I work from home and I love it, most of the time. As a mom I have to admit that working from home is both a blessing and a curse. It means I get to be close when my kids need me, yet it also means I get interrupted ALL the time and have to set boundaries to make sure that I actually get work done. By the way, it’s not just the kids who interrupt me when I’m working; my husband does it too. Sigh.
Let me share a few things I’ve learned about working from home with you.
6 Essential Tips for Moms Who Work from Home
1. Set yourself up for success the night before. Every night before a work day I pick my outfit for the next day so that it’s a no-brainer when I get up. I then make sure the kitchen is clean. Next step? I have my coffee situation set up for the next morning because no one wants to face chaos and no coffee when you’ve just woken up. Also, it’s a great idea to end your day by setting up your plan for the next day. I use a paper planner and make my to-do list for the next day and I find that it makes me feel like I’m a step ahead.
2. Get up before your children do. Yes, your bed is all kinds of awesome and hugs your every curve in just the right way and it’s a shame that you have to leave it so early in the morning. However, if you don’t, you won’t have a moment to yourself en la mañana. This means you will have to start the morning sprinting instead of warming up to the day at your own pace. Take those few quiet moments to yourself in the morning to get ready and once the kids get up, you won’t have to deal with trying to help them get ready while you are trying to get yourself together.
3. Have a dedicated work space. You deserve a spot that is just for work. Yes, it’s tempting to work from the sofa or bed or the kitchen table, but it’s not as productive or effective as having a space that is set up for you to do your best work. It’s okay if you don’t have an entire room to set up an office. A corner or a small area will do. Claim it as your work space and let it be known to everyone you live with that that space is for your work and your work only.
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4. Quit multitasking all the time. Once it’s time for you to get to working: STOP MULTITASKING. It’s time to work, not time to do your laundry and work. You shouldn’t straighten up the living room and check emails in between fluffing pillows. No. W-O-R-K! Even while doing work stop multitasking. I use a timer to keep me on track. I set the timer for 20 minutes to answer emails first thing, then I move on to giving myself an hour to complete the next task and so on and so forth. I find that setting a timer for each task reminds me that I’m only supposed to be doing that one thing during that time period and I end up getting so much more done than when I stop and start tasks.
5. Stay strong, stand your ground and take a few breaks. When you are working from home and your kids are home or your partner is home, they will interrupt you no matter how many times you tell them that you are working and not to be interrupted. They just can’t help themselves. You are in work-mode, but they are in “I’m at home and why can’t she just help me with this one little thing” mode. Take a deep breath. Then remind the interrupting culprit that you are working and unless it is an emergency, they will have to wait until you take your next break and can tend to whatever it is they want. Remember to take breaks every now and again. Not long breaks, but a 10 or 15 minute break every couple of hours is good for you. It also gives your family a chance to bombard you with their wants and needs.
6. Stop working. Here’s the thing, when you work from home you could technically be working 24/7. DON’T! Metaphorically clock out at a certain time. You know how it’s annoying when you are trying to work and your family keeps interrupting you? Well, think of how it feels for them if you are always working and never really fully focused on them. Teach them to let you focus on your work so that when you are done, you can concentrate on family time.
What work from home tips can you share?
Image via hey_paul/Flickr