With most jobs, increased speed is something that simply comes with time since you will likely pick up the pace as you become more familiar with the process.  However, if you try to go quickly right out of the gate, the quality of your work is probably going to suffer.  In some cases, this is true even if you have been doing the same job for ages.  It seems like you can’t increase one without sacrificing the other.  And when you’re a work-at-home mom, faced with a schedule subject to change as well as challenges particular to working from home (a rotating list of clients and jobs, in most cases, as well as unexpected interruptions), then you might encounter even more difficulty in getting your work done well and in a timely manner.  However, there are a few ways in which you can speed up your workflow while still maintaining the quality of your output.

1.       Mandate quiet time.  If your kids are a noisy and active crew, you might have a pretty difficult time concentrating on your work.  By setting aside quiet time during the day (an afternoon nap will allow you to put them in separate rooms where they can rest, read, or play quietly) you can ensure at least a couple of uninterrupted hours in which to make some headway on your work, distraction-free.

2.       Discover your strengths.  Some people work best right after they wake up while others can get more done by burning the midnight oil.  You might need absolute silence (as in, when kids are sleeping) to focus, or you may find that a little background noise (children’s programming, for example) allows you to tune in to your work even better.  If you know where your strengths lie, you can plan a schedule that works for you rather than trying to force yourself to perform when your head’s really not in the game.

3.       Keep kids close.  Splitting your attention between work and kids will definitely slow you down, so instead of sending them outside for some peace and quiet only to find yourself gazing out the window every few seconds to monitor their activities, keep them close.  By creating an office space that can also accommodate your kids (set aside a craft area for them on one side of the room) you can get to work without having to worry about the whereabouts of wayward kids.

4.       Work with your spouse.  You are home with the kids all day, probably trying to work the whole time.  Instead of struggling thus and doing each job at half-capacity, why not play with your kids throughout the day (giving them the full attention they deserve) and then have your spouse take over for a couple of hours in the evening so you can jam on some work?  Knowing that you can totally devote yourself to your work will make it go by much faster.

5.       Engage in intellectual activities.  Your brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised just like any other.  So if you find that a day dominated by children’s entertainment is making you feel dumber by the minute, try working some adult intellect into your day to stay sharp.  Do crosswords, watch CNN, or sneak a few minutes to read the latest on the best-seller list.  This will get your brain going and help you to increase your work speed while possibly even improving the quality of your work.

Jennifer Kardish writes for Morrison CHS which specializes in feed screw, change parts and builds the best products available in the container handling industry.

Image source:  sme-blog.com

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