for me to be in, and, when I enjoy being in a space, I'm much more likely to work well while I'm there.
5) Make it a treat
I like to include a special treat for myself to enjoy while I work. I often will enjoy a cup of tea or hot cider or an iced coffee while I work. This allows me to enjoy every aspect of my work time: the productivity (because I loooovvveeee getting stuff done), the alone-ish time (right now I have a newborn sleeping in the wrap while I write), the creativity, the space, and the work. I can still work without all the frills, but I feel that I benefit the most from my time when all of these things are in place.
Any other WAHMs reading? What are your tips for accomplishing all that you do in a day?