How To Stay Focused at Your Job as a Working Mother
Tips for working mothers to help them keep their sanity and productivity, no matter what the kids are up to.
Guest post by Ujëbardha Bekolli, Mother Works
Every once in a while everyone experiences a downhill at their workplace. We get fed up by daily drama, same old routine and everything looks like a bore. However the loss of focus that mothers experience is entirely different. Whether you work part-time jobs or full time, this lack of focus has a taste of fatigue, tiresome, chaos and imbalance. That is because our mind is floating in 20 different things within one minute.
We’re worrying about whether the baby is asleep right now, if the nanny forgot to feed her, wondering if we manage to make it home for dinner, maybe that co-worker will give me a hand, what if our plans for next year’s summer camp fail, is the world we live in a safe place to raise children?
And this is just the average of what’s going on inside our heads. So, how can we manage to gather our senses and focus on our job?
You can be the most efficient person in the world who memorizes everything, and yet without having a proper list,, your brains will feel chaotic. So in order for you to feel more organized, make a list of things you have to do throughout the day. Better yet, make two lists. Divide whatever it is that you have to do once you get home, and the tasks you are assigned to do while being at your work desk.
Visualize yourself crossing a huge line in between these two, without being able to go back and forth from one list to another. This will help you feel more at ease, and it will clarify your thoughts. Cross each task out of the list once finished, and the sense of relief you will feel is utterly amazing.
Use breaks efficiently
There is no use in working 3-4 straight hours while you're always thinking about getting a snack or grabbing a coffee. Although breaks work differently depending on people, use them to the maximum, to recharge and to gain balance.
Use that balcony at work to go outside and breathe some fresh air, while sipping your coffee. Call your husband or talk to your toddler. It will help you gain back some inspiration, and you will return stronger, knowing that you are blessed with those people who will be eagerly waiting for you to come home. You’ll come back wanting to hug your boss out of the sweetness you’ve received from a phone call. Don’t do it though, he’ll think you’ve gone mad!
Make ‘you’ time and ‘we’ time
You would be surprised to know how much time off of work impacts your time at work. When you’re stressing out over lack of sleep, or that discussion you had last night with your partner over the kids, you will be constantly distracted.
So set up dinner dates with your loved one, open up a bottle of wine after the kids have gone to bed and spice things up a little bit. That spontaneous drive will keep you going throughout everything.
But don’t forget to make some time for yourself as well whether that be in the early sunrise or those late hours of tranquility. Recharge, take a bath filled with scents, take some yoga classes or go out for a long run. It might sound like a cliche piece of advice, but it will add some blissfulness to your daily routine.
You do not have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. When I say share, I do not only imply the sharing concept of chores, although that is what you should do in the first place. Let your partner pick up the children, do laundry or wash the dishes every once in a while. Let your daughter cook and don’t laugh out at her chicken recipe. This will ease your responsibilities, and it will grow out your children to be good-willing independent human beings.
But also, share your concerns. May that be with your spouse, friends, co-workers or fellow parents who are also struggling to find that work-family balance.
As you commiserate with people going through the same situation, you will not feel alone. In fact, you will gain strength as they make you feel great about all the work you're doing.
Keep your expectations real
All those stories you hear on TV about how you can do it all, you can be perfect, or that ‘Beyonce also had 24 hours at her disposal and look what she achieved’ nonsense, ignore them all. You are doing everything that a regular, normal mum can do. So do not set unrealistic expectations for what you owe to be doing, or what your children should become like.
Follow a reasonable pace and let things flow. I promise you will feel peace captivate you once you know your worth and realize that some things take patience. You have to go by a list of priorities, and follow that list through whatever. If your priority is a presentation you have for tomorrow, don’t start scrolling through food recipes for dinner. Resisting that sweet call of Facebook to keep scrolling will reward you with positive feedback at work tomorrow.
Do nothing day
I know it sounds luxurious, being both an employee and a mum, but sometimes doing nothing isn’t really a waste of time.
You’ve heard people talk about cheat days, how about applying that version for you and your family. Cheat your career every once in a while, by lingering in bed for some extra hours, watching cheesy tv shows or ordering Chinese.
Your children will think you rock, and I’m sure you’ll be able to put up with some mess once you get a bucket full of laughter in return.
Ujëbardha Bekolli is a writer for mother-works.com. MotherWorks is a job portal designed to bring together stay at home moms and recruiters. The platform also brings helpful articles in the Blog section regarding mothers who want to return to the workforce.