One of the biggest things I face everyday is the fact that people assume since I’m home all day, I’m bored/not busy/want something to do. So, throughout the day, I get ton of “let’s just chat” phone calls, requests to go to lunch, and “can you do this for me?” emails. It is really easy to be pulled away from my work if I’m not careful.
To combat this problem, I have learned to do certain things:
First, convince yourself that you have a “real” job. You would think that would be the easy part, right? Unfortunately, since you conceivably have all the time in the world to work, it is easy to get in a routine of not working. My last WAHM post talked about scheduling and procrastination, but there’s more to it than that. It’s more a way of presenting yourself to yourself.
Act like you have to go outside your home to your job. I do this by waking up every morning when my husband does. No laying around in bed for me. I check my email first thing over a cup of coffee, and schedule my day. Then, as soon as the bathroom is free, I jump in the shower and get fully dressed just like I would if I had to go out the door.
I know a lot of people want to work at home because they can spend the day in their pajamas. That’s all well and good if it works for you, but it doesn’t work for me. I don’t feel professional, and it’s easier to get distracted.
I’ve also set up a studio inside my home. It is conducive to having children “work” with me, but it is a physical space in which I conduct my business. There will be more about this in a later post.
Second, convince your family. In theory, your family should already be on board. I’m sure you discussed your business with your partner and kids. You probably either decided to help the household income, or you wanted to leave your job to be home with your kids. That doesn’t mean your family has any idea how much work you will be putting into your job.
Sit down with your partner and show him/her your schedule. Explain to them that you must both treat what you do as a “real” job. Show them how they can help. In my case, I had to show him how much I time it takes to do each thing, and ask for specific help. For example, “I have to spend at least 3 hours a day sewing in order to have enough inventory for the spring craft shows. Can you help me find some more time by drying the dishes after supper?”
Your children will distract you. That’s a given. But, you can control that to some extent, also. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to spend with your kids. I schedule time in, but I also have the baby “help” with the chores. I also try to include my 9 year old in the business as much as possible. He makes magnets for me, and gets to keep whatever money is made from them. Kids enjoy helping if it’s presented as fun or lucrative.
Finally, present yourself as a working mom outside the home. Yes, you are home all day with your child, but that doesn’t mean you are not a working mom. Your job just has “bring your kid to work day” everyday.
When people ask what you do, tell them you run your own business, or work for X company if you telecommute. If you’ve been a stay at home mom for a while, tell everyone you got a job.
Learn to set times when you can take personal calls, answer personal emails or hang out with friends. That is what you would do if you were at a corporate job, use that practice in your business. If you have to, make a “no personal email on company time” policy. Then give yourself a lunch break for those types of things.
Above all else, remember, your business is your “real” job. If you think of it as anything else, you won’t do as well as you could.