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Many business women struggle balancing a successful business with the demands of their families.  This article will attempt to give you some tips on how to effectively work your home business and manage your family at the same time.  I chose this topic today because this seems to be what moms struggle with the most!  I think that Christina Scalise summed up what organization is all about when she defined it as, “Organization isn’t about perfection.  It’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.”

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Organize!  Organize!  Organize!  I can’t say it enough!  The best way to keep yourself from frustration and despair is by keeping your business and home running smooth. The first thing in getting organized is to let go of the thought that you have to do everything in one day.  I used to sit and dwell on all the things that I needed to get done and then I would get so overwhelmed that nothing got done.  The secret is simple – make lists!  Now I know some of you are saying why write it down, it’s all up here in my mind.  Well I used to be one of those people until I found the power of the pen.

You will need to make two lists if you are a WAHM, one for your business and one for your home and family.  Personally, I make my lists weekly.   The first thing you want to do is write down every thing that you want to accomplish in your business for the week.  Let the ideas flow.  Don’t get caught up in prioritizing until after you have completed your list.  Next make your list for family/home.  You will need a weekly calendar but there is no need to go purchase one if you have a home computer.  Just print off a calendar from your email account or click here for a free weekly calendar http://choretell.com/blank-lists/free-printable-weekly-chore-calendar/  Now that you have both lists made, you can start by numbering your activities by importance.  Start filling in your calendar in priority order.

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Review your schedule each night after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet to see if you need to make any revisions to your daily plan and then stick to the plan!  Of course there may be times that some things may have to change.  Situations do come up and children get sick so with that said, you may have to revise your schedule as needed.  Just try not to make it a habit.  Procrastination is not a woman’s best friend!

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Give children small tasks on your list to help out while you work.  Children need to be taught responsibility and they do like to please you.  Think about all the little things you do around your home:  pick up toys and dirty clothes, empty the dishwasher, clearing off the table, and setting the table.  Which of these could you delegate?  Now I am by no means a perfect parent (by the way there’s no such thing), but I began getting my sons to pick up their toys when they were about 1 year old.  I simply made a game out of it!  I would say things like, “Brian how many blue toys or clothes do you see?  Can you show mommy where they go?”  and then I would say to my other son “Jason, you show mommy all the red things!”  and so on.  What can you do to get the help you need?

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Announce your schedule to your family and friends!  Post it so that everyone in the house can see it and refer to it as needed.  The refrigerator is a great spot to post your schedule because you know everyone gets in there!  Do not let friends drop in and distract you from your work.  This is really important.  For some reason, people view working from home as a hobby and not very important.  Do not let others sabotage your schedule.  This can be done if you want it bad enough.  I was able to work full time outside of my home and get my masters degree all online.  I had a schedule and I stuck to it.  Now does that mean that I missed out on some fun family things, absolutely!  Did I find time for my friends?  Absolutely!  but again, I had to prioritize and watch the clock so that my papers were not late to the professors.  And just to toot my own horn here, I maintained an A on my degree!

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Noise levels should be kept at a minimum so as to not distract you from your work.  If you are making calls, you want to appear professional and business-like.  There is nothing worse than trying to talk to someone with a crying baby in the background, or a barking dog, and how about the doorbell ringing or the house phone ringing!  Now noise doesn’t bother me when I am working, I always have the TV on like as I am writing this blog.  But for others, it may distract you so you may have to have a designated spot to work where there aren’t any distractions.

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Include family members in developing your schedule.  This will let them know that you value their input and their thoughts.  If you have small children ask them what they want to do during the coming week.  You might pencil in a trip to the park, a trip to the zoo, or maybe a shopping day.  This supports the T in organization!

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Zoom in on the most important tasks first thing.  Your attention to details is usually higher in the beginning of the work day.  If you complete an important task, you will feel good about your work and about yourself!  Try to make your tasks small and in doable chunks.  I will show you how I do it in next weeks blog.

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Attitude!  It’s all about your attitude.  If you feel like you are doing a good job then you will, but if you allow your self to fall in to that “whoa is me trap”, you will feel like you are failing.  This will only lead you back to those feelings of frustration and despair that I talked about in the beginning.

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Take some me time!  Everyone needs some time to themselves.  When you get up in the mornings, put on your make-up, dress yourself like you were going to the traditional 9-5 job.  You will feel better as the day goes on.  Maybe you should go out to lunch or go sit in the sunshine in the backyard.  Just be kind to yourself and include some time for yourself when planning your day and include some family time with the kids!

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Identify your goals and objectives.  Make yourself a poster board of what your business will help you get.  Are you trying to buy a new car, take a vacation, or just have some extra spending cash?  Get pictures and post them in your office or wherever you will see them each day.  Hopefully, these will help you stay organized so you can realize your big picture!  Obtain your goals!  Even if it is one sale, you are that much closer to your end result.  Post it so you know your efforts are paying off!

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Optimize your family and work time by doing things like cooking several meals at one time and pre-planning your menus.  I used to cook every two weeks and freeze as many cooked dinners as I could.  I planned out my menu, wrote out my grocery list from the menu, went shopping, then spent a full day cooking.  It was exhausting but it allowed me to have more time in the evenings to spend with my boys.  Visit this site for some ideas and recipes for make ahead meals http://www.happymoneysaver.com/freezer-meals/  Also, utilize that crockpot that you have stored in your cabinets.  There are many great recipes out there and be sure to check in my blog as I will post recipes for busy moms!

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Never, ever give up!  If your schedule gets interrupted, try your best to get back on task.  But what ever you do, remember, you can try it all over again the next day.  You only fail if you allow yourself to fail. And remember, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail,” Alan Lakein.

Until next time readers, get yourself organized!

Imogene

Imogene McCreary

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About Imogene

I was raised as an “Army Brat”, attending 28 schools before graduating high school. Because of that life style, I consider myself an extrovert and love being around people. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 42 years. Together, we have 2 sons, 2 beautiful daughters-in-law and 6 perfect grandchildren. After raising my sons, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Minor in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. During my life’s travels, I have worked for several direct sales companies, owned and operated a gift basket company, and been employed by a couple of retail chains. I am currently retired from teaching and am the owner of The Elephants Box. I also write 3 blogs: one for moms on my Sammie and Sabrina site; one that is my random thoughts, recipes, helpful hints, etc, thus the name My Daily Notions; and Cruisin Nana which highlights my travel on cruise ships.

You can read my blogs at
Sammie and Sabrina
My Daily Notions
Cruisin’Nana Blog
The Elephants Box Facebook