“I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you work from home. I couldn’t do it. I would see the laundry that needs to be done. Or the kitchen that needs to be picked up. I would do those things instead of working.”
When I tell people that I work from home and have for over 10 years these are the comments I hear. My response? Actually it is harder for me to turn off my work and get the housework done. Just ask my husband. He will tell you all about it!
For most people working from home sounds like a dream. There are definitely perks that is for sure. I don’t have to sit in rush hour traffic. I can work in my sweatpants all day if I chose to (and some days I chose to!). I rarely ever put on makeup which is a nice bonus. When it is nice outside in the summer I can work on my deck. I live in Minnesota– I have to take advantage of those nice days! And one of my favorite bonuses of working from home is that I never have to put on shoes.
That being said working from home is a lot harder than it looks. There are days I go without any adult interaction and that can be lonely. Sometimes I do miss wearing business clothes and looking put together. Then there is the fact that I am always home.
So how do you work from home, do it successfully and enjoy yourself? Here are my 6 tips to making it work.
1. Time Block
For me time blocking is a critical piece to working at home. When you have a job in an office you have set working hours. I create the same working hours while working at home.
Every night before I go to bed I figure out my working hours for the next day. Because I have three small kids the working hours change from day-to-day. I put in my calendar work time, family time and me time. Then I schedule tasks for each time block. Time blocking is a great visual reminder that I have set working hours and to keep the work in those hours.
2. Stay Focused During Work Hours
One challenge that I fight everyday is to stay focused during my set working hours. Time blocking has helped with this but I still struggle with staying focused.
You know how it is when you are working on a blog post. You run over to Facebook to check one thing or you check your email in the middle of writing and it happens. You are down the rabbit hole. Before you know it 30 minutes has passed and your blog post is still in the same spot.
Ugh! Don’t you hate when that happens?!
When I do my time blocking I set tasks to complete within a 15, 30, and 60 minutes time frame. Then I hold myself accountable. I put a timer on my phone to get the task done. When the timer is up and I am finished only then can I visit
the rabbit hole Facebook or check my email.
3. Designated Space
I think it is critical to have one dedicated working space when you work from home. This makes it easier to stay organized, stay focused, and turn off your work mind at the end of the day. This needs to a be a work space that is just yours and yours alone. No school papers, coloring books or bills allowed!
Having a designated work space also makes it easier to get in the right mindset when you sit down to work. I have tried working from the couch and I feel sluggish when I do that. I am more motivated and productive when I have a work space I can call my own.
Having a designated work space in our home has been a challenge for me. I had a room with a door which was wonderful until I got pregnant with our son. In came baby out went my office. Since then I have worked at our kitchen table, in the basement, in the door-less formal dining room and finally in our master bedroom. I find that I need an area with a door so I can close it and focus on my work. There are so many solutions out there for home offices. If you need inspiration check out some ideas on Pinterest.
4. Leave the House
I think it is important to get out of the house when you work in your house all day long. One of my favorite destinations is a coffee shop. Good coffee, free WiFi and a bit of adult interaction will often cure me from the sameness of working at home. A change of scenery is good for the mind. It helps energize me and motivate me to get my work done. Plus the bonus of treating myself puts me in a positive mood.
The great part about working for yourself is that you can go anywhere to work. If it’s nice outside go find a park and write a blog post. Or check out the local library for a space to work. There are many options other than your home where you can get your work done. You might even find some inspiration and motivation in these places!
5. Ignore the Mess
This goes back to the beginning of the post. So many people I talk to say they couldn’t work from home because they would do housework instead of work. Yes that is a real temptation.
It is easier to clean during the day when you have more energy. You think “Oh I will just clean the kitchen and then get to work.” Five hours later you have gone on a cleaning rampage and have a nice looking house but your work is left undone.
How do I avoid this scenario? Two ways. First I allow myself to do small tasks during the work day. Not big tasks like cleaning the kitchen, but smaller tasks like throwing in a load of laundry. If a task will take me 15 minutes or less I will do it. I remind myself that this is one of the perks of working from home. I can do small tasks that will make my family’s life easier.
The second way I avoid cleaning instead of working during the day is I ignore the mess. I would love to say my house is the epitome of a clean house but that just isn’t true. I have three small kids. Most days my house borders on natural disaster. I have to ignore it during the day otherwise I can’t work. I have my designated working space in our house and I make sure that area is clean and organized. It makes it easier to ignore the other imperfections around the house.
6. Give Yourself a Break
Do me a favor will you? Right this second give yourself a pat on the back or a hug. Seriously do it.
I want you to remember to give yourself a break. All too often we as women are hard on ourselves. We run around doing so much for others and very little for ourselves. At the end of the day we make a list of what we didn’t get done and feel bad about ourselves. Instead we should make lists about what we got done and give ourselves a pat on the back. Give yourself a break! Give yourself credit and realize that you are doing better than you think at balancing work/kids/husband.
Working from home isn’t always easy but it is fun! To get the full benefits of working from home you have to learn to balance your personal life with your work life. To do this you have to designate your working time and place during the day. It is important to take time away from the house and interact with the real world. Finding a healthy balance is the key to working from home and being successful in both business and your personal life!
What are your tips about working from home? How do you find a healthy balance or is this something you are still working on? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
This post is part of a blog hop from Blog & Business: Moms who do it all. Need more inspiration about working and being a mom? Check out these awesome ladies for ideas:
The Art of Better | Being Mrs. Beer | Women Winning Online | Mommy My Way | xo -Ava | Kori at Home | Ma Bell Vie | Stellar Mama The Jessie K | Make & Do Crew | This Kenyan Traveler | Blue Eyed Babies | HebrewDawn | Leah With Love | Fighting for Fitness | Tot Tot Goose | Nuture Her Nature | Blogihealth | A Cotton Kandi Life | The Bipolar Mama | Simple Acres | Dawn P Darnell | A Kreative Whim | Scarlett Ballantyne | My Unfiltered Chaos | The Big Red Patch House | The Mother Blog | Diary of a New Mommy