What productivity tips work for work from home moms who must now manage their homes and their work from home jobs? This is a question many working women ponder as the world slowly but surely adjusts to the new reality of remote work.
Due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures, more brands are joining the work from home movement. Already Google, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, Amazon, Royal Bank of Scotland, and many others are embracing remote work and allowing their staff to work from home, some indefinitely.
With COVID-19 job losses in the US reaching north of 40 million, the worst since the Great Depression, many are glad to still have a job, even if it means learning to work from home for the first time.
In this post, I’ll be sharing eight tested and trusted productivity tips for work from home moms to help them achieve optimum productivity while maintaining the fragile work-life balance.
Here we go.
8 Productivity Tips for Work From Home Moms
1. Start a Morning Routine
A morning routine, whether good or bad can set the tone for the rest of your day. Lack of one is a bad routine in itself. It could be one of the reasons why you have many unproductive days. Something as simple as daily fitness exercises can go a long way.
By deliberately documenting a morning routine you’re taking the first step towards a more productive day. According to a MyMorningRoutine study involving 343 participants (56% female, 44% male), the average bedtime is 10:57 pm, wake-up time is 6:23 am with 7:29hrs of sleep on average.
Because a good morning routine starts from the night before, you can adjust your timetable to allow sufficient time for sleep. This is because adequate sleep is proven to boost health, positivity, and productivity. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can cause irritability and cognitive impairment.
2. Draw a Timeboxed To-Do List
One of the most important morning routines ever is drawing a to-do list. It helps you avoid daily distractions and maintain focus throughout the day. A study by to-do list expert Sasha Cagen found that 96% of listmakers say their lives are better with to-do lists, with 86% enjoying the process.
A further 83% of respondents prefer handwritten lists. They feel more accountable since lists are in their handwriting, plus they feel a sense of achievement from manually crossing or checking off tasks. These days, tools like ToDoist, Habitica, Things, Tick Tick, etc, can automate listmaking.
Take it a step further by using timeboxed to-do lists like:
- Wake up, Brush [6:00 am]
- Morning Devotion/Meditation [6:05 am – 6:35 am]
- Morning Chores [6:40 am – 7:00am]
- Breakfast [7:05 am – 8:30 am]
- Start Work [9:00 am]
- Review Yesterday’s To-Do List [9:05 am]
- Complete Spillovers [9:10 am]
- Check Email [10:00 am], etc.
The list above is an example of a timeboxed to-do list, incorporating a morning routine. This is one of the most important productivity tips for moms who work from home.
3. Show #2 To Your Hubby, Kids and Solicit Their Help
Another key productivity tip for moms who work from home is asking for help when needed. For working singles, this is a non- issue. However, for working mothers, it can make the difference between productivity and unproductivity.
Depending on household size, being a work from home mom can be doubly stressful. Leaving home chores behind, the commute to work, friendly banter with colleagues, lunch breaks, and such perks make office work attractive for some. Most of these are missing when working alone from home.
In addition, home chores, husband, children, in-laws, and pets may all bel home, thanks to lockdown. The thought of combining it all with your day job in the same space can be overwhelming. Share your to-do list and enlist the help of your husband or children with some home chores, or hire help where possible.
4. Delineate Your Workspace
Given all the help you’ve enlisted in #4 above, you can now focus on your workspace. If your office layout is productivity-friendly, aim to replicate the same setup at home. The first step to achieve this is by clearly delineating or demarcating your workspace.
Here’s another productivity tip for moms who work from home. Choose a quiet area, preferably one with a door, nearly zero footfall, and free from distraction. This will tell members of your household (including your pets) that mom means business. More importantly, it will tell you that you mean business.
You can also experiment with multiple locations within or outside your house that allow you to work. Using DeskTime, Kristine Spure found the productivity levels of employees working in different office setups as follows; open office 85.8%, closed office 89.3%, and cubicle 91.9%. So, find what works for you and work with it.
5. Deliberately Design Your Workspace to Look Like an Office
After demarcating your office space, you should proceed to design it as best as you can. As mentioned above, aim to replicate or improve on your office design if it makes you more productive.
There are many pocket-friendly home office designs to inspire yours and cut costs this lockdown. Home Designing shares 51 interesting home office designs here. You can get the necessary office supplies from Amazon or other online stores to beautify your office.
Where possible, bring along some of your personal effects from the office. Things like your favorite wall hangings, artwork, artefacts, indoor plants, music collection, etc, can help to beautify your home office and recreate the ambiance of your office.
6. Recreate Your Regular Office Routine
A well-designed home office together with an established office routine can lift your productivity levels. Itemize every activity you would normally carry out before, during, and after your normal 9 to 5 job, and aim to replicate same at your work from home job.
As far as productivity tips for work from home moms go, this is one of the most essential. Start by going to bed early the night before, waking early, brushing, working out, bathing, dressing up; crossing off your entire morning routine, and making the one-minute commute from the bedroom to your home office.
Once in your office, declutter your work desk and organize your entire workspace to promote productivity. Check to confirm that your hardware like your PC and headphones are working properly. Set the temperature to favorable levels. Studies show that 53% of employees are less productive when it’s too cold.
7. Generate Your Own Engagement
According to Gallup’s State of the Workplace Report, 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. This results in a whopping $7 trillion in lost productivity. This is partly why some employers are concerned about work from home productivity among remote employees.
Productivity tips for work from home moms will be incomplete without this. As a working mother, it is important that you find new and creative ways to create your own engagement while working from home alone.
The new normal (working from home) comes with new stressors for newly remote workers. This can stem from difficulty adjusting to remote work, as well as having to bother about your personal cybersecurity to learning how to set up and use new collaboration software, etc.
8. Interact With Colleagues
Building engagement is central to work from home productivity. Another key way to boost engagement while working from home alone is by interacting with colleagues. Workplace communication and interaction play a critical role in improving workplace productivity. 94% of respondents in a survey say video conferencing increases their efficiency and productivity.
It is even more important that you do this while working from home alone. Not only will it curb feelings of loneliness and abandonment, but it also reassures you that you’re not alone in this. You should also seek to learn how your colleagues, especially working mothers, are coping with maintaining productivity. You can do this over popular social networks your colleagues use.
Also, by adhering to your company’s unified communication protocol you can get the right information when and where you need it. This can strengthen work-related interaction with your colleagues, improve engagement, and boost productivity.
Staying productive at a day job and with your home chores is tough. Use these productivity tips for work from home moms to achieve greater productivity:
- Start a morning routine
- Draw a timeboxed to-do list
- Show your to-do list to family members and solicit their help
- Delineate your workspace
- Design your workspace to look like an office
- Recreate your regular office routine
- Generate your own engagement
- Interact with colleagues