We moms are busy people. What makes me crazy is when moms have been conditioned to think that we’re too busy to take care of our families, therefore we’re obviously too busy to run a business.
Sometimes, not all the time, we moms need to earn more money. Sometimes it’s because we’re just flat broke. Other times you’re like me and you have huge financial goals that you want to achieve and your husband’s income won’t be able to meet them, no matter how many extra overtime shifts he picks up. A mom I met in a Facebook group recently has a husband who won’t work. I’ve been in all of those situations at one time or another. (Although I would like to point out the man who wouldn’t work in my house is my ex. Ian’s a hard worker who is anything but a deadbeat.)
Whatever the reason, sometimes we moms need to work, but we believe the lie that we are just too busy.
Cut the crap
When Ian and I sat down to get serious about getting out of debt, we realized that it would take us around three years to get out of debt with our current income. He was already looking for a better job, but I knew in order to make the cash we needed to make our goals, I needed to stop part-timing it and get laser focus and cut out all distractions.
I had to cut out everything out of my life that wasn’t helping me meet my goals. I took some steps to simplify my life that felt very radical at the time, but are pretty normal to me now.
- Put your phone on do not disturb during work time. (If you’re not techie, here is how to do it on an iPhone)
- Get off social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Imgur… all of it. Turn it off. Check out my blog post on how to cut out distractions when you work online.
- Stay off Netflix, Amazon Prime Movies, or however else you watch the boob tube (as my grandfather calls it)
- Get rid of games on your phone. They aren’t making you money or building your business, so delete it if you don’t have the discipline to stay out of it during work hours. Candy Crush and game makers are making money while you sit around broke, wishing you had more time!
The things that I cut out of my life gave me hours of time to work. Of course, I still had kids at home so they were never interruption-free hours, but they were time I could spend working.
I also started using these 6 amazing tools to help me stay focused during work time, since the internet is basically a black hole of distraction.
Stop the excuses. Right now.
There is a woman I know, let’s call her Elizabeth, who is a chronically irresponsible adult. She’s a nice enough lady, but not someone you would want to model your life after. Her house is always a mess, she always has a string of unfinished projects and a coordinating list of excuses why she hasn’t finished them, a list of business ideas she made plans for and some that she started, but none of them “worked.”
Why do businesses fail for people like Elizabeth? Because she always has an excuse. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a lot like that! I had a habit of being a habitual procrastinator because I always wanted everything to be perfect, which kept me from starting. It held me back in literally every area of my life.
One day I woke up after a visit with Elizabeth and realized that my life would look like hers if I kept making excuses why I ‘couldn’t’ do things or why I ‘wasn’t able’ to keep chugging on to the finish line with the ideas and dreams I had. So I made a list of the
reasons excuses I’d been giving for giving up.
- I was too busy and had other “important” things to do
- I didn’t have time to spare
- I just wasn’t a finisher like some people
- Client work took up too much time
- I “deserved” time to relax
- … but mostly I didn’t want to fail
I realized that by not having the discipline to cut out distractions and get over my fears and lazy habits I was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believed I was too busy, so I kept myself busy with other things. I deserved time to relax, so I took time (that time I “didn’t have”) to binge watch shows on Netflix, to beat just one more level on the latest game, or to spend flipping through Facebook.
Y’all that’s stupid! If you have time to flip through Facebook then you have time to do something productive like starting a business. No one said you have to work for eight uninterrupted hours a day in order to get a business off the ground, because for many stay at home moms that’s just completely unrealistic!
So I made a list of affirming counter arguments for my excuses. Some people call this manifestation, or affirmations, other people call it motivation… call it whatever you want. I knew I needed to change my behavior if I wanted to change my life.
I set alarms on my phone to remind me how I was working (I use a free app called Cozi to do this, I also use the same technique for goals today in my business, you can see the details of that in this post.)
- I can choose to do what’s uncomfortable right now in order to have long-term gain.
- I understand where I spend my time reflects my priorities. I almost always have time I can spare, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there.
- If I use the dedication and consistency that I’ve applied to time-wasting activities in the past, and I apply it to my work I can achieve amazing things.
I choose to have something valuable to show for my time.
When deciding what I “deserved” I weighed the long-term benefits of each option. Do I deserve to have nothing to show for my time, except having watched Grey’s season 10 for the millionth time? Or did I deserve to have a successful thriving business?
I wrote these on my bathroom mirror, made them the background on my phone and made my goals the background on my laptop, and used Cozi to remind me at intervals throughout the day. It felt a bit like a 12-step program, except it was for habitually wasting my time instead of using it to invest in my future.
Learn to delegate, and have high standards for older family members
One of the things I’ve learned is that without delegation, my house doesn’t work. All systems fall apart, and I’m left with a hot mess to manage, and it’s too overwhelming for me to handle. The philosophy I use with my kids is that everyone should learn to be as age-appropriately independent as possible.
For a while, I lived with a family who, putting it mildly, really struggled with even the most basic aspects of cleanliness of their house. The mom asked me to help her and we talked about what kind of boundaries she needed to enforce with her teenagers in order for them to be allowed to do activities outside of the house. When push came to shove, she wouldn’t even enforce those boundaries, saying she felt bad for not letting them go out, even if their rooms were littered with dog poop and month-old laundry and dishes. The house stayed disgusting until she moved into a new house, and she stayed in a constant cycle of overwhelm because she never felt like she could get the help she needed.
If you aren’t willing to enforce your efforts to delegate, it is basically pointless. In the beginning of your efforts to delegate, it’s probably going to be a painful process where you’ll most likely regret ever trying to delegate anything, if you’re as perfectionistic as I am. 😉 But when you have trained the people you live with to take be as independent as they can be for their ages, it frees up so much time and energy, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without it!
It’s not crazy. It’s mom life.
I got accused once of being obsessed with work, but I wanted a better life for my family. There are many wonderful mothers out there who are providing for their families by working outside the home for 40 hours a week, so I have no problem teaching my daughter that it’s okay for mommy to work while she cleans her room and does her quiet time in the afternoon.
I have no problem letting my husband indulge in some Call of Duty in the evening after the kids go to bed while I work. (He’s certainly not complaining any when that happens!)
I also want to encourage you: I don’t always work all the time. Sometimes my “work week” means checking my income, email and social media for a week at a time. I have chosen to fill my time enriching my family financially in the moments I can steal from my normal routine, while taking time to enjoy week-long trips to visit my family or giving my husband the opportunity to take the week off and go home to hunt and visit with his childhood best friend.
Your priorities are reflected in how you spend your time. How are you spending yours?