When you’re a work at home mom trying to balance a business with family, it is hard to find time to work while taking care of a busy household.
In addition to setting a firm schedule when you can work, another option is to be very flexible and work at every opportunity you can — even if that means working in your car, in a coffee shop, or while the kids are finishing their ballet lessons.
The Challenge of Finding Time to Work
My main challenge is to be productive in the few hours that I can snatch the time to work. During school days, I can work in peace when the kids are in school. But working when they come home becomes a challenge, even with a nanny. So I really have to learn to squeeze in work at every free time that I can get.
Waiting at the doctor’s office? That could give me about 30 minutes to an hour of time to work. I also travel and take the train some days of the week, and I use the time of the commute to make full use of the time and work. On weekends, I drive the kids from one practice or lesson to the next, and instead of idly sitting by (and chatting with other waiting moms or dads), I use those moments to catch up on work.
Given this type of schedule, I need a powerful and reliable computer system at home, as well as gadgets and computer systems that will allow me to work when I am on the go.
Working at Home with Lenovo ThinkCentre Computer
At home, I use the new Lenovo ThinkCentre M75e with two 19’’ monitors system, which I love. It’s not flashy or a sexy machine, but it is a solid performing business computer system. Lenovo has become a reliable computer system for businesses, and it suits my needs perfectly. It is a workhorse — fast, boots up quickly, and does not crash even when I open several programs — just what I need to perform the tasks I need for the business. With its memory and processor speed, it allows me to do graphic editing and video creation as well.
Another plus side of the M75e is that it does not occupy too much space, which is important is you have limited home office area. Better yet, for its computing power, the price won’t bust your bank account. For its power and reliability, the system is a good and reasonable buy, as it can be purchased anywhere from $680 to $818 depending on the configuration.
The Lenovo system I use also has double monitors, which have become a must for me given my tendency to multitask. This allows me to have one screen to monitor my social media marketing (Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin via Tweetdeck), and emails, and another screen for writing or working on the Website.
Working Outside the House
Since I am on-the-go most of the time, I had to invest in a computer system and other gadgets that will allow me to be mobile and productive at the same time. I use iPhone to check my emails, quickly monitor my Facebook or Twitter, and serve as my handy reminder of my to-do list for the day.
My on-the-go computer system needs to be fast and powerful yet lightweight (my purse is heavy enough as it is carrying various snacks and extra clothes of the kids). I need a system that I can use to easily check and respond to emails, do word processing and surf the Web.
iPads for me, cool as they are, are a no go. I don’t want to be fumbling over the touch screen while I write. I’m not a big fan of ebooks and still prefer the old fashioned printed books so both iPad and Kindle have limited use for me.
Speed, however, is very important. I used to have a Sony laptop that’s small (fits well with my weight requirements) but takes me one train stop to boot it up, and another train stop for my mobile broadband to connect. It was such a waste of time.
I’m now currently using the 11 inch Macbook Air, and I am absolutely in love with it. It is very thin, light and easy to carry. It fits my purse perfectly. Most of all, it is very fast. MacBook Air also has a long lasting battery (up to 6 hours, without the Flash; 4 hours if you install Flash) so I have a lot of work time wherever I bring it.
Mac’s iWorks software also allows you to export your files into their Microsoft Office documents so it makes it easy to use a Mac system when I am on the go, and PC systems when I am in the home office.
Since the family has a hectic schedule, I take every opportunity that I can to work. I want to be always prepared when I go out of the house as I just never know when I can have an extra 15 minutes or an hour’s worth of extra time in my hands.
What is your preferred computer system when working from home and on the go?