Working from Home | Tips for Success
Disclaimer: first let me say that I do not have everything figured out about working from home and how to balance all of that. But, I have received a lot of questions about how I balance the home, life, work, and motherhood. I do not have all the answers, but I am happy to share what works for our family.
Working from home is not easy. It comes with LOTS of perks, don’t get me wrong (ex: working from bed, wearing pajamas…), but it also has its downsides too. It can become really easy to get distracted with the tasks that home demands while you’re trying to work. I fall into this trap once in awhile. It can also be tough to find the time and space for work, when you don’t actually leave the house.
Let me give you a little background of our family and what our routine is like. My husband goes to work around 6:30, sometimes earlier. So, I don’t really have the option of a husband being home for me to have the morning to myself. Once or twice a week, Joel goes to work at 7 so I can run in the morning. Otherwise, he’s out the door before Knox wakes up. This means that when Knox is up, I need to be on.
If I’m working or working out or folding laundry, it stops when Knox wakes up. For me, I want to have quality time with Knox in the morning. The rest of the day can get busy with errands, playdates, lunch time, etc. that sometimes the only time we have together is right when he wakes up. So, I make sure that when he wakes up, that is the “stopper” for whatever I am working on. Knox usually wakes up around 7:30am and I try to get up around 6am to do a devotional, get some work done, read, or work out. This time is my space for a morning routine. Joel gets home around 4:30pm. So from 7:30am to 4:30pm, I am balancing the roles of mom and business owner (among other titles like daughter, sister, friend, mentor, etc.)
Here’s what I have found to help me find a good routine and space for all the different tasks:
Determine your non-negotiables: you can read as many blog posts and listen to as many podcasts as you want about having a balanced life, but you have to determine for yourself what matters most. Everyone has different priorities, kids, schedules, lifestyles, etc. so you need to look inward and decide what YOU want. For me, I want to spend as much time with Knox as possible. So outside of working during naps, I have 6 hours of childcare a week. That’s not a lot compared to what most working moms work. But that is what WE wanted for our family. I don’t pursue some opportunities because it would take away from my desire to be home with Knox as much as possible. That’s me. Decide what you want for your family and run with that!
Get help: like I mentioned above, I have help with childcare. Maybe for you, the help you need is help cleaning the house or running errands. Maybe you need help with outsourcing a task for business. Whatever you need the most help with, find it. It will free up your time and mind and it will be worth it.
Tidy up: a small, but mighty thing to do is keep your space tidy. This doesn’t always happen, but a clean work space will make your mind clearer too. I always spend about 10 minutes after Knox goes down for a nap tidying up the house. I also try to keep the house tidy throughout the day as well, so there isn’t a huge mess to clean up at naptime and bedtime. And we thoroughly clean the house every night. That means we wake up to no dishes in the sink, the floors clean, toys put away, clothes put away, etc. I’m not perfect at this but a clean house is really, really important to me!
Have designated work time: if you approach your life with the mindset of: “I work at home so I can work wherever and whenever”, you will actually have way less productivity. Setting work hours for yourself will set boundaries which is good for work and life. After I had a baby, my work hours were cut in half (or more) and my productivity went through the roof. When you have a limited amount of time, you can actually get more done. So, set those boundaries!
Make your own rules: maybe you’re reading this and you’re thinking to yourself: “no way, none of this will work for me”, that’s great! The beauty and freedom of working from home means that you get to set the rules and boundaries. You get the be the boss and make decisions to create a work schedule that works for your life. You do you, girl. And I’ll be cheering for you every step of the way!
There is no perfect answer to the question of “how do you work from home?”, but there are things I have done to help me draw the line in the sand between home and work. I try to stay ultra focused when I work and when I’m not working, I really try to shut off work. I fail. Often. But, I also think that it’s really amazing that I can take a Wednesday off, and then decide to work on Saturday because that works better for our family. There’s nothing wrong with that. It works for us and that’s what matters.