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.