There are statistics on how often we use Facebook, how many of us drink alcoholic beverages regularly and how many of our children graduate high school, but none of these enterprising statisticians have figured out how many women are work-at-home moms. What we do know is, more than 10 million U.S. businesses are owned by women, and a large percentage are WAHMs.
Ninety percent of these women say schedule flexibility is their number one reason for making the decision. Working from home does offer tremendous flexibility, but we have to manage time wisely to be productive. Here is the list of top time killers and how to avoid them.
1. Slothful Hours on Social Networking Sites
Half of all employees report using their Facebook accounts at work, and this statistic is likely higher for WAHMs because we don't have the fear of a boss lurking over our shoulder. Add Twitter, Pinterest, Digg and other fascinating sites, and it's easy to see where many work hours are disappearing.
The relative isolation of working from home makes staying in touch tempting, but you can avoid overusing these sites by sticking to a schedule. Allow yourself to check social sites once each morning, once at lunch and again after work. Give yourself five minutes to check and update statuses and keep these browser windows closed when it isn't your designated time so those alerts won't be tempting you.
2. Never Ending Emails
The average worker loses $1,800 in productivity on email every year. Are you reading and shooting off emails more than needed to get the job done? If you are, you aren't just wasting your own time , you're also taking up your employer's and client's time. Instead of allowing yourself five minutes for socializing on Facebook, Twitter, etc., give yourself 15 minutes in the morning and at lunch for answering emails and checking social sites. When the time's up, you're done.
3. Phony Work Time on Phone Calls
Less than 60 percent of our work hours are actually productive. For most WAHMs, phone calls are part of the problem. Phone calls gobble up minutes quickly, turning into hours of your work week. Learn to handle issues briefly during your email time and spend less time on the phone. Establish regular work hours and only answer phone calls after hours. Check voice mail during your “social” times, but only allow yourself to return critical calls before your scheduled quitting time.
4. Procrastinating With Pets
Eighty percent of the interruptions we allow during work are trivial. Is your attention to pets during work hours more than they require? Are you using your pets as an excuse to procrastinate? According to PETA, pets need a regular schedule just like kids. Set regular times to feed, play and potty, and don't allow yourself or your pet to deviate from the schedule. Soon, your pet will establish regular habits and go right along.
Are these time gobblers eating up your productivity working from home? Axe the time wasters and see your productivity soar, right along with your profits.
Great post! Its very easy to get side-tracked when working from home. Whenever I work from home on my blog I always log out of all my social media sites, email and turn anything off that I could easily get distracted with like the TV etc…..
Its all about managing what time you have effectively and getting the most out of it.
We have two girls so I understand what you mean – I cannot do anything whilst they are around. Which I like because I do not want to miss them growing up!
Yes, I agree. It’s all about getting rid of the distractions and focusing on what needs to be done.
I have to admit that my biggest “time gobblers” are reading news and playing with my dog. Some days it’s all I can do to finish what I start because of these two distractions 🙂
Oh, I understand. My is probably my kids and just browsing the internet.
Working from home I have found I have to set my day around two seperate parts. The early part of the day I end up using for emails and work related socializing. But it is later at night when I do most of my writing. I am thinking this comes from working nights for most of my working life. I am just more used to the later work times.
Granted at any time I am very susceptible to messing around with social networking sites and playing mindless games. I think this is something we can all fall prey to if we aren’t careful.
That’s a good way to separate the day. I don’t really have a set time of doing things but I do try to do everything before my husband gets home from work.
Facebook is a total time suck! Great ideas for how to manage it.
It was for me too but now I only have a business one. My personal one wasn’t really worth it.
I work from home and I find that social media, window shopping on the web and playing games online will waste my time if I am not careful. I try to limit myself to rewarding myself. When I complete something like write an article, then I allow myself to play online for awhile then back to work. When I complete something else, I allow myself to surf the web then back to work.
I also find that when I take these breaks it keeps my brain from feeling fried.
Rewarding yourself like that sounds like an awesome idea! Genius!!
I work from home, but don’t have kids running around. I’ve found that I work best if I don’t open email or social media sites until after lunch, when the bulk of my “real” writing is done for the day. I always laugh when people ask if I work in my pajamas. No way! You have to be totally scheduled to get the most out of working from home!
That’s a good idea to try to not open emails or visit at social media before a certain time. I try to do that sometimes too.
I can definitely understand how any and all of these distractions could happen when trying to work at home. I was surprised to see that on average, people who work from home lose $1800 on productivity by sending and reading emails. It surprises me because I feel like most emails have to do with business, so that shouldn’t be taking away that much from their productivity? I know that for me, social networks would be my downfall in completing work on a day-to-day basis.
I agree with the emails part too. Most of my emails add to productivity I think since they are not personal emails.
I am new as a Work at Home Mom, so I don’t have helpful advise but really need to read this post because it was very informative for me. I do procrastinate a lot, I have an overabundance of e-mails, and can get lost on FB. Will have to time myself from now on so I get more done during my work times.
I know all about getting lost in email and social media. I’ve found that keeping a calendar with everything I need to do in it helps. I love my iCalendar 🙂
Yeah those things are such time killers they should be locked up for killing so much time but not going to happen why because we all like to waste time at some time because time is never ending………..unless you get hit by a truck and end up dead but hell then you still have loads of time just not time being alive and yes I know I am rambling………..damn I forgot to say I am a human will do that now and hit post again……….
I agree. It’s hard not to waste time sometimes. There’s always something else that needs our attention. So if you are doing one thing you aren’t focusing on others. Dilemmas.
Boy isn’t that the truth. I can totally relate to all of the above. I may not be a WAHM but I do find myself falling into the same traps. Great post and OH so true… LOL
Yes, we all do fall into time traps no matter if we work at home or not. Sigh.