Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

Maintaining Focus When It Seems Impossible

The last couple of weeks have been a blur to me. One of my daughters finished elementary school. Another finished intermediate school. Every day there was some kind of recognition ceremony or Field Day or talent show. It was my birthday. Then the Indy 500. Then Memorial Day. We had company in from out of town. I didn’t know what end was up but was expected to be in multiple places at once. Trying to work seemed impossible!

This week should be better, right? Quite the opposite. The kids are home and we are trying to establish a new routine. I am behind on work from the last 2 weeks. And I am frantically trying to prepare to go away on vacation for the next 2 weeks (including a week without Internet access).

Part of me just wants to panic and curl up on the couch with a book and ignore everything. But then there is the other part of me that likes to afford a room over my head and food. That part of me understands that I need to get focused and get everything done. How to do it? Here’s what has worked for me in the past and will hopefully work again!

Make a list. Or lists. I have a Packing List, a Family To-Do List, and a Business To-Do List. I am constantly adding and subtracting from them as the days go by. It’s the only way that I am going to ensure that something doesn’t get left out.
Block out chunks of time for certain types of tasks. I am a multi-tasker by nature, but sometimes it is more efficient to group work together to get it done. For example, I’ll play 3 hours worth of errands and only leave the house once in a day. Or I’ll shift focus from work to packing for 2 hours and completely block out email to keep from getting distracted. Then when it is time to work, I’ll shut my office door and pretend all that other family stuff doesn’t even exist.
Let other people do things that you don’t absolutely have to do. Delegate things out so that you can keep focused on the most important tasks that others CANNOT do for you.
Get enough rest. I know you just want to keep working as late as you can when the house finally gets quiet. However, if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to focus tomorrow. It can become a vicious cycle.
Turn off. Lastly, and most importantly, turn off the distractions. In an ideal day we get to keep our TweetDeck open and listen to the radio and answer the phone and still get all of our work done. But when other distractions like kids and company and house work are already getting in the way, you need to cut out as much of the other “noise” as possible.