As a work at home mom (WAHM), I’ve mastered the art of finishing things very quickly. But, despite the fact that tasks have to be completed in a short amount of time, my industry requires highly detail-oriented and error-free results.
Every minute of my day I am meticulous and calculated. From the time I wake up until the time I fall into my bed at night, I have my goal for that day in mind with a plan to finish most tasks in 24 hours.
Here are 10 tips that help me get almost anything done in 24 hours.
1. Turn off ALL devices
Turn off the TV, tablets and log-off of social media. Distractions make it hard to stay focused and get anything done. For example, I log off of Facebook once I have made up my mind that I have a goal for the day with a looming deadline.
2. Let calls roll to voicemail
I put my phone on vibrate and will only answer if it’s a relative or close friends. Everyone else can wait. If I answer and my family and friends simply want to chat, I cut it off quickly by telling them I have a deadline.
3. Preclude distractions
Even my sons understand: when Mommy is working, no interruptions — unless someone is profusely bleeding or dying. (Haha. Just kidding. Wait, am I? No, not really.) It’s so easy for me to get sidetracked. I can’t stay focused with even the slightest distraction. My mind is always going, so I have to minimize all interruptions if I want to complete any task to the best of my ability.
4. Close unused browser tabs
If you leave too many tabs open it is distracting and causes your computer’s performance to slow; which can also slow down your productivity. Use browser extensions, like Tab Wrangler for Chrome which automatically closes inactive tabs and makes it easy to get them back.
5. Optimize computer performance
A slow computer can wreak havoc on productivity. Use free tools like CC Cleaner, a PC cleaner and optimization tool, to protect your privacy and make your computer faster and more secure. You can also download Malwarebytes, to protect your system against malware, ransomware, and other advanced online threats.
Meanwhile, use Activity Monitor on your Mac, and Task Manger for PC’s, to view and manage processes and see how they affect your computer activity and performance. Also, save files in the cloud using your preferred cloud storage provider (i.e., Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc.). This will save Drive space and ramp up performance.
6. Keep healthy snacks and coffee on hand
I barely stop when I’m focused on work. However, eating healthy snacks through the day is good because it replenishes nutrition and boosts energy. Consider Sunday meal prep so your food is ready to go during the week. Head to the kitchen for food, which forces you to take a little break and then get back to your work.
7. Keep the kids occupied
I admit, it’s insane to start a business with three children under the age of 12, but it’s not impossible. I just have to be a bit more organized, practice effective time management techniques and remain persistent to achieve my goals.
I usually let my two older sons play outside when I need focused time without interruption. Also, I’ll send my toddler downstairs with my two oldest sons in between feedings and diaper changes.
8. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Don’t waste a lot of time trying to do things your own way. Find someone who is an expert at what they do and follow their lead. For example, I studied the advice of Mark Wills, creator of the Loan Signing System, when I began my Fairfax, VA-based mobile notary business. This approach will save you so much time because you can learn from the mistakes of others.
9. Hire some help
This might sound obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how stubborn I used to be — I would not admit that I needed help. I felt guilty asking for help. I believed I should be doing all of the household duties since I was sitting in the house. Boy, was I wrong.
Finally, I came to terms with what being a work at home mom means — I manage a household, three sons and three business. I would never be able to accomplish it all (or stay sane) if I didn’t seek help. Since becoming a business owner two years ago, I’ve overcome my fear of letting go. I’ll hire people to do anything. You name it and I’ve probably hired someone to do it.
10. Use apps
I have a ton of apps installed on my Google Chrome browser and my smartphone. Apps help me complete my daily grind. For example, when it comes to social media management use Buffer, HootSuite or Everypost to manage multiple networks simultaneously and maximize your social marketing performance. Apps free up your time so you can accomplish other essential tasks.
11. Bonus: Overcome perfectionism
Sometimes, the “good enough” path will get you to your goal much faster than the long and winding road of perfection.
I’ve learned to slightly lower my standards to allow for more flexibility in my Type-A life. This is necessary for every perfectionist. If you try to do everything perfectly it is pointless because the finished product is rarely “finished”.
When I let go of my high-strung perfectionist behaviors I became more productive, and accomplished more of my goals. It allowed me to get back to the business of what’s really important and enjoy life.
This article has been edited.
Samantha Dawson-Williams, a work at home mom of 3, is a web and graphic designer, freelance writer, and the CEO of LocStar Revolution. In her free time, you can find Samantha reading biographies, watching documentaries or spending quality time with her family. Samantha lives in Fairfax, VA with her fiancé and 3 sons.