Wailings Of A Work At Home Mom

The Wild and Wacky World of WAHMs!


Household Chores: Do They Hurt or Help Your Productivity?

My sister, who is also a work at home mom, hates doing chores while working. Once she has a schedule set, she will forget everything else. If you force her to do chores when she’s on “work mode”, she becomes cranky, distracted, and would have a hard time getting back on track.

When I’m stuck on something, I use my break to do some chores. No, I don’t do this because I’m a martyr and I like punishing myself. There’s something about near-mindless physical labor like folding laundry or doing the dishes that helps me think when I’m stuck with a certain problem. And I usually better afterwards because I feel like I’ve achieved something (one chore down, wheee!!) and by then I’m able to figure out a solution to my problem.

On a grocery run with my baby. One of the few chores we enjoy doing together.

On a grocery run with my baby. One of the few chores we enjoy doing together.

When you’re a work at home mom, you can’t really avoid doing chores. Even if you have help at home (like other family members or a maid), there will always be chores that you have to do yourself. And regardless, when you’re a work at home mom you will need help with chores. Full time jobs at home can be just as draining as full time jobs outside the house.

The trick is figuring out whether these chores can help or hurt your productivity. Do chores help you think do you use chores as an excuse to not work? Do chores get in the way of your productivity or are they necessary breaks that help keep you focused and motivated?

When you’re a hands on parent, chores are a fact of life. And when you’re a work at home parent, you have to accept that being productive is not about doing everything in a day. For work at home parents, productivity is more about doing as much as you can given the time and the resources that you have.

For my sister, this meant putting chores on hold until she’s done with her work. That way, she knows she’s done all her obligations and at the end of the day she can focus on chores and her son. For me, this meant relinquishing some control over how things should be done around the house to my husband and our household help.

What do you think? Do chores hurt or help your productivity?


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Are You A Productive Work At Home Mom?

One of the major challenges I encountered when I became a work at home mom was tracking my productivity. I knew it was going to be harder working at home than in an office because of all the distractions, but how will I know if I’ve done enough for the day? In an office, I know I’ll have the company clock and boss to tell me when I’m done for the day and I can finally relax. But what would happen once I start working at home? How will I know if I’ve already clocked in 8 hours worth of work? How will I know if I’ve done too much or too little for the day?

From being an office worker to telecommuter to work at home mom, I’ve had the opportunity to try out different ways of tracking my productivity depending on the type of work that I had to do that day. These different methods have helped me a lot, not just in tracking my work productivity, but it has also helped me determine my work personality and schedule. Once I found out what hours of the day I worked best (I’m a morning person, an 8-5 kinda gal) and my work personality (I prefer to focus and finish 1 task at a time, not an efficient multi-tasker) I was able to find was to make myself more productive, allowing me to do more with less time.

What my sister and I look like when working. Photo from Kulfoto.com

I’ll be sharing just some of the techniques that I have tried and have worked  for me and my friends. We actually use more than one way of tracking our and we change it up a bit sometimes  depending on the project, how busy we are, and how we work.

  1. Creating a task list. Creating a list of the tasks you need to do every day is extremely helpful especially if you’re working on a very flexible (unpredictable) schedule. And there’s something really satisfying watching your task list grow shorter. Another great thing about working from a list is it forces you to be organized and to learn how to prioritize (especially when you have to make last minute insertions to your task list). A really good tip when working from is a list is to be honest with yourself and know how much work you can really do in a day. Categorize    what’s most important and least important. That way, you’ll know when you’ve done enough and putting in a little bit of extra work would just be optional. For creating a list, it can be something as simple as a list on a sheet of paper or on a spreadsheet on your computer. But if you’re sharing a tasklist with colleagues or employees, you may want to put that list online or use project management tools like Basecamp or ClockingIT.
  2. Tracking software. A lot of online workers I know don’t like time tracking/productivity tracking software because it makes them feel like they’re being spied on. It does have that big brother quality to it but the thing I like about tracking software is it helps you identify what type of worker you are and what kind of things can distract you. This because the software tracks everything that you do, down to the very last second. That’s when you realize that maybe you’re spending too much time on Facebook or answering your email. The software also shows you what jobs you like the most, what jobs you’re most efficient in, and what jobs you dislike the most or take the most time finishing. RescueTime, Freshbooks, and TimeDoctor are just some of the  software I’ve tried. You also need to have a reliable internet connection for it provide accurate data.
  3. Timer. I use a timer for tedious, repetitive tasks. It motivates me to work faster for some reason and I also use it when I have a definite deadline. Having a timer is also great if you’re being paid by the hour.