Productivity Tips for Work at Home Mums

By | March 24, 2017

I’m lucky enough to work from home. As a freelance writer. If I couldn’t, I’m not sure how we’d manage. Hunky Husband works long hours, so pick-ups and drop-offs were all down to me. Which meant I could basically work 10-2 out of the home. Then, there are childcare costs. We can’t afford for me not to work. But, we can’t afford for me to work either.

I feel unbelievably lucky that I can make money writing. But, it’s not always easy. Especially when Husband is gone a lot. I have days when I just want to play with the kids, watch CBeebies and eat cake. I also have days, when I struggle to take time off. If we’re at home, not doing much, I feel like I should be working, and feel guilty if I don’t.

The comments I get most often from other parents are “I just don’t have the motivation” and “how do you make yourself work?”. Well here are my top productivity tips to help.

Lists

I love lists. I make lists for my day. With literally everything on. I write down any blogging I want to do, including any social media tasks. Any work I’ve got on. Any housework for the day. I even add “Pick The Boy up from school” not that I’d ever forget, I just find my day easier to get the most out of my day, if it’s all write-down.

I love ticking things off. I get such a sense of satisfaction from it. I’ll even add things I’ve already done, just so I can tick them off. I also leave the list out for Hunky Husband to see. So he thinks I’ve had a really busy day!

list

Exercise

I know it might not sound like a productivity tip, but it really helps. If I can fit in a run early in the morning, I’ll feel great all day, and get loads done.

exercise for productivity

Make it as Easy as Possible

When I first started freelancing, I found the accounting quite overwhelming, so I used QuickBooks to help. When it comes to accounting, it’s important to get it right, or you’ll end up in a confused mess later, so get a system in place that works for you.

Structured Days

I’m really lucky that The Bobsy will happily play on her own, so I can manage without childcare for now. But, structure helps us both massively. I’ll generally do housework and Bobsys things in the morning. Then, she naps after lunch, so I work. Then I’ll have an hour playing before school. When we get back, The Boy gets a mummy hour, then he’s allowed his DS, and I work for an hour before I cook tea. Once the kids are in bed I work until husband gets home. So, I probably never work for more than 2 hours in a row.

Routine

Getting the kids into a routine helps hugely. I know when I can work, and they know when mummy needs some time. We’re not super strict, and it depends on what I’ve got on, but their basic routine stays the same.

Time Off

I’m terrible for this one, but it’s still a great tip! Give yourself time off. When you freelance, it’s hard to know what days you’ll be able to have, but where possible I decide on Monday. This week, I know I want Thursday and Sunday off. So, I’ll be more motivated to finish any work I have on the days before.

Targets and Rewards

I find it quite remarkable how much I get done if there’s a biscuit involved. I tell myself, if I write 1000 words, I can have a biscuit. It’s ridiculous. There’s often only a 16-month-old here, I could lie and eat all the biscuits. But, I don’t. I stick to my goals and rewards. If I manage to write 1000 words before the washing machine finishes, I get 2 biscuits.

reward biscuits

Set Finish Time

My finish times aren’t always the same. But, once the kids are in bed, I can usually roughly work out how long I need to work that night. So, I then set myself a time. I might work until 9, then that’s it. Whatever I haven’t done, is for the morning.

productivity tips

What are your tips for getting more done?

My Petit Canard
Mummuddlingthrough

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  • Great post Donna. It is a challenging balancing act, but do able with a bit of planning as you say.

  • Love these tips! I’ve just started working from home and some days are fantastic and productive and others not so much. Sadly I’m struggling to work without childcare so the little one will have to go in for a day and a half but hopefully I’ll get loads done! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    • I’m trying to hold out until she’s 2, as then she can go to nursery at the boys school. It is tough though!

  • Some great tips. I am also a huge fan of to-do lists for work, home, meal plans etc. I also love working out in the morning to energise me and get the day off to a productive start. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays x

    • I never meal plan! I really really should!

  • This is really great post. I am struggling at the moment with getting things done around my son. I don’t want him to see me on the laptop all the time but he is napping less and that makes it hard to get things done when he isn’t with me x #marvmondays

    • That’s the problem I’m having. She’s only having one nap now, so it limits what I can do in the day time. But, I don’t want to end up working all night.

  • Sounds like you’ve got it sussed! I’d love to do what you’re doing and am seriously thinking about it now Mrs B is back at work. I’m currently looking after our 3 and 1 year old boys full time and i barely have time to put a wash on but the eldest starts three days in nursery soon so i am hoping to fit in some work around the younger ones naps. I’ll make a note of your tips.
    #marvmondays

    • Do it!! Honestly, it’s not easy, but best thing I ever did. Some days I’ve got it Sussed. Next day I do the same any it doesn’t work at all. But I wouldn’t change it

  • I really want to freelance – these are great tips (especially the biscuits – always a winner) so I’m sure I’ll be coming back for reminders every so often! #marvmondays

    • If you want to, my best advice is, go for it! And stock up on chocolate digestives!

  • I would love to start working from home so some great tips for more structure #coolmumclub

    • Do it!! I honestly didn’t think I could. And I’m amazed every month when I’ve earned as much, if not more than I did at work!

  • Wow that is so amazing that Bobsy plays by herself so you can work I was always told that would happen but it never materialised in our house. Great tips and it’s so true about exercise – it makes you a lot more productive. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

    • Haha I just ignore her till she has no choice! Michael was always the same, as long as I talk to them, they’re really content on their own

  • I like making lists, too. It really helps me to remember what I wanted to do if I ever forget during the course of the day, which is often. #coolmumclub

  • These are great tips. I love to write lists and tick the actions off once they’ve happened. #coolmumclub

    • Thanks. There’s not much more satisfying than crossing off a list is there?

  • I start almost every day with lists. Nothing feels better than ticking things off a list!!! The biscuit reward sounds very promising too:)
    #FridayFrolics

  • I work from home too as a freelance journalist and our days/challenges sound similar. The only thing I’m not very good at is setting a finish time! #marvmondays

    • I’m not always! I try to stop when husband gets home. But that’s normally around 10, so not hard to stop!