Recently, I made the huge transition from working full-time as a teacher to working my Thirty-one business “full-time.” After many late nights and odd hours of squeezing life and my direct sales business around teaching, I decided to step back and focus solely on my family and business. Best. Decision. Ever.
What I didn’t anticipate, however, was all that I needed to change in order to get work done. Facebook? Laundry? A cat scratching to get outside every other minute? I wasn’t getting much done! Now that I was home full-time I needed cook 5 course meals, volunteer in 3 different classrooms and run my business. I had 5 SOLID HOURS of kid free time! I needed to fill it up with MOMMY GUILT activities!
Finally I sat down (for a second) and realized I had to get some work done and I didn’t need to short change myself in the process.
Here a few tips that have helped me stay on task and productive as a work at home mom:
I use a timer and APP called 30/30. I set a timer for the activity I need to work on for example, emails, cooking, coaching my team, contacting customers, cleaning. I even have one that says FORT because my seven year old added it to make sure I made his list and we built a fort together.
I have to log off and hide my phone to focus on my family or task at hand. Having the chance to work ALL the time is very challenging. I have had to focus on keeping my screen time when my kids are asleep or at school. I don’t want them to see me staring at my phone or computer all day. If I am working, they know because I have office hours.
If my husband and son could read this, they would laugh. I have had some arguments with Siri on my Iphone. They swear by her productivity and ability to create reminders. Regardless of your opinion of Siri (I’m still skeptical) using some sort of family calendar and work calendar is key. I put my office hours, my conference calls and anything my husband needs to know about on our family calendar. I write the 3 most important tasks, 3 people I need to call and things to do. I use a combination of paper and my reminders in my phone so I don’t forget to do anything. As a teacher, I had a bell and kids came in, it was very routine. Having all this free time required that I create a structure to make sure I met my objectives for the day.
I had to really make some decisions about where I spent my 6 hours alone. I choose to volunteer 2 – 3 times a week, something I really missed working full-time. I also scheduled lunch with hubby! Yay! No babysitter! I cooked meals for a few weeks every day and quickly remembered I hate cooking. So my dear hubby keeps me on track by making a menu each week together and reminds me to go to the store so we have food. I do substitute teach when needed, but felt like I need to make sure that I am putting in the time needed to keep my business going.
Let’s be real, working a direct sales business is heaven for those of us with ADD tendencies. Or is it? We can work on so many tasks, then take a break and move on to another thing, oh and then this new idea, oh and……
I have had to learn to FOCUS on one thing at a time. I say or write in my planner, I will make calls to customers for 15 minutes, return emails, call hostesses and touch base with consultants. I create a power hour (or two). I have also broken down my days by subject – Management Monday, Team Tuesday, Woohoo Wednesday, Thirty-one training Thursday, Follow-up Friday. That way I know which day to focus on which task. I add in my booking calls around the evening hours when I get a hold of more people.
In truth, quitting my full-time job has made me a much better business person. The cat is much happier now and even though we don’t have a super clean house or awesome gourmet dishes, we are all much happier. What I have learned the most is that when mamma is happy, the whole house is happy! I love having my life back and the flexibility of being a mom and business person is amazing!
Independent Sr. Director, Thirty-One Gifts