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10 Essentials for the Work at Home Mom

1/23/2017 Michelle Cannon 0 Comments



Work at home must haves


{DisclosureThis is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for my time. All statements and opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.}


I've been working at home for a long time.

To be exact, I've been working at home since 2004, whether I was running my cleaning business, working for an employer, or doing what I do now - blogging and working as a social media manager.

Obviously, not all jobs require the same tools. 


As a cleaning business owner, I had to keep a lot of customer files, whereas as a call center employee I did not. Therefore, one job required a file cabinet and the other didn't.

No matter what work at home position I've held, there are a few things I've needed for all of them. These are my suggestions for any work at home mom.


{This post may contain affiliate links.}



A Dedicated Work Space

Although it's possible to work from the sofa or a kitchen bar, it's not a good idea.

Not only will you not be in an area where you can dedicate your full attention to your work, it's horrible for your neck.

(I just went through 6 months of physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic work to undo what I'd done to my neck and spine. Trust me on this.)


You need a quiet office, or at least an area of a room, dedicated for working, and it needs to be set up in an ergonomically healthy way.

An Ergonomically Correct Work Station

If you're using a desktop computer, obviously you'll need a desk.

If you're using a laptop, you'll need it set up in a way that will not damage your neck and posture.

In fact, consider a sit-stand station


That's my goal. I may even consider just converting one space to a standing work station while maintaining a sitting area somewhere else. Since I have a laptop, moving about won't be difficult.

Whatever you do, don't spend your day sitting, hunched over a desk or laptop. You'll pay in pain and suffering. Work is good; pain is not.



The Proper Tools and Supplies

What you'll need, of course, depends on your job.

Obviously.


You'll definitely need a computer, and perhaps a printer. I am a lister. So I keep plenty of gel pens and sticky note pads on hand. 

In addition to my planner, which I use to schedule my time on projects, I use this notebook for outlining the details of my projects. 


A Task Management System

If you're working with others, this is definitely a must-have.

I've tried quite a few and so far, I'm happy with using Freedcamp. It's free and helps me organize tasks, communicate with colleagues and team members, and sends me reminders by email.

Some other popular systems are:

A Calendar

What you choose will depend on your needs and preferences. I use two things.

I use Google calendar because it integrates with my phone, email, and Facebook events. It also integrates with my business scheduler.


The thing is, I am a pencil 'n paper type of girl. 

It's cool to have that bit of technology from Google, but I need to be able to write things down. That's why I use a planner.


Sure, I can transfer information from my Google calendar, but I can also organize my thoughts, ideas, and work-related tasks. I can write down my goals and track them.

Use what works best for you, but use something to keep yourself on track. Winging your workday is a terrible idea.



Dedicated Work Hours

You need to have certain hours you dedicate to uninterrupted work.

Granted, working at home with kids means there will be things going on in the background, some of which you'll have to deal with. Still, it's important to develop the habit of working at set, predictable times.

It's too easy to get sucked into distractions when you work at home. Trust me. I've been at this since 2004. I know.

If you're committed to a real workday, however, you'll be less likely to get get pulled away by distractions.



Family Support

I can't emphasize how important it is to have support from your family.

Support means respecting your work time. It means helping you get through your day successfully.

If you have young children, you will probably need someone to watch them while you work.

As a single mom, I was quite fortunate to have teens who watched the youngest children. Once those teens were adults, they still provided a helping hand.

For instance, my daughter Lee Anne used to watch my kids every day, 9-5, while I worked. When I came out of my office area, the house was clean, dinner was prepared, and the kids were at the table waiting on me.

I only have one minor child left at this point. She's almost 14, so I don't need that type of help. Still, I expect her to respect my work hours. Unless there's a dire situation, she should consider me "at work" just as much as if I had left the home.



A Meal Plan

You know what sucks? 

Getting off work at 5 o'clock to spend the next hour and a half trying to decide what to make, then making it. What a waste of time!

Make sure you have a meal plan for the week


Choose what works for you. I've used eMeals for the last 2 years. It's only $60/year and minimizes the time spent on planning, shopping, and decided whats-for-dinner.


Using the eMeals app, I spend a maximum of 30 minutes each week

  • creating my menu,
  • creating my shopping list,
  • and shopping (drive time not included)
When 5:00 rolls around each day, I go to the kitchen, look at my app, choose a meal from my plan, and start cooking. 

Most of the meals I make require 30 minutes or less, so dinner is on the table in no time.




A Crockpot or Instapot

Whether you toss some ingredients into a crockpot in the morning, or use an Instapot to speed things up in the evening, you'll appreciate the time you save each week using one of these items.

Those hours add up each week and can be spent on yourself or your children.



A Work-Life Balance

I know all too well the stress caused by not having it all together. That's not to say that any human truly has everything together. We're imperfect.

You can, however, have balance in your life.

If you struggle to balance family, work, relationships, and other areas of your life, I highly recommend the 28-day program Happy New You! (Read my post about it.)




What tips do you have for working at home? Share in the comments.


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