Top 10 eBay Life Hacks for Parents

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The Back-to-School season means it’s time for kids to get busy learning and making new friends! It’s also time for parents who sell online with eBay (or any eCommerce site) to roll up their sleeves and get to work taking the Internet by storm!
For those with young children, I know what it feels likes¬†on that first morning of school. There’s a flurry of new clothes, school supplies, backpacks and jittery tummy butterflies as kids get ready to navigate new classrooms, teachers, and friends. And, no matter how ready we are for them to be back in school and out from under our feet (Oops! Did I say that out loud? LOL), it is bittersweet knowing they are growing up far too fast.

Yes, the start of the school year can feel like vacation time for mom or dad. All of a sudden you actually have time for yourself and the quiet is nothing short of delicious!
I can remember getting hooked one year on my kid’s Nintendo. LOL I started playing Mario as soon as they were on their way and occasionally would play for several hours straight! Don’t judge me. ūüėČ
However, that play time was short lived as soon as I realized that I worked from home and being able to feed my kids depended on how well I did my job! Yikes!
Now as a wiser and smarter parent who makes a living online, I can share my top life hacking tips for getting organized and staying motivated!
Let’s go!

10. Organize The Office

office clutter

There is nothing less motivating than a messy desk. Productivity is the key for online/working from home success so make sure the “work space” is tidy. Einstein may have said that a cluttered desk is the sign of a genius but Brian Tracy says:

Psychologically, the sight of a cluttered desk or office provides visual subconscious feedback that reinforces your perception that you are disorganized. It leads to continuous distraction as your eyes and your attention dart from item to item, and back again. – Brian Tracy

So straighten up and rule your online empire like a boss!

9. After school snacks

work at home snacks

Children of all ages are hungry when they come home from school. I always tried to have something ready for them to eat upon arrival.
My kid’s favorite treat was having something fresh from the oven like “cookies.” For cookies, you can prepare the dough the night before while making dinner or before bed.
If the snacks are a bit more on the healthy side, cut up the fruit and/or veggies ahead as well. The idea is to make after-school snack time easy on your kids and your professional life!

8. Menu РBreakfast, Lunch, Dinner

work at home cookbook
The following is the same method I use to be super productive in social media. I take time to focus on one thing and work it through in a thorough and well thought out fashion. This approach saves time and money – because they’re the same thing, right?
Grab a cookbook and a pad of paper. Browse through the book and, as you find recipes that will work for your meals, write on one paper the meal name along with the page number of the cookbook.
Next, use another paper to create a grocery list for the items needed to make all meals you’ve chosen. Continue on until you have 7 days of meals planned.
I mainly used this technique for dinners. I kept breakfast simple (cereal usually) and took advantage of the paid lunches at school. This helped simplify the process. Then, I kept the “menu” options on the fridge with the page numbers to the recipes in the cookbook. Each day I could simply pick a meal from the list and cross it off when complete.
NOTE: Cookbook I used often : Fix It and Forget It by Dawn Rank. The crock-pot became my best friend as a work-from-home mom!

7. Grocery Shopping

work at home grocery shopping
Honestly, grocery shopping is not one of my favorite things. The goal with this is to have a list. This allows you to get into the grocery store and out of the grocery store as fast as possible!!! LOL.
Also, buying only items from the list, helps you to stay within the budget.
I like shopping at night best. After kids were in bed I would get my mom to watch them and go to a grocery store which was open late. Or, I would turn it into a weekend family outing and divide the list for everyone to help out. My kids LOVED this!

6. Set the Timer and/or Alarm

ebay online selling timer
If you’ve been to any of my eBay classes and workshops, you know I always my “Timer Method”. I live by this system because it helps me to stay focused on tasks at hand.
When the kids are off at school, every second counts so it’s important to organize the tasks at hand and to set a time to complete and/or work on each task.
For example, if you need to do some Facebook marketing – set the timer for 30 min or an hour. The, log into Facebook and get busy! Once the timer goes off, log-out of Facebook and move onto the next task. This is actually my secret sauce for managing my time so I know first hand how well it works.

5. Laundry

simplify laundry
Between me and my 3 kids, we could generate enough laundry for a small nation! If I hadn’t come up with a solution for how to handle the laundry issue (and, believe me, it was an issue!), washing clothes would have taken up most of my life!
My method?
Stock-up on laundry baskets! I prefer the tall types and placed one in each bedroom along with one in the laundry room!
I taught my kids at an early age how to use the washer and dryer. Each person in the household should had their own laundry basket and when it filled up, they did their own wash! This method helped the kids establish some independence and they loved being able to contribute!
The only exception to my rule is the bath towels. I keep an basket in the laundry room designated for the towels and any “special whites” – I took care of these items.
NOTE: I never allowed my kids to use the bleach so the whites that needed bleaching were tossed into the towel basket (aka “The Mom Basket”).

4. Wall Calendars

back to school calendar
You will need 2 calendars. One large calendar to be kept in a highly visible spot so that everyone in the family can read it and the 2nd calendar will be your work calendar kept in your office/work-space.
Yes. I know. Wall calendars are so ‘yesterday’. And it could be argued they are not ‘green’ BUT:

  1. We ALL need visual reminders. Having a couple calendars hanging on different walls is likely to get and keep everyone’s attention far more than the digital calendar set on their phone, PC or laptop. After all, a wall calendar is always there – right in your line of sight whereas digital calendars have to be “accessed”.
  2. Many companies put out wall calendars which are made of 100% recycled materials.

work at home monthly planner
LOL Yes. I know. Above I said that wall calendars are better visually than digital calendars. And they are. But wall calendars can’t chime a bell as a reminder – however, digital calendars can!
For smartphone users it will be most helpful to include all dates and times on the phone calendar along with alerts and notices for that extra reminder on “where” you need to be. ¬†And for really important events, include an alert an hour before or min before based on the time needed to leave the house or to prepare to be on time for a meeting or event.
There are many apps available for appointment reminders include desktop and laptop reminders that will pop-up on the screen.

3. Hire a Cleaning Person/Company

work at home house cleaning
Before I even get started explaining what a smart business move it is to hire a home cleaning service, let me just say;

YES! You can do this and YES you DO deserve it!

Here’s my list of why it makes solid financial sense to hire a cleaning service:

  1. How much money do you make in an hour? Likely, you make more than what a cleaning service charges. If so, then you actually LOSE money when you take the time to clean!
  2. Remember earlier that whole thing about a messy desk? Now imagine what working out of a messy home does to your productivity and work satisfaction levels? Messy = chaos. Chaos = frustration. Get. A. Cleaning. Service!

Find yourself a cleaning person to come in at least once every 5 weeks! Budget this into your business plan. Shop around because there are reasonable and dependable cleaners out there that would be happy to have your business.
When my cleaning service comes I have them start with my office. Then when they are done I go inside, shut the door and let them have at it with cleaning the house!
It’s a beautiful day in the workforce when I walk out to a sparkling, fresh smelling, clean home after I’ve completed many tasks while online!

2. Get Rid of Outside Interference

working from home issues
Learn to say “NO”!
I’ve worked from home since my youngest was in 2nd grade. So, I know how easy it is for parents and teachers from school, friends, and family to assume you have tons of free time because you work from home. They don’t think of working online or at home as a “real” job.
Teachers and other parents get huffy because you won’t volunteer in the classroom. Family and friends get miffed because you can’t stop everything you’re doing and chit-chat.
The key here is to be very clear that working from home is not code for “fun hobby that makes a bit of side money”. Explain nicely that you own and operate the business which pays your family’s bills.
All that said, I never passed up the opportunity to go on a field trip with my kids! After all, I found a way to make my living online so that I could have the freedom to make my own schedule!

1. Goal Setting for Success!

work from home goal setting
Over the years, many students have expressed that working from home can be challenging because it’s easy to get distracted. Because of this, setting goals is the magic key when working from home!
One important factor in this mix is not only to set the goals but with each goal accomplished there should be a “reward”!
Rewards help me to complete the goals in a more timely manner because it gives something to look forward to for time well spent. The reward could be as simple as a special dinner or treat to a long hot bath or a massage.
Don’t skip the rewards! Add rewards to your list and I promise you will be more productive in the end.
Hope these organization and productivity tips help you make more money online by selling more on eBay!
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