{Work at Home Mommy- 5 Tips for Productive Days}

One of my goals for the new year was to get back to the “Work at Home Mommy” series I started a couple years ago. I’m not kidding when I say that working from home is the hardest job I’ve ever had, and I’m pretty sure that any mama out there who’s ever given it a go would agree. When you live where you work, there are a constant list of demands on your time- laundry that stares at you, dirty dishes that smirk each time you walk by, carpets that screamed to be vacuumed.. It’s easy for your day to be swept up {no pun intended} by a million chores, and you dear mama, are left wondering at days end where your time went. So today I’m sharing my top five tips for getting yourself organized and staying on track each week. 

1) Plan, Plan, Plan ahead. And then make a back-up plan. As I’m typing this, I’m home with a sick four year old. He didn’t go to preschool today, which means my day just got a little more hectic. I’ve also been up since 5 a.m. because I planned to get up and work this morning but being early risers, both my kiddos thwarted my well laid intentions. So we’re being flexible- and I pulled out my sick day plan. He’s watching a little My Nick Jr. while I catch up on emails and computer work and my assistant is here. Later we’ll make lunch together and have a some snuggle time and then I’ll get back to work while he sleeps. And most importantly, I will not beat myself up today for what I didn’t get done. 
Yes, my calendars are full, but guess what? I sent out an email this morning, and the world went on. And once more, other mama’s jumped into help. My day is back on track, thanks to my Plan B.  

2) Get dressed. Each and every morning. Nope, pajama pants and yogas don’t count. Look, I big fat love my yoga pants like a pig love pancakes. And at 6pm, if I’m lucky those babies are all mine. But between the hours of eight to five, I am dressed and ready for the day. Why? Because it makes me feel better, and when I feel better I’m more productive. Plus, when you work from home- and you are building a budding fashion brand- you don’t want to be caught off guard when someone drops by. There are million more reasons I could give you for getting dressed and I’ll talk more about that in a later post. But just get up and get fixed up and I promise your day will be better. 
And by the way, when I say get dressed, I don’t necessarily mean skirt, hose {does anyone still wear those?} and heels. Most days I have on jeans, boots, a sweater and a scarf, my hair done, and jewelry and make-up on. I am still chasing after Littles, so what I wear does have to be feasible. But practical can still be professional, and professional builds confidence. Confidence, my friend, builds success. 

3) Prepare for the week. Cook ahead for the week as much as possible, and make sure you have breakfast and lunch ready to grab. Remember, those precious hours when your littles are at school, or even napping can be spent on your business NOT cooking or prepping meals. Each Sunday I spend an hour making sure I have breakfasts stock piled in the freezer, and lunches already made for me and the hubs. Some of my favorites are pancake muffins, ham and egg cups, homemade smoothie packs, salads in a jar, hard boiled eggs and a huge batch of my favorite soup. And yes, I truly only spend an hour making it all. I also jot down what we’re going to have for dinner first thing in the morning, thaw the meat while we’re having breakfast, stick it in the fridge and I don’t have to think about it again until that night. 

I also spend a few minutes each Sunday laying out five complete outfits for each kid and believe me when I tell you this has been a complete game changer at our house. Morning are always rough around here, but not having to dig though the dryer with one eye open while simultaneously trying not to spill my coffee has made them a lot easier. I found a bunch of flat wooden hangers on sale a while back, labeled each set Monday through Friday and keep them hanging in their closet. Then as the laundry comes out, I start building outfits for the week. 
I don’t lay out five outfits for myself, but I do hang the next days outfit out each night, down to my jewelry and shoes. Preparing for the week has sort of become our Sunday ritual, and even my hubs has gotten in on the routine. Now we all make the next days snacks, load the car, gather book bags and totes and sync calenders for the week ahead.

4) Keep detailed notes and lists. Do you ever get so busy, that you actually don’t have time to write in your datebook, yet you know that by not writing it down, your list will never get done? It’s a viscous circle, and its the story of my life. I am by nature, a list maker. But when things get crazy I start making those lists in my head and telling myself I’ll remember. You can probably guess how well that works out. So I’ve re-trained myself to keep notepads everywhere, and to become very acquainted with EverNote’s voice function. When things get super hectic, I can hit the button and start rattling off my list to my trusty little note taker. At the end of the day when I realize that I haven’t yet made it through the list, its easy to delegate because each task is already spelled out.

5) Hire help. Or ask for help. Whatever you need to do, just get some help. Oh man, this is a tough one and I know what you’re going to say.  It’s hard to find reliable help, or it’s easier to do it myself than to teach someone else, or I can’t afford help… the list of excuses I had in the beginning went on and on. But hear my heart on this mama, you are NOT doing yourself or anyone else any favors by trying to do it all. Eventually, you will crash and burn and if you don’t believe me, feel free to refer back to this post. It was the worst Spring of my life, and I’m not being dramatic when I say I didn’t think I was going to make it. 

I’m not talking about hiring full time, live in help. I’m talking about hiring or asking for help with the things that you don’t have to personally do. For us, that meant hiring a housekeeper and an assistant to work int he studio a few hours a week. It doesn’t cost that much in the scheme of things, but it allows me to focus on whats important and whats grows my business on a daily basis. Lets face it, cleaning my toilets does not put a dollar in my pocket, and my items are still handmade, even if someone else is prepping my fabric and winding my bobbins. 

If you’ve always been a stay at home mama, and this is your first venture into working from home, this can be especially hard to implement. If you’re finding it hard to delegate to hired help, try swapping tasks with another mama, finding a high school or college student that needs volunteer/intern hours or trading out in product for a while. Then spend those hours on growing your business.

So there you have my top five for staying on track. 
I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to ensure your days and weeks run smoothly?
Leave a comment below.

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