Four New Year’s resolutions for working mums

When I made the decision over three years ago to become self-employed and work from home I have to confess it was on a bit of a whim.

(I know, that doesn’t sound like me does it??)

It was inspired partly by boredom and the desire for a new challenge*, alongside the need, as a single parent, for more flexibility. ‘I know what I’ll do,’ I said to myself, ‘I’ll become a freelance journalist! That’ll be fun’.

I had no money, no experience and no training, but I did have enthusiasm, a desk I hastily bought from ebay, and an extensive collection of stationery items. What more did I need?

Over the next few weeks I spent many a happy hour perusing the magazines in WHSmiths and organising my pens into colour order and before long I had carved out what one could almost describe as a career. If by career you meant ‘bizarre collection of jobs with no real plan for the future’. Job done. Or in my case, very nearly done, possibly tomorrow.

"Pens in colour order"

Ooh, pretty…

My difficulty, in working from home, comes from my apparent ability to be distracted by absolutely anything vaguely shiny or more interesting than what I’m currently doing. When you work from home, it’s amazing how alluring the washing up can become when you’ve got a copywriting deadline on the horizon. ‘Right,’ I will say to myself at 9am, ‘time to get cracking.’ And then I’ll wander off to make a cup of tea.

This year though will be different. (Aren’t they all?)

This year I’m going to try really, really hard to work more efficiently. Really truly honestly I am. (At the same time as losing weight, getting fit and reading the news more often obviously). This is my plan, my New Year resolutions as a work at home mum:

  1. If I am in the middle of doing something, just do that thing. It sounds obvious, but the number of times I go looking for an attachment, get distracted by twitter, start writing a blog post, bake a cake, and then come back two hours later to find I was in the middle of sending an email all along is just ridiculous.**
  2. Be stricter with my hours. Yes it’s lovely having the flexibility of being self-employed, but I need to focus on working the key hours when children are at school and then enjoying my time off without feeling guilty.
  3. Not check my emails and twitter every 27 seconds fearing that something Incredible And Amazing is going to be happening that I’m going to miss. Seriously, get over yourself woman, your life really isn’t that interesting.
  4. Make more of an effort to create a long-term plan. This is going to be a toughie as I have a real aversion to planning ahead. What if I change my mind? What if something else, something better or shinier comes along? Without long-term planning though it is all too easy to just say ‘yes’ randomly to any offers of work without thinking about how they contribute to your career objectives. Or so I’ve heard.

And that’s it. This time next year and all that.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

*Not to mention a rather disastrous work fling

**It is worth noting that in the middle of writing this post I left to research and buy business insurance, to look at a recipe book and to eat an apple. You see my problem.



  1. Gill, A Baby on Board
    1 January, 2013 / 1:56 pm

    I’m just about to embark on being self-employed and working mainly from home. I’m also very easily distracted (not an ideal combination when mixed with no sleep and residual baby brain). So it’s great to read this for pointers, and also to know I’m not the only one! I’m foreseeing long to-do lists…

  2. 1 January, 2013 / 2:10 pm

    My resolutions pretty much mirror yours Jo, especially the not getting distracted bit! I’m also throwing into the mix this year training for a marathon in May and an ultra-marathon in June. I said I’d never do anything as big because of the time commitment for training, and I’m already feeling guilty about losing quality family time. But hubby says every now and again you just have to do something for yourself and never mind about being selfish…hmm, might have to work on that attitude!

  3. Natalie
    1 January, 2013 / 2:47 pm

    These are brilliant. This is literally my life, getting distracted so easily is something I HAVE to work on! My husband thinks you wrote these resolutions for me :)

  4. Sharon Fox
    1 January, 2013 / 4:33 pm

    Happy new year Jo. I look forward to continuing to read your posts as they always make me smile :o) Thank you!

  5. 1 January, 2013 / 8:45 pm

    If I knew what sort of thing I could do, I should go self employed (or so my husband reckons). It all seems like too many choices need to be made, and too hard (although we’ll see how easy it is finding a new job in vaguely what I do in the next couple of months)

  6. 1 January, 2013 / 9:06 pm

    These are great! Good luck with them. I might try those things too!

  7. 1 January, 2013 / 11:45 pm

    I am also a self employed mum working from home and my day to day life is exactly the same. I am going to also try to stick to your New Years resolutions (I never get round to making mine…). This post has really made me smile so I will definitely be back to read more.. probably when I should be doing something else ;-).

  8. 2 January, 2013 / 12:53 pm

    I make one: not to make any New Year’s resolutions. By making it, I have immediately broken it, so I cannot get a conscience about it.

  9. auntiejanola
    2 January, 2013 / 1:08 pm

    Good ones! I hope you can keep up with them – I work from home, too. I am a translator and all I need is a desk and a few (hm, or dozens of) dictionaries but sometimes even that is too hard having the little ones around.

  10. 3 January, 2013 / 10:50 am

    Hi Jo. I laughed when I read this. So funny. I am exactly the same. So distracted at home. I have been working from home for about 3 years now. I’m a graphic designer and I also run an online boutique. I do this in between school runs, it can get a bit hectic!

    My main distraction is coffee. Every time I task myself something I grab a coffee before I start. Problem is, I end up doing a million different things on the way and completely forget about what I was doing back in my office.

    When I do finally get back to my office, having scooped up my children’s toys and gadgets on the way. I sit back down only to be faced with a cup of cold coffee. It’s a maddening cycle of distraction. It’s all down to self discipline and not loosing focus I guess. I am going to work with your resolutions in mind. Great blog thanks for sharing.

    Now, what was I doing…?

    P.s. Can I announce my boutique site? Its here: Children’s clothing Thanks again!

  11. 3 January, 2013 / 2:18 pm

    Some great recommendations here – for those new years resolutions, to work form home or to get fit requires preparation and motivation. Don’t burn out by doing too much too soon, a visit to your doctor or physio is recommended! Make any target realistic and measurable!

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