As a work-from-home mom, I have often found myself answering the business phone at 9pm, while playing in the sandbox and on the weekends (yuck!). The problem was that my business phone was also my personal cell phone. All of my business calls were directed to my cell phone which meant I was connected and available 24/7. The killer entrepreneur in me wanted to take EVERY call (What if it’s important?!?!?) while the mom making a road in the sand for the three year old sandcastle-hauling dump truck driver wanted to throw it into the woods.
There came a point when I realized that the problem wasn’t my customers calling at 9pm on a Saturday night or getting bombarded with business calls in the middle of supper. The problem was that I had chose to forward my business calls to my cell phone. I also chose to answer it.
I allowed myself to feel like I was working 437 hours in a day because I made myself available, anytime, anywhere. Here are some tips to help you disconnect from your business and enjoy being a work from home mom.
I often work between the hours of 6am and 8am and again between 8pm when the kids go to bed and 1am. It’s quiet and the kiddos are sound asleep. I also use that time to answer emails. I only accept calls between 8am and noon. You have to choose your hours. DO NOT cancel that trip to the pool or put your kiddos in front of a TV all day. That isn’t what you envisioned when you decided to be a work at home mom, so let’s get past it.
In this world of constant connectivity, YOU need to be unavailable. When the phone rings while you’re building the worlds 2nd largest sandcastle, you turn off the ringer. When you get an email and then four phone calls from a client at midnight telling you they need a Press Release rushed to the wire by 5am, you tell them it can’t be done. When someone on Facebook sends you 400 messages asking you to create a shirt for the soccer team for free, you tell them thanks for thinking of you and kindly pass on the offer.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR CLIENTS
If you are working from home, don’t be afraid to tell your clients about it. They are going to eventually hear crying and playing and trucks and dinosaur sounds in the background. Calmly assure them that you’re not being eaten alive and then continue on with your business. Don’t, however, hide in the closet to have a “quiet” phone call. Us work-at-home moms proudly rock our businesses in yoga pants and tank tops while filling a milk cup and consulting with a client that had no idea they could really DO that. Being honest with yourself means you can be honest with yourself and your clients about the fact that there will be noises and headbands involved. If they don’t love and respect that idea, it’s time for a new client.
Now, cut those hours, turn off the phone, shut down the computer and get in the sand box.
Krista is a work from home mom who blogs about her adventures in freelancing on her blog at www.KristaConway.com.