We WAHMs, or work at home mums are a growing breed. We work within the home, so we get to be close to the family, but that doesn’t mean we get away with things lightly. In fact, there are some specific issue that all WAHMs need to take into consideration if they want to be successful. Read on to find out what they are.
Create a space to work
Firstly, when you work and live in the same space, it’s vital to set aside an area that is solely for the former. In fact, doing so has many advantages one of which is that it can help your work clutter from spreading all over the rest of the house. Something that you will want to avoid if you’re going to keep the kids’ jam sandwiches away from your client contracts and if you don’t want your stapler getting unintentionally mixed up with their Duplo!
There are other advantages to having a designated workspace in your home as well. In particular, it can help signal to other members of the family that you need to be left in peace to concentrate. Something that is a lot harder to do, if you are working on a laptop in front of the telly with everyone else in the living room.
Also, the benefit to having an office in your home is that once you have finished for the day, you can switch your computer off and close the door. This is something that can be hugely helpful in shutting off from work, a task that can be tough do when you earn your living at home.
Stay on top of your admin and finance
Next, to thrive as a WAHM, you need to be on top of the administration and finance parts of your business, as well as the particular day to day tasks that you will complete.
What this means is that you must register for tax, and be sure to complete your returns correctly and on time. Of course, Tax can be a complicated subject, and if you get hit with an HMRC Disclosure letter, the best thing to do is to contact an expert to get some advice. Something that can help you get any issues with your tax resolved as quickly and painless as possible, and leave you free to focus on what you do best.
It’s not just taxing that can be taxing for WAHMs, but general administrative tasks as well. After all, if you are in an office setting, they will likely have a specific way of dealing with paperwork and documents, and even someone in charge of doing this for you.
However, when it’s just you in your office at home, it can be tempting to not be so thorough with document management to save time. Unfortunately, this is usually a recipe for disaster, and a false economy, because at some point you will need to pull a file or find an email related to a specific client’s account. Therefore, do set aside some time each day to make sure things are placed in the proper digital or real-world folders.
Breaks are essential
Weird things happen when you first work at home without a boss breathing down your neck, and it can feel like you aren’t doing enough work! This sometimes leads to people working ridiculously long hours, doing extra, and pushing themselves.
Of course, working hard is a good thing, and it’s what will ultimately make you successful in whatever work at home business you have decided to work. However, too much work with too few breaks can create a lot of problems, both in term of stress and mental health, and it can actually affect your performance as well.
To that end, regular breaks are vital, and as there is no one to remind you to take those it can be helpful to schedule them in and set an alarm for then on your smartphone or computer.
You may even want to take this idea a little further and use something like the Pomodoro Technique to break your day up. The purpose of this being that you work in a focused way for a period of time and then take short breaks designed to refreshes your mind and that allows you to continue on effectively.
You can’t be a SAHM and a WAHM
Guess what? You can’t be a SAHM (stay at home mum) and a WAHM at the same time! Why? Well, it’s because even though as a WAHM you are technically at home, you are working and so don’t have the same time and focus to give to your family and to run the house as a SAHM would.
Why is this important to state? Well, It’s because many WAHMS get into a toxic cycle of setting unrealistic expectations and goals for themselves while working at home.
Yes, it’s likely you have chosen to be a WAHM so you can be there when the kids get home from school or keep an eye on them when they are off sick. However, you will still have work to do each and every day. What that means is expecting yourself to clean the house from top to bottom, do all of the washing and ironing, cook a fresh meal each night, take care of the kids, and completing your work to the highest possible standard may be a tad unreasonable.
Of course, this is where WAHMS can end up being their own worst enemy or their personal best friend. Personally, I strongly advise you to choose the latter.
What that means is being kind and compassionate, and setting reasonable and achievable goals to complete each day. It can also help to remember not to expect to achieve any more than you would if you went out to work each day.
Otherwise, you could end up feeling stressed, tired, and overworked, and this is definitely not the best position be in as a WAHM, and can certainly make it very difficult to thrive in these conditions.