Helpful Tips on Working at Home, With a Toddler
I’m a mom to a toddler and a teen. Sometimes it feels like I’ve got two toddlers, or two teens. Seriously. lol.
I’m often asked how I do it, or told that they don’t know how I manage to get anything done. Well truth be told working at home with a toddler is NOT easy. But hell, being a working mom, a married mom, a single mom or any kind of parent is NOT easy. We all know that.
But,thankfully, there are a lot of ways to make things easier.
You have to find what works for you and make it REALLY work for you. Here are my best tips based on almost two years of adapting to life working from home successfully with a little one:
- Plan If You Can: Full disclosure here I’m terrible at planning. Even though I’ve created a great planning system in my Sticky Note UNStuck planning method that doesn’t mean I always use it. That being said planning helps, it works and it allows you to just get on the computer and DO. Gone are the days when I had a whole day to flit around and waste time. If I get on the computer during nap time I might have 20 minutes or two hours, I never know and I better be damn sure of what I need to do so I can get it done.
- Use It, Don’t Lose It: Use what you’ve got. I mean in terms of products already created, content, services. Anything already ready, use it. This has been a huge part of my strategy over the last two years. I’ve created very little completely from scratch. As a matter of fact last year when I started (then eventually sold) Star VA, I used a lot of content I’d created to work with my own clients and repackaged that up to sell for other VAs.
- Focus on Profit Jobs (or “Money Tasks”): Do the things that make you money FIRST, always. With a toddler, life is very unpredictable so you MUST use the time you have for the most important jobs first. Your “profit jobs” are the jobs that make you money, today. Maybe that’s emailing your list, following up with a potential client or doing client work. Whatever it is, get it done.
- Use Private Label Rights: It’s pretty important to come up with new stuff for your market. They’re going to get tired of the same offers over and over again so you need fresh courses, free reports, blog posts, etc. I started using some PLR (Private Label Rights) and really incorporating it into my business in various ways. My absolute favorite place for high quality coaching business content is Coach Glue.
- Find Ways to Work Around the Kids: This depends on the stage they’re in but when my girl was a newborn up to about eight months she could play in her chair, on her blanket or in her playpen for 20 minutes while I pumped out a few social media posts or responded to emails. These days she’s bigger and much more active but I CAN usually get 30-45 minutes out of an episode or two of Mickey Mouse Club. Get to know what will keep your toddler happy for a little bit so you can sneak in a bit of work. I can sometimes get a couple of things done while she has lunch or dinner as well. Of course I’m right there, never far away, but it affords me a bit of work. Then… naptimes can be a gold mine of work time if you get straight to work and don’t waste time doing house things, fixing lunch or watching TV. Just get straight to work.
- Outsource: It’s the supermom syndrome, we try to do everything ourselves and feel like we’re somehow failing if we just can’t manage it all. Well, we gotta get over that (you and me both)! Outsource whenever possible but before you do that make sure you clear out anything that’s not serving you and automate whatever you can. What you’ve got left you need to figure out what you can get a team member working on for you. I find it easiest to outsource anything that’s on a monthly schedule. For example every month my Laptop Lifestyle Business Club is focused on a new topic. That means I need updates on the salespage, a new product created in the shopping cart, new emails to go out, updates to the members area, etc, all done on a monthly basis. Once I have a VA who knows this she can just go in and get it done for me before the new month starts and it’s all good to go! Saves me lots of time and allows me to focus on the Profit Jobs I was talking about earlier.
- Get Daycare: My daughter is in daycare one day a week. It’s only one day but it’s just about saved my sanity to know I have one whole day to myself to work on my business and do my thing. I’ll be honest, some days I’m not overly productive and instead kinda chill, watch a little TV and even take a nap. But I NEED it. It’s my weekly downtime and it’s awesome. Most times, though, I use it to be as productive as possible for my business. UPDATE: Now we do two days a week and this has been a HUGE help. I don’t know how I’d do it without the regular, weekly two days now.
- Moonlight or Sunrise: Sometimes the only way to find the time will be to get less sleep, stay up late and just power through! I know this isn’t ideal but I’ll say that you find the time to do the things you REALLY, REALLY want to do. If you’re not pushing yourself to solve the question of “where do I find the time” then ask yourself if it’s something you just kinda half-hearted want or is it something you REFUSE to let go of no matter what. Knowing how bad you want it and that nothing is going to stop you from getting it will give you the motivation to do what you gotta do to make it happen. Note: I’m a night owl but I don’t THINK well at night, so while I tried and tried to work at night I mostly ended up falling asleep on the couch. Now, I get up early (5am or 6am) as often as I can to get 2-3 hours worth of work done before the kiddo wakes up! It’s a GREAT way to start the day too as you feel very productive and ready to keep that flow going.
I think the best advice I got myself on this whole working from home successfully with a toddler thing is to remember this is just a short season of life. My baby girl is only going to be a toddler for a short time, then she’ll be a little girl, then a girl, then a teen, then a young woman. Phew! That’s was kind scary to write out. I KNOW how fast it flies. I know for now I just need to keep plugging away and before I know she’ll be in school all day and I’ll have 35 hour weeks to use for my business again. I don’t want to wish that time away and I’m sure you don’t either!
Just know you CAN make it happen on less hours, you’ve just got to laser target in on what needs to get done and then, do it.
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