Working At Home - The Importance Of A Schedule For Work At Home Mothers
Working at home is great for mothers because of the flexibility it provides, but flexible arrangements will only work effectively if they are incorporated into a sensibly structured schedule.
For stay at home mothers with young children, starting a home based business means they can stay at home to care for their kids and still make an income at home. Working at home enables you to have a completely flexible routine but, in order for this to work, you need to set yourself a workable schedule when you start your home based business.
The first thing to do is to devise a schedule for each day of the week. This needs to be a written schedule so that you know at a glance what you are supposed to be doing at any given hour of the day and nothing gets overlooked. Having a schedule means you know exactly what you are going to do when you complete each task; there is no time wasted by sitting and trying to decide which task you should tackle next.
The beautiful thing about being your own boss is that you can do what you want when you want. However, that also means you have to bear the consequences if something is not done. As an oversight could potentially cost you money, your schedule needs to be as detailed as possible. Of course, the first items to go on the schedule will be fixed commitments such as taking the children to school or nursery or other activities. This gives you the framework into which you can slot playtime with the kids, going out with your partner, pampering yourself, shopping for groceries, doing household chores and (last but not least) the time you will devote to your home based business.
It is worth spending some time drafting your timetable carefully. It will probably take several drafts before you come up with a fully workable schedule but the more time you spend on the first draft, the sooner you will achieve the finished timetable.
As your first step, write down what you want to achieve in your home business over the next year. Then break that goal down into smaller steps that you need to reach on a monthly basis to get you to where you want to be in 12 months' time. Next, divide your monthly goals into weekly goals. Finally (the nitty-gritty), work out your daily schedule. Your daily schedule should have slots for dealing with email, filing, making phone calls, meeting customers, attending seminars and anything else to do with your business. As well as the business-related slots, there needs to be time to spend with the kids and for performing household duties, plus some free time which you can fill as you wish.
You should immediately cultivate the habit of making your work fit into the time slots allowed. If you spend longer than allocated on any one part of your business, another part is bound to suffer. Your schedule will have some spare time built in but that is supposed to remain spare time which can be used as a buffer against unforeseen events. If you allow it to be swallowed up by day to day matters, your spare time will be lost forever and your timetable will cease to function as soon as even a minor emergency crops up.
Your schedule will also need to be varied to take into account the different family activities through school term time and vacations; the spare time built into your timetable will make this easier to accommodate.
Remember: "Failures don't plan to fail; they fail to plan". If you plan properly, your schedule will not be a straightjacket; it will be more like those famous pajamas supposedly worn by everyone working at home.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elaine Currie is the owner of the Free Work At Home Directory at http://www.huntingvenus.com and author of the book Ezine Article Writing - 10 Steps To Success. You can download the book free of charge in pdf format at: http://www.huntingvenus.com/free_ezine_articles_writing_ebook.shtml