For this week’s WAHM Wednesday, I want to discuss being a Work at Home Mom during the holidays since this is usually when you have a billion other things to do, family visiting, and kids who may spend half the month of December on sugar highs. It’s easy to get distracted.
This past weekend I had so many plans of what to get done of my work goals while my husband was off work. And I did do some of them, but I got way distracted by Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals (which all seemed to start on Thanksgiving or Sunday this year…ARGH GIVE US A BREAK CONSUMERISM). Anyway, since I obviously succumbed to all the marketing emails blowing up my inbox, I did not get my to-do list done.
Which brings me to the point of today’s #WAHMWednesday post. How do you balance your holiday to-do list with your work to-do list when you’re a work from home mom as it’s so easy to get distracted?
First, give yourself a break. Literally and figuratively. The holidays are made for distraction. Even when I worked in an office, the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year was ripe with distractions. Popcorn tins and other treats arriving from vendors, office holiday party planning, co-workers in and out due to vacations…and oh, did I mention the treats?
Even though you work from home, you can still give into holiday distractions BUT it’s also good to get things done, right? Though I got a bit distracted this week, I have worked from home for nearly five years and have worked through the chaos of many holidays. Here are my top five tips.
Make Two Separate To-Do Lists
Make two different master lists of what must be done for work during the month of December and what must be done before the holiday arrives. Each night list the things from each list that MUST get done the next day — still on two separate lists: one list for holiday items that need to get done and one list for your work to-dos. Put the items in order of importance and refer back to the list throughout the day or whenever you find yourself getting distracted by things not on those lists.
Most of the time I recommend starting with the work list, but you know your priorities and what’s best. Also, know what can be thrown out. Do you really have to get a photo album of the kids done to hand out to relatives at the Christmas gathering? Or does a card suffice?
If you finish your daily to-do list and find that you have more time, look at your master list and do something that will help your mind frame for the holidays if you have it done. Not the days leading up to the holiday necessarily, but something that will make the actual holiday day less stressful.
Stay Off Social Media
I know…this is so hard. Especially if social media is part of your job. But around the holidays, it seems between the gift guides, the holiday recipes, and the party pictures your friends are posting, it’s easy to get sucked into a holiday dreaming spiral of distraction.
Don’t let yourself get distracted in the first place. If you do have to be on social media, have URLs or hashtags ready so you can just check those (or whatever you need to do for your job) or only sign onto your Facebook Pages app (and not the main Facebook app).
Basically, don’t sign onto the main page of your account if you can avoid it and whatever you do – don’t look at your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed or trending topics on Facebook or Twitter until your work daily to-do list is done!
Take the Holidays Off — Practically Everyone Else Does!
Being an entrepreneur means you sometimes feel you must work every single day. Don’t do that! Take time off! Unless your job is in retail or absolutely requires it, don’t work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and the day right before and after — or whatever holidays you celebrate!
Buy a Starbucks. Wait…What?
I try to be fairly frugal when it comes to specialty coffee. I like black coffee so have no problem making it at home most days (with my beloved Keurig), but on days I know I have to get sh** done on my work to-do list and not get distracted (or fall asleep during nap time along with my daughters cause I stayed up too late the night before reading gift guides…yes, I really love gift guides) I swing through the local Starbucks on the way home from preschool pick-up or whatever morning activity we had going on that day. Because you’d better believe if I’m spending $5 on a latte (HOW are they now $5 a pop? That’s insane, except oh…right. I still pay it.) I’m going to put that caffeine high to good use and WORK.
If I feel myself getting distracted I just glance at my $5 red cup of milk and espresso and immediately feel chastised into staying on task. So…you know…I can continue to afford ridiculously overpriced espresso drinks.
If all else fails and you do get distracted, remember to give yourself that break I was talking about — I justified my weekend shopping by telling myself I’d get all my Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop and wouldn’t have to think about it again until Christmas. We’ll see if that actually happens, but for now…I do feel quite ahead on my shopping! Now let’s just hope the retail industry doesn’t introduce December Cyber Fridays or something. My attention span AND pocketbook can’t handle anymore sales.
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