I’m lucky enough to work from home. As a freelance writer. If I couldn’t, I’m not sure how we’d manage. Hunky Husband works long hours, so pick-ups and drop-offs were all down to me. Which meant I could basically work 10-2 out of the home. Then, there are childcare costs. We can’t afford for me not to work. But, we can’t afford for me to work either.
I feel unbelievably lucky that I can make money writing. But, it’s not always easy. Especially when Husband is gone a lot. I have days when I just want to play with the kids, watch CBeebies and eat cake. I also have days, when I struggle to take time off. If we’re at home, not doing much, I feel like I should be working, and feel guilty if I don’t.
The comments I get most often from other parents are “I just don’t have the motivation” and “how do you make yourself work?”. Well here are my top productivity tips to help.
I love lists. I make lists for my day. With literally everything on. I write down any blogging I want to do, including any social media tasks. Any work I’ve got on. Any housework for the day. I even add “Pick The Boy up from school” not that I’d ever forget, I just find my day easier to get the most out of my day, if it’s all write-down.
I love ticking things off. I get such a sense of satisfaction from it. I’ll even add things I’ve already done, just so I can tick them off. I also leave the list out for Hunky Husband to see. So he thinks I’ve had a really busy day!
I know it might not sound like a productivity tip, but it really helps. If I can fit in a run early in the morning, I’ll feel great all day, and get loads done.
Make it as Easy as Possible
When I first started freelancing, I found the accounting quite overwhelming, so I used QuickBooks to help. When it comes to accounting, it’s important to get it right, or you’ll end up in a confused mess later, so get a system in place that works for you.
I’m really lucky that The Bobsy will happily play on her own, so I can manage without childcare for now. But, structure helps us both massively. I’ll generally do housework and Bobsys things in the morning. Then, she naps after lunch, so I work. Then I’ll have an hour playing before school. When we get back, The Boy gets a mummy hour, then he’s allowed his DS, and I work for an hour before I cook tea. Once the kids are in bed I work until husband gets home. So, I probably never work for more than 2 hours in a row.
Getting the kids into a routine helps hugely. I know when I can work, and they know when mummy needs some time. We’re not super strict, and it depends on what I’ve got on, but their basic routine stays the same.
I’m terrible for this one, but it’s still a great tip! Give yourself time off. When you freelance, it’s hard to know what days you’ll be able to have, but where possible I decide on Monday. This week, I know I want Thursday and Sunday off. So, I’ll be more motivated to finish any work I have on the days before.
Targets and Rewards
I find it quite remarkable how much I get done if there’s a biscuit involved. I tell myself, if I write 1000 words, I can have a biscuit. It’s ridiculous. There’s often only a 16-month-old here, I could lie and eat all the biscuits. But, I don’t. I stick to my goals and rewards. If I manage to write 1000 words before the washing machine finishes, I get 2 biscuits.
Set Finish Time
My finish times aren’t always the same. But, once the kids are in bed, I can usually roughly work out how long I need to work that night. So, I then set myself a time. I might work until 9, then that’s it. Whatever I haven’t done, is for the morning.
What are your tips for getting more done?