Set some structure.

One of the best things about running a business is that you get to set your own hours and be available for your family when you want. That kind of flexibility is the reason many of us choose this kind of lifestyle business.

But the best way to protect your flexibility is to establish structure. I know that sounds counter intuitive but it works. When you have structure to your workday it allows you to really enjoy your time with family. You aren’t constantly distracted by thoughts of all the work you should be doing.


  • Establish regular working hours. Weather you want to work 40 hours a week or 5 hours a week, it’s important to designate specific work hours so you aren’t trying to squeeze the work in after everything else gets done. Because, let’s face it, a mama’s work is never done! And the best part is, you’re the boss – so you can change those hours anytime you want! But start with a schedule.
  • Identify and de-clutter your workspace.
  • Post in the Facebook Group and let the community know how you were able to schedule your working hours and show us some pictures of your de-cluttered work area!
  • Share the challenge with your friends: Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

Inspiration Verse:

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17


Narrow down your to-do list.

If you’re like me (and any mom I know!) you’re to-do list is a never-ending beast. It’s more of a “brain-dump-of-everything-on-my-mind” than it is an actual, manageable list of things to accomplish. But when you have a list of things to do that is sooooo long you can barely read it without a second cup of coffee, then how are you ever going to feel good about what you’ve completed in a day? You’re pretty much setting yourself up for failure.

Three Things: So, today’s challenge is to narrow down your to-do list. Think realistically about how much time you have to dedicate to your business and choose three things that are your top priority for the day. If you get those three things accomplished, you can always add more. I typically have a “save for later” list that I can pull from when I get my work done for the day.


  • Sync Your Calendar: And here’s the other thing about a to-do list – you need to integrate the items on your list with your calendar. So take a look at your calendar and figure out when you are going to do each of those things. How long will they take? What will you need in order to accomplish them? Make sure your three things fit in the time you have available.
  • Personal To-Do List: I like to keep separate lists of things to do for work and family. That way, I’m focused when it’s time to work, and I have my personal list handy when I’m not working. It takes a bit of restraint and discipline not to fold laundry or set up a teacher conference during work hours – but it also allows me the freedom not to take a work call or answer emails during my family time.
  • Say No: Cutting down your to-do list may involve some difficult decisions. It’s hard to say no – especially to those things we know are good. But God doesn’t expect is to say yes to everything. Here’s a little encouragement if you need help saying “no.”
  • Post in the Facebook Group and let the community know how you were able to schedule your working hours and show us some pictures of your de-cluttered work area!
  • Share the challenge with your friends: Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

Inspiration Verse:

“You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary.” – Luke 10:41-42


Set Boundaries.

Moms who work from home do not lack ambition. We do not lack creativity. We do not lack intelligence, discipline or vision. Some people might say we lack time, although we have the same amount of hours in a day as anyone else. But we are missing something crucial to our success – effective boundaries.

We are in desperate need of a gatekeeper — that wonderful person who protects you from interruptions and distractions and keeps you focused on your most important tasks. I remember being envious of senior level executives in the corporate world who had someone to answer their phones, check their email, schedule appointments and clear their desk so they could solve problems and create solutions. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have that kind of assistant in your home office?

For most of us, that’s a pipe dream. We have to be our own gatekeepers. And it can be particularly challenging when we spend most of our day shifting from “mom” to “business person” and back again. We love both of our jobs and it’s difficult to keep them separated. Our minds are divided and our hearts are torn. But there are some strategies we can put in place to set better boundaries when we work from home.


  • Identify your email policy. Even if you are a solo-business, you should have a policy around email. (If you currently have more than 50 emails in your inbox, then you will love having an email policy!) Technology has blurred the lines between work and family – and it’s up to you to protect those lines. Do you read and respond to emails after business hours? Do you check email throughout the day or only at certain times? Do you have a system for acting on important emails and removing the clutter from your inbox? Do you have separate email addresses for business and personal use?
  • Create a phone policy. It would be nice if someone would answer our phones for us, but technology is a good substitute for most home-based businesses. Personally, I don’t have my ringer turned on (my phone doesn’t even vibrate). So I don’t ever answer the phone unless it’s a call I’m expecting (or I happen to randomly see the incoming call and I can tell who it is and want to talk!). I let my voicemail serve as the first screen for both business and personal messages. Usually, I can respond via text or email later. Your situation might be different and you may need or want to answer your phone. So what are your boundaries around that? How quickly do you respond to phone messages? Do you use a separate phone for business and personal? Do you give clients or employees your cell phone number?
  • Establish rules around texting and social media. I got a text from a professional colleague one day that read “Please call me.” I thought it must have been urgent. But no, he just wanted to talk about something that could easily have been handled via email or waited until our next meeting. I also received a text from someone who offered unsolicited business advice. It was not a conversation that was appropriate for texting. In fact, I shouldn’t have even responded to it, but I did. I’ve let texting get a bit out of control and I need to draw better boundaries with it. The same goes for social media – I’m finding that people expect that I see everything they post on social media, especially if they tag me or invite me to an event. The truth is, I don’t see everything because I don’t feel compelled to read every notification I get. If that means I miss a party, I guess that’s the price I pay for protecting my own time. So what are your rules related to texting or social media?
  • Reconsider lunch dates.  If you are a solo-business owner, you probably enjoy the socialization of a lunch or coffee date every once in a while. I know I do! But I am very selective about how often I schedule these dates. I’m also particular about who I meet with and what the agenda is. Sometimes it’s just a chance to catch up over a meal – which is great! Or a chance to network or get to know a new friend, which I love to do on a limited basis. But if I feel like the other person has an agenda or wants to pick my brain or wants to ask for my support on something, I try to get clear on that before we meet. So I know what to expect and can decide if that’s the best use of my time. Do you accept lunch or coffee dates? If so, what are your personal rules or boundaries around them?
  • Communicate your boundaries.  It’s not enough for YOU to set boundaries, you also have to make sure those around you know what to expect. Talk with your children about rules for picking up the phone, answering the door, keeping the noise volume down and entering the office without permission. Discuss your office hours with your husband so he knows when to expect you to be available for him (hint, hint: you might need to have this conversation if he’s upset that you spend every night on the couch with your laptop while he’s trying to enjoy downtime with you). Let your mom know that you can’t chat for an hour every day while you’re working (then give her an alternative time to talk!). Tell the ladies in your small group that you won’t be able to grab coffee spontaneously but that you can’t wait for the next regularly scheduled meeting. And by all means, kindly inform your friends, your sister and your neighbors that while you love their children you are not available to babysit during work hours.
  • Post in the Facebook Group and let the community know how you were able to schedule your working hours and show us some pictures of your de-cluttered work area!
  • Share the challenge with your friends: Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

Inspiration Verse:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1


Batch Your Tasks.

If you’re a busy mom running a business while raising your kids, you probably shift from role to role all day long, changing metaphorical hats. One minute you’re changing a diaper, the next minute you’re on a conference call. (If you’re being perfectly honest, there are times you’re doing both things at the same time!). Well, that’s one of the benefits of being a mompreneur, you have the flexibility to multitask and get both jobs done at the same time.

But sometimes multitasking is not the most efficient method. Sometimes, when you shift back and forth all day long, you actually lose momentum and you lose precious time. There has actually been research done on this topic. And it shows that when you are interrupted from a task to do something else, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain focus on the original task. It adds to stress and mental frustration – don’t we have enough of that already? It’s a dizzying existence. And exhausting!

I used to take pride in my ability to multitask. But eventually I realized there is no trophy for winning the “busy” race. In fact, there’s not even a finish line to cross. The multi-tasking woman simply feeds on her own accomplishments and continues to get busier and busier until she falls apart. And that’s what happened to me. I eventually fell apart. Physically, spiritually and emotionally. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the wake-up call I needed to drop out of the race and find some balance in my life.

That’s when I discovered the value of batching my tasks. I taught myself to become more productive- and more creative – by batching similar tasks that required similar effort into a window of time to streamline my process.

Assignment: Here are some things I learned to batch and challenge you to try these as well:

  • Email – instead of checking email constantly I set aside specific times of the day to check and respond to them.
  • Errands – I block a half day each week for errands and try to minimize little trips that don’t fit into that window of time.
  • Phone calls – If I have a bunch of calls to make, I block off time to do them all at once so I’m not trying to squeeze them in between meetings or while I’m taking care of the kids.
  • Writing – I’ve learned writing takes a special kind of focus, so I have to block uninterrupted time in the day for writing.
  • Post in the Facebook Group and let the community know how you were able to schedule your working hours and show us some pictures of your de-cluttered work area!
  • Share the challenge with your friends: Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

Some experts recommend using a timer to stay focused during your blocks of time for specific tasks. I’ve tried that and it does seem to help. I don’t use it on a regular basis but it definitely taught me the method.

Inspiration Verse:

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” – Proverbs 24:27


Create Accountability

One of the three greatest challenges of being a mompreneur is isolation – especially if you work from home. It’s really hard to focus on achieving your goals when you don’t have anyone holding you accountable. In fact, it’s difficult to even set goals. That’s why so many of us are content with just doing the job… and we consider it a success when things don’t fall to pieces.

But, if you’ve made it this far in the 5-day challenge, you’re most likely the kind of person who knows there is more to being an entrepreneur than surviving the day doing the same old thing. You know that setting goals and focusing on them is the only way to build a successful business that really gives you the time and money you need to do the things that matter most to you. But with so many things competing for your attention each day, it’s hard to make the progress you know you need.

The good news is that you are not alone in this challenge! In fact, there are 8.6 million women-owned businesses and they’re growing at a faster rate than any other business. That means, there are a lot of mom entrepreneurs out there with the same challenges you face – many of them working from home while raising a family. And with today’s global business environment, it’s easier than ever before to connect with them.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons I started the International Christian Mompreneur Network – so I could surround myself with other women who shared my values of faith, family and business. So we could hold each other accountable for meeting our goals while staying true to our values. And in the very first mastermind group we launched, we learned the benefit of accountability. Today’s assignment is to find a partner or coach or group to hold you accountable and keep you focused on what matters most in your life!


  • Find accountability in whatever way works best for you. If you prefer an accountability partner you can talk with every day or once a week, you can find one in our Facebook group (or stay tuned for details about our next mastermind for a deeper connection!)
  • Want to know more about how an Accountability Partner Relationship works? Listen to this!
  • To create some structure to your accountability relationship and help you both take it seriously, download our free Accountability Partner Contract here.
  • Another option is to find a coach – either a life coach or a business coach, or maybe a spiritual mentor, depending on your current needs. If that’s the type of accountability you’re looking for, contact me at info@theresaceniccola.com for more information about how we can help you through the International Christian Mompreneur Network.
  • Join us for a Facebook Live today as we answer your questions. Join here at 1pm ET.

Inspiration Verse:

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” – Proverbs 13:20