Balance Working and Homeschooling
The demands of motherhood are challenging, but add running a business on top of them and it can be completely overwhelming. With a to-do list a mile long, you may often feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Finding balance as a work at home mom can seem like an impossible task.
I can tell you that it’s not easy, but it’s totally doable. The keys to making this work are balance and productivity and I want to help you have both without being stressed and overwhelmed. Keep reading for my top productivity tips for the mom who is working from home and homeschooling.
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You can find harmony between your work life, homeschooling, and your personal life. You just have to make a plan and commit to following it.
Did you groan when you read that? Do you HATE making plans? Just try it. It can really change your life!
Communication is key in every aspect of working and homeschooling. If you have a remote job with a boss or manager to report to, don’t leave them out of the communication loop. If you are your own boss then it’s a little easier. First and foremost, communicate with your family. Make sure everyone is on the same page about what homeschooling (and you working from home) will look like.
Which leads to my next tip…
Make a Family Schedule
It’s important to have a schedule in place for your family and homeschool.
Taking into consideration your unique family dynamic, develop a daily routine that compliments the type of work you’re doing and the age and grade level of your children. It’s vital that you keep these two at the forefront on your routine making.
If you’re homeschooling younger children – think preschool to mid elementary years – be prepared to create a schedule that requires more hands-on and attentive activities.
For children middle school to high school age, you could get by with more independent learning tasks that require less of your attention.
Time blocking is a great way to establish a routine. Create a set of time blocks in which majority of your work and homeschooling will be completed within. Keep the blocks shorter for younger children and adjust for older ones. Also include other important times such as mealtimes, family time, errand running, and so on.
I suggest making a weekly schedule in a special way. It’s very beneficial to look at a full week at a time. That way you can anticipate what is coming up.
Write down the things that you must get done each week for your household. Things like laundry, cleaning, yard work, grocery shopping and cooking meals.
Add school or homeschooling, extracurricular activities, classes and other regularly scheduled outings.
Now plug all of that data into your weekly calendar, but instead of going hour by hour, do it in chunks or blocks.
You could break your day up into 10 blocks:
- Morning Block 1
- Morning Block 2
- Morning Block 3
- Afternoon Block 1
- Afternoon Block 2
- Evening Block
- Night Block
The way you choose to break up your day into blocks could be different. You might just have 6 blocks. Find what works for you.
You would have tasks that you need to accomplish during each time block. This works well for families because it allows for flexibility.
Regardless of what you choose, having a routine will make life much easier for everyone. And don’t worry if it looks crazy for the first couple of weeks. It will take time for you and your children to get the hang of things, but in the end they’ll naturally know what is expected of them.
Make a Meal Plan
This can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it.
We have 2 weeks of meals planned, and we only shop once every 2 weeks. I’m able to quickly take stock of what I need to buy since we have the same meals with slight variations every 2 weeks.
You can make a new meal plan every week or have a rotating meal plan like us. Whatever works for you and your family.
Make a Work Schedule
Now you need to analyze your work habits. When are you working now? How many hours do you need to work? Do you have available blocks on your weekly calendar that you can use for work? If not can you add any?
Personally, I do most of my work during the second afternoon block and the night block. I can get a solid 4 hours per day, just during those 2 times. I usually get about an hour in the afternoon when the kids all get some screen time. Then at night my husband puts our kids to bed and I’m able to work for about 3 hours.
If you’re struggling with finding balance as a work at home mom, your main issue may be productivity.
Working from home is much more comfortable than working in an office building. Much like homeschooling is a different dynamic than a structured classroom.
We don’t want to visualize our homes as office and school buildings, but there are a few things we can incorporate from those places.
Create a daily to-do list so you know exactly what needs to be completed. Do the same for your children’s homeschooling. Focus first on the non-negotiable subjects, then add in the extras.
Include productivity tools such as timers, alarm clocks, and planners. Position them in places where they can be seen/heard by any and everyone using them.
How much time do you spend watching Netflix? Scrolling on Facebook? Reading how-to’s or watching YouTube videos? Do you get lost on Pinterest or spend too much time on Instagram?
Because we use all of these things for our businesses, sometimes we might convince ourselves that we’re “working” when we’re really just wasting time. All of those things are fine to do occasionally, but if you’re struggling to find time for everything then you need to step away from the time wasters.
Instead of doing a little bit of everything when you work, you will be much more productive if you batch create. Focus on doing one thing for however much time you have, whether it’s 1 hour or 3 hours. While longer blocks of time are best for batching, you might find that you like to do mini-batches once a week or longer batching sessions once a month.
Batch Creating allows you to get into the zone of what you are doing. You get into a flow state where things start coming more easily, and you are able to accomplish things more quickly.
For me, this means that I focus on 1 thing per day during my best times which are first thing in the morning and at night – the times when my kids are asleep and I can really concentrate.
These are some of my business related tasks that I batch and focus on doing one day per week:
- Writing & Schedule Blog Posts
- Filming Videos
- Editing Videos
- Take & Edit Photos
- Create Graphics for Posts
- Work on New Opt-In or Product
- Write & Schedule Emails
These are tasks I do once a month:
- Schedule Social Media Posts
- Miscellaneous Admin Tasks
- Expense & Income Report
- Analytics Report for Blog
- Analytics Report for Social Media
Definitely give batching a try to see if it will work well for you. One of the key things is to get rid of any distractions so that you can focus and be really productive.
Ready for Bumps in the Road
If there’s one thing that’s for certain it’s the fact that life can throw a few curve balls. Although we can’t plan for each and every one that comes, we can be in a position to accept them when they do happen. But if you’ve implemented these tips, the bumps in the road won’t throw you off as much.
Also remember that flexibility works from both sides – your work and your children’s homeschooling. Having flexibility in your schedule will allow for more time needed to teach or for you to work longer on a task if necessary. Again, communication is key!
In the end, the ultimate goal is to create an ebb and flow in your home where everyone is on the same page, doing what’s expected, while living your best lives.
Productivity Tips for Moms who Work and Homeschool
Implementing a well thought-out routine encompassing your family life and work life, meal planning, prioritizing tasks, and batch creating for your business will help you create a much more balanced lifestyle. You will be much more productive and focussed if you know exactly what you should be doing and when you should be doing it.
Set up a routine and try it out. You might find that you need to adjust some things. Getting up earlier and adding a block then could be helpful. Are you committed to doing too many activities? It’s ok to adjust! You’ll probably find that you need to adjust the routine once a year, every 6 months, or seasonally.
Putting in the effort to plan will be worth it. Finding balance and optimizing productivity will benefit you, your family, and your business.