Guest post by Sara Tetreault, Mom, blogger, and freelance brand consultant
Working as a freelancer from home and being a mom allows me to work and be there when my kids need me. It works out well as long as I follow a few simple rules. These are my rules that keep our home life running smoother – and keep me sane.
1. Plan ahead for the week based on what’s coming up
Sports, lessons, and work deadlines. Keep a master schedule with all activities listed and plan work around commitments. Make sure there’s also wiggle room in the schedule, too. There’s always something that pops up. Just today I was scheduled to pick up my daughter from an exam and take her back to school. The exam lasted an hour longer than planned but I had brought work along with me so I was able to meet my deadline even though I was late returning to “the office.”
2. Grocery shop and run errands in the morning, one day a week.
If I can run all of my errands on the way to and from the grocery store, I do less back and forth from the house in the car. This is a huge time saver because if I can group my errands and only do them once-a-week, there’s less driving. Usually, I aim for the time right after the kids leave for school and rush hour is over with. There are fewer people on the road and shopping can take half the time. Once traffic starts to pick up around lunchtime and after school lets out there’s no time – and too much traffic to consider errands. I have been known to make a late evening run to the store for tri-fold boards for science projects. Even plan-ahead-moms like me get burned when there’s a last minute homework project announced!
3. Have small jobs ready to bring along during a lesson, class, or sports.
My kids both take piano lessons and while I need to be awake (I have been known to nap occasionally!), I can get work done while the lesson is happening. I have several projects lined up that take about an hour and it can be the best work time. With my phone tucked away and no other distractions, this is time when I know I can start and finish one of my hour-long projects. My trick? I keep a basket by the front door with work that’s ready to go to the lesson or class. There’s no running around at the last minute and arriving late.
4. Work one evening a week.
I work one evening a week and get caught up or make up work I missed during the day. When the kids head off to do their homework in the evening, I head back to the office – also known as the recently converted guest room to office space. This works best when kids are older and can (mostly) handle homework on their own. While this isn’t my favorite time to work, it does allow me to focus on family and dinner knowing that I’ve got time in my corner.
5. Schedule time to exercise.
Flexibility is one of the best parts of freelance work. Scheduling time to exercise keeps me sane and gets me out of the office and into the fresh air. With time to think clearly, I can plan and be creative while getting a workout in. When someone wants to meet for coffee, I oftentimes suggest a walk or a quick hike instead. Spending time outdoors is good physically but also good mentally. Some of my most creative ideas come from running with a friend or colleague.
By following these rules and being efficient with my time, it’s manageable to be both freelancer and a mom. I want to be available when my kids need me and if I follow my own rules, our home life goes a lot smoother and I feel much saner.