Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Countdown to being a work-at-home Mom

Photo: Tunnels of Time by fdecomite

I’m down to my last few days in the office. On February 1, I will officially be unemployed, a stay-at-home Mom, and hopefully, still earning money. Am I ready?

I’m trying to get ready. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

I’m tying lose ends in the office.

My Supervisor has just left for an assignment in another country, but I do still have some important deliverables before I go. And just today our officer-in-charge gave me a new project! I am completing these assignments, clearing out my cubicle (thanks to "Getting Things Done"), and organizing all the electronic files that I need to turn over to my successor. I’ve also begun giving away some of my beloved books to my officemates: two books on color harmony to Med, our graphic designer, and a book on completing a research project to Vincent, who is planning to go to graduate school. I have also touched base with Human Resources to make sure I complete all clearance requirements.

I’m completing my certification as a childbirth educator.

One of my income streams will be my part-time work as a childbirth educator. To prepare for this, I’ve been studying with Childbirth International to become certified. Between juggling my full-time job and family, the certification program has taken me almost three years to complete, but now I’m on the homestretch. I only have a few more requirements to complete. Once certified, I can organize childbirth preparation classes with the proper credentials.

I’m cramming to learn how to earn money through blogging.

This blog (and others still in the pipeline) is my other income stream. I know that blogs don’t make significant amounts of money right away – and some never do – but I’m willing to wait. I enjoy writing and sharing ideas with others so much that I would do it even if I didn’t make any money. But since I will be investing time and energy into it, then I might as well earn something. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and websites about blogging, listing down topics for this blog, writing posts, and researching other WAH blogs.

I’m learning to become more productive.

Let’s face it; it isn’t easy to work at home, especially if one has a family and little children underfoot. One needs to be organized and productive. I just finished reading Getting Things Done (GTD) and have started applying it in the office. As a result, my Email Inbox and desk in-tray are empty and I have cleared half of my desk. I’m also trying out this free online tool for GTD. However, I still haven’t figured out how to apply GTD at home. When I’m at home, I am so preoccupied with the house chores, my kids and my husband that I forget to collect, record and review my Next Actions. Apparently, blogger Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has improved on GTD principles. Today, I broke my rule of not spending on this blog and bought Leo’s productivity book, Zen to Done: The Simple Productivity E-book (which you can purchase for $9.50 by clicking the button on the right sidebar). Watch out for my review of Leo’s book very soon. I also plan to join the Flylady’s online group. Many women swear by the Flylady’s approach to having an organized, clean and uncluttered household and a happy housewife. Who could resist?

I’m networking with other WAHMs.

The one thing that I will surely miss after I leave employment is the daily interaction with colleagues, many of whom have become my friends. I don’t like feeling alone, so I’ve started looking for and joining groups of WAHMs in Facebook and looking at WAHM’s blogs in Stumble Upon. I’ve left comments in a couple of blogs and signed up for membership in Aside from getting moral support from other WAHMs, I hope to discover more tips and tools that I can use and share with my blog readers.

I’m updating my resume.

I don’t expect to be applying for office jobs, but a resume is essential if I decide to apply for telecommuting jobs or offer my services as a consultant. Besides, I would like an accurate and updated record of my accomplishments while I did work in an office. After working full-time for 19 years, I deserve nothing less.

I’m learning about frugal living and personal finance.

I don’t have romantic notions about making easy money quickly while working at home or as a childbirth educator. I know it will probably take several months before I make any real money. In the meantime, it is a good exercise to live frugally, even if I still had a steady income. I’m tired of the pressures of consumerism and would like to live well below my means, invest, make money work for me, give more to charity, and have the resources for the things that really matter.

Am I doing everything I could to prepare myself for WAHM-hood? Am I forgetting something? What else would you do if you were preparing to work at home?

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