Five Steps to Get Your
Priorities Straight in Business and At Home
Operating a successful home-based
business is a time-consuming endeavor. This is doubly true as
work-at-home moms in that we are responsible not only for the success of
our business, but for our family as well. We must be self-reliant,
self-motivated, and discipline ourselves in order to attain success in
When running a business from home,
it's easy to let the phone calls, emails and paperwork keep you tied
down, making you feel that you don't have time to take a break or to
spend quality time with your family. Maybe you've noticed that you spend
a little more time than you'd like in front of your computer or on the
phone. Maybe you see your kids acting out, trying to gain your
attention. Perhaps you are seeing that this isn't the work-at-home
dream you envisioned. You started out with such noble intentions, but
maybe the excitement of success in your business has caused you to lose
sight of the REAL reason you do what you do each day. It happens to so
many of us, but don't worry, help is on the way.
Below are five ideas to prioritize
your life and business:
1. Be honest - You probably didn't
start your work-at-home career to climb the "corporate ladder" of your
at-home business. Chances are that you started your business with the
best of intentions � to be able to be at home with your children, to
contribute financially to your family, or simply to have a little
spending money of your own.
Take a moment and honestly ask
yourself how you've been handling the time commitment of owning a
Are you spending too much
time on the phone, the computer, etc?
Are your kids spending
more time than usual in front of the TV?
Do you snap at your
children because of the stresses of your business?
Do you worry about your
business � to the point that it distracts you when you are with your
2. Make a list � Sit down and write
out a list of things that you see that you'd like to change. This can be
a list of things you can do differently to limit the time you spend on
your business; or a list of ways you can "de-stress" so that you can
deal kindly with your family.
3. Log your time � Buy a notebook or
create a spreadsheet that you can use to log the time you spend on your
business each day. Make a column for each day across the top and a row
of half an hour increments down the side. Every time you sit down at
your desk, write "IN" in the box that corresponds to the time and day.
Every time you leave your desk (or complete a task), fill the
appropriate box with the word "OUT."
At the end of the week, total up the
hours each day that you have spent on business tasks. Are you surprised
or is it about where you thought you'd be? This can be a real eye-opener
and show you in black and white if your priorities have gotten off
track. Take special note for how much time you spend on e-mails and
things that aren't billable.
Diana Ennen of Virtual Word
also recommends that you plan ahead
and schedule your time. Prioritize things and have the work that will
require the most effort and concentration scheduled for your peak time.
Try and not get sidetracked and stay on task focusing on what you need
to do. You'd be amazed how much more work you can get done by simply
changing how you work e-mails. If you only answer them at set hours,
you save yourself from being online all day and not accomplishing much.
4. Take a break � If you get to the
end of the week and your time log has you in shock; it's time to take a
break. If you normally work during the weekend, make it a point to take
this weekend off. Shut down your email, turn off the ringer on your
phone and shut the door to your office. You'll be surprised at how
refreshing this will be.
Use this time off to re-evaluate how
you need to be spending your time. Try to plan out when you can work on
your business without losing out on time with your children. If your
children are in school, make it a point to stop working when they get
home. If your children are still small, maybe you can limit work hours
to naptime or, if possible, have a grandparent watch them once or twice
a week to allow you a bit more work time.
5. Plan an activity � Now that you're
ready to make a change in your routine, why not plan an activity once a
week? This can be an outing with your child or just something simple
like setting aside time to make cookies together.
If possible, find another
work-at-home mom and hold one another accountable to keep to your new
schedules. Make a weekly play date where your children can spend time
together � you can talk business if necessary or decide to make it a "no
business talk allowed" discussion time.
The years that you have at home with
your children are a gift as is your business. The time necessary for
each will be different for every family and situation. Take the time to
find what works for you and set your schedule accordingly. Make it a
point to evaluate your priorities every few months to make sure that
your time is spent properly. The rewards will be well worth it, when
your family not only is proud of your accomplishments in your business,
but also more importantly your accomplishments as their mom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work at Home
Moms, CWAHM.com. This site is dedicated to providing work at home moms
with opportunities to promote their businesses while at the same time
providing them spiritual encouragement and articles. Visit
for additional information. Jill and her husband,
Allen of CWAHD.com (Christian Work at Home Dads) reside in Nebraska with
their two children.
Listen to Jill's radio show, Christian Work at
Home Moment, at