I love working from home. I will never stop feeling grateful for the fact that I can earn my living from the comfort of these four walls. It’s freeing and I feel incredibly lucky. But that doesn’t mean that it comes without it’s own struggles. When you are working from home, especially if you are self employed, you have to be able to motivate yourself, you have to learn to manage your time and you have to create boundaries that enable you to differentiate between work time and family time. I’ve been juggling this work from home life around the children for a few years now so I thought I would share some tips for anyone who might need them right now.
Learn To Work In The Mess
One of my biggest tips is to learn to work in the mess. This probably won’t come naturally to everyone, and it also won’t be necessary for everyone (as I believe some people actually manage to keep on top of their housework!). But I am not one of those people. And for a long time I felt like I needed to have a clear, uncluttered room (if not the whole house) to work in. The outcome of this would always be that I would spend the majority of my ‘work time’ actually just clearing up ready to work, and then by the time I sat down to do what I needed to do the baby would wake up or it would be time to do something else. Learning to just sit down and work on what I need to work on surrounded by mess has been a game changer. I’m more efficient. I procrastinate less. And then once my work is done I can tidy up around the kids, or we can do something that’s actually fun. I’ve let go of any idea that I can work from home, raise the kids from home, and keep that home immaculate. It isn’t happening right now, and that’s okay. Kids come first, then the money making, and if the house is tidy then that’s just an added bonus.
Get Dressed But Be Comfy
I just can’t be productive in pyjamas. Loungewear -yes, pyjamas -no. Over the years of being a work from home mum, my wardrobe has grown to be mostly loungewear, activewear and just generally comfy-but-still-dressed-wear. I love wearing anything that I could answer the door in or pop to the shops in, but that isn’t digging in at the wrong places when I’m squished into a fort with the kids or sitting at the computer doing some work. Femme Luxe has become my go to place for these sorts of clothes. They have lots of beautiful dresses, but my favourite section is the loungewear and oversized tees. I’ve recently become a fan of the cycling short trend, very late I know, and so my current favourite go to outfit is an oversized slogan tee with a pair of shorts. Comfy, but dressed! Throw on a pair of trainers and you’re good to leave the house too!
Set Some Boundaries
Kids need boundaries, and guess what? We need them too. It’s easy for the lines to become blurred when you work from home, Family time, work time, you time – it all happens under the same roof in the same twenty four hours, so it’s important to set yourself some boundaries. These will be different for everyone but I’ll share some of mine in case they can inspire you to think of your own:
When Darcie is at preschool and Ernie naps, that is always work time. It is my only uninterrupted ‘child free’ time so I have to make the most of it when it happens and prioritise doing the things that will earn my income.
I won’t work more than three evenings in a row. I used to work every evening, but I slowly realised that I wasn’t actually being very productive working that way and it was meaning I never spent any time with Dan. I find that if I have a few work evenings a week then I will be much more productive and my relationship doesn’t suffer.
Ernie’s nap times when Darcie isn’t at preschool are mine and Darcie’s quality time. I don’t ever work during this time.
Enjoy The Perks
Working from home has it’s perks. That’s why you do it right? You work from home for the flexibility, being around for the kids, being your own boss. From time to time just remind yourself of whatever it was that motivated you to work from home in the first place. I make a point of doing something extra lovely with the kids on days when I’ve had to work a lot. If I’ve had to be on the computer a lot in the morning I make sure we have some really good quality time in the afternoon. Or on days when the kids are otherwise entertained, I’ll make sure to give myself some down time once my work is complete for the day. It’s much easier to be productive when you are happy and enjoying what you are doing. So make sure you have that balance of working hard and enjoying the perks of that too.
I’d love to know if you have any work from home tips. I’m sure we could all use them right now!