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Being a mom is a tough job.

When you’re a mother, basics like showering, cooking a meal, even going to the washroom, become a whole lot harder. Suddenly there’s another little person or two, completely and utterly dependent on you for their every need — safety, food, getting dressed, and being educated and entertained. Every decision you make can seem overwhelming.

When you’re a working mother, you add on the extra dimension of obligations due the company that hired you. But when you’re a work-at-home mother, the combination of parenting duties and work demands is a completely different story. There are so many more decisions to make!

Being a WAHM is extra.

A WAHM is not just working mother, but someone who is a professional juggler. She balances the needs of her home and family with her business, all under one roof. Multitasking is her middle name. Where mothers are generally short on sleep, a WAHM is sacrificial. The needs of her babies and her business seem constantly at odds with each other. We are constantly having to make a decision, and often feeling guilty about those decisions. But we make it work.

There are definite things we can do to make our lives easier as work-at-home parents. Routines, planners, guides and strategies can all help manage the everyday tasks of running a home and a business, while freeing up time to spend with the family. The right tools can make all the difference in a work-at-home mom’s day.

  1. Meal Plan!

    Decision fatigue is a real thing, people. Making a lot of decisions can leave one exhausted and out of brain energy to make any more decisions. So when it comes time for dinner… you pull out your phone and call for pizza delivery, pop in the chicken nuggets and fries or serve PB&J sandwiches and cereal, rather than figure out an actual meal. Not that there’s anything wrong with those choices… once in a while. The problem is when it happens over and over again, because you’re too tired to think of what’s for dinner.  Meal planning, whether it’s weekly or monthly, can help with that decision fatigue.

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  2. Put out clothes the night before. 

    I know this seems like such a waste of time, but it really will save you tons of time. Studies show that we’re more productive when we dress properly, even if we aren’t going out that day. You’ll get up sooner, get more done faster, and generally be more alert if you’re dressed! Staying in pjs or comfy clothes all day just makes it easier to procrastinate. If you lay out your clothes the night before, they will be staring at you the minute you wake up. It’s one less decision to make, especially before that morning coffee. If you really want to be on top of things, get your kids in the habit of pulling out their clothes the night before too. Save time, energy, arguing and makes for smoother mornings.

  3. Plan your day in the evenings.

    Whether you have a calendar on the wall, an agenda or planner on the desk (kitchen table/counter/purse/nightstand/wherever), or just use a notebook with scribbled lists, plan it out in the evening. Look over your calendar and remind yourself of what you need to do the next day — appointments? menu? projects? Is there any chore that needs attending, or special school event you forgot? Someone’s birthday coming up that you need to shop for?

    Make a plan for the next day and jot it down somewhere. This keeps the decision making to a minimum. List your top 3-5 things you need to get done to count it successful, and don’t just limit those things to your business. Today’s list for me included: read aloud to my oldest 1 chapter, change the sheets on my bed, write this post, and work on a client’s project.Planning to plan.

  4. Use timers.

    Seriously, alarms and timers are awesome. They let you focus on projects without losing hours of time getting lost in it. When you have a timer set, you can really concentrate, and knowing there’s a time limit means procrastination isn’t as much of a temptation. Something about having a deadline helps you make a decision quickly.  It’s the best of both worlds! I really struggle with time awareness, so this is a huge help for me.

  5. Group like tasks with like. 

    Simple rules like “don’t leave a room without taking something with you” will help limit clutter, since every time you leave the living room, you’ll take that garbage or dish or toy to it’s spot in another room. If you get a drink of water, take your vitamins too. Emailing your client about their project? Delete a couple of old ones while you’re in the inbox.  If you wash the dishes, wipe the counters and table. Going to the bathroom is even a chance to grab that towel from the clean laundry pile and stick it in the linen closet.   There’s always one little 30 second task you can do on your way to doing something else. Group your tasks together, and save time while keeping your home clean and your business humming.

Making a Decision is Easier when you Plan Ahead.

Being a work-at-home mom means being proactive and productive, planning ahead and being prepared. A few simple things can make a huge difference to how you feel about yourself, while letting you focus on the important things, like your family and your business.

WAHM Guide to Success: Decision making made easier
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