Working from home (especially if you’re running your own business), can present a myriad of challenges to the modern mom. Personally, I love the freedom. I love being able to be there for my kids during the day. I love being able to give them my full attention when they say, “Watch this, mommy!” I also love not sitting in traffic.
Even though working from home (or working from anywhere you like, as the case may be for some of you) is a blessing, making it flow is an art. Hopefully these tips help.
1. Create your own work space.
You’ll want a dedicated space in your house for working. It can’t be your bed or your couch. It doesn’t have to be a completely separate room (although that helps), but it needs to be a desk, a table, or a corner where you work. Make sure to only do work in this spot. It can’t also be where you prepare dinner or play with the kids. The goal is to make this place feel like work so your mind is in work mode when you’re there.
That said, don’t feel chained to your desk. One of the best parts about working from home is the freedom to move around. If you feel like answering emails on the porch today (and your productivity remains effective), by all means enjoy yourself.
2. Get ready in the morning like you were leaving the house.
Working in our pajamas sounds great in theory, but being too comfortable can make us less productive. Get ready in the morning as if you were off to work like any other job. Dress casually, but deliberately (no pajamas – put on pants). Shower and brush your teeth, but you don’t need a full face of makeup.
3. Throw the schedule out the window.
You’ll learn very quickly that schedules are meaningless when you’re working at home and caring for children. Even if they’re in daycare part time, your days will quickly scatter apart. Don’t expect to sit at your desk between nine and five like the rest of the workforce.
If you’re stuck on a problem, throw in a load of laundry while you think. Brainstorm while you prepare dinner. Visit the bank at two in the afternoon. If you embrace your freedom, you’ll actually produce a net savings on your time.
4. Blend your to-do lists.
A list is a simple, straightforward, clear-headed way to get your tasks done. Once your jobs are on paper, your brain will feel clear and crossing them off is absolutely satisfying after a while. The first thing you should do in the morning is make a to-do list for the day, starting with your priorities.
I also like to keep a second list alongside that includes projects I’m working on over time and tasks I’m waiting on other people to complete. This gives me a clear picture of what needs to be done.
5. Exploit that precious nap time.
Your rare moments of silence and freedom will come during naptime. Make sure you have plenty of work to accomplish during this time so you can use it well. If your work requires phone calls or uninterrupted projects, naptime is your best bet. However, don’t try to cram so much work into this slot that you do it all poorly. You can’t wash dishes, make lunches, correspond with clients, edit documents, mop the floor, and direct employees in an hour.
6. When you aren’t working, don’t work.
If you have decided that you’re done working for the day, stop. It can be tempting to pop off a quick reply to that email or make the simple adjustment for your colleague, but these are traps that get you sucked into working during your personal time. Eventually you’ll have emails and requests coming in after your work hours because others think you work at this time. A coworker will make a promise to a client because you “always come through” and now you’re obligated.
Furthermore, you want to let your brain out of work mode at some point. If your mind is occupied by work, you won’t offer your focus and attention to your kids.
7. Get out of the house.
When your work and live in the same place, you will quickly feel confined. Make excuses to get outside of the house at least once a day and interact with other humans. Even if it’s just a ride to the coffee shop or a walk through your neighborhood, get outside. If you start to feel stuck in one place, you’ll begin to resent both roles.
8. Explain the situation to your kids.
Admittedly, this piece of advice is tough, especially in the beginning. Remember that your kids don’t understand the concept of “work” yet. You need to make your kids understand that when mom is in her work spot, she is working and unavailable for play time (but of course you can respond to their needs). Show them what you do, how you do it, and why it needs to be done to provide them with meals, a roof over their heads, and toys in their box.
Written by Holly MacLean from Wee Urban
As a new mom, Holly was driven to start Wee Urban™ to offer the modern family a unique and fresh collection of eco-friendly baby gear and accessories that goes beyond the conventional and explores the exceptional! Tired of traditional pinks and blues and cute motifs, we offer sophisticated designs, “conscious” organic alternatives, practical functionality and superior quality. Using our custom certified organic cotton blends, low-impact dyes, and other trendsetting fabrics, we hope to inspire families to be make better choices and of course- do it all in urban style!
Beyond our organic cotton and azo-free dyes, Wee Urban uses 100% post-consumer packaging and tags for our Wee Dreams™ Sleep Bags. Our distinctive screen-printing is done with 100% eco-inks and are all phthalate free.
We also recycle our remnants and donate as much as possible to local elementary schools to help with arts and crafts programs.
For more information, visit wwww.weeurban.com
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