After 4 years of being a stay at home mom, I began to dread the thought of going back to work. I knew I would miss the flexibility that being a stay at home mom allowed. Working from home allows me to work whenever and wherever I want; without sacrificing time with my family. As great as it sound though, it’s not a walk in the park. I can be elbow deep in my work and have little feet pattering up to me asking for a juice box. Then there’s laundry staring me in the face, bathrooms that need cleaning etc. Overcoming, or eliminating, those distractions have really helped me become much more productive. I have to say, sometimes they still get the best of me (today it was emptying the dishwasher) but as long as I stick to a few basic “rules” I can stay on top of my to-do lists and get a lot of work done.
Plan All The Things
I was blogging for a year before I started planning my days so my blog was on the back burner. I was online maybe once or twice a week and was only able to accomplish a post or two a month. This was not going to work if I wanted to see the growth that other bloggers saw. That’s when I heard about time blocking and decided to give it a try. I wanted to make my blog a priority again so that’s what I focus on first. When I sit down to plan my week, I always set aside a few hours in the morning to dedicate to anything blogging related. It doesn’t matter what I do in those hours, as long as it was benefitting my blog in some way. I follow up with lunch and then what I like to call “quiet time”. My kids will either nap or play quietly in their rooms while I have personal growth time for myself. You get the idea of how it’s coming together right? Set aside a specific (and appropriate) amount of time for each task you want to accomplish and focus only on that task during that amount of time. My friend Abby from Just A Girl And Her Blog has an awesome post about goal setting and time blocking that explains it much better than I ever could!
Leave The Chores For Later
Seriously, don’t feel bad for not doing all of your chores the minute you wake up. I read something once that said “Working from home doesn’t mean that you should be working on your home”. In the words of Gru… Lightbulb! This is where time blocking REALLY comes in handy. If there are some personal errands, chores, etc. give it it’s own time block. I like to schedule all of my chores for the evening because I love coming downstairs in the morning to a nice, clean house. There’s just something about it that makes me feel like I am starting my day off right.
Pop a squat
Seriously, get comfortable. Whether it be at a desk or on the couch (my favorite place to write 🙂 ) find a place that is inviting and comfortable. Think about what you’d like to have around you while you work and get everything set up and ready to go so that once you sit down you can focus on the task at hand. Like I mentioned before, my favorite place to write is on the couch with a cozy blanket and a cup of coffee on the table beside me. I keep my phone, planner and iPad close by because I reference them frequently while working. The more comfortable I am, the more I am able to accomplish.
Tidy Things Up
When deciding on a comfortable place to work, make sure that you are able to keep things as clean and organized as possible. Being surrounded by clutter in your work area can lead to cluttered thoughts. This doesn’t mean that you have to be OCD neat when working, but try to avoid having piles of stuff around you. Limit what you have around you to whatever you need in the moment and a few things that energize or inspire you like a picture or piece of art.
Make Sure Everyone Knows The System
There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries with your family during your working hours. Nor is there anything wrong with getting a babysitter when you’re “at work” at home. If you can’t or would rather not, talk to your children and spouse about how important it is that you not be disturbed during office hours. Set up some sort of indicator, like a closed door, to let everyone know you are hard at work. If your children are older, have them leave you a note about what they wanted to talk to you about so they know that you won’t forget they need you.
You can download my weekly time block printable from my library exclusive to newsletter subscribers. Just enter your email below. What are some of the things you do to help you win at working from home? Let me know in the comments below!