So, how did the first week of working from home go – productive or stressful? Maybe could have been better? I’ve been working from home for over 22 years, so I think I’ve reached expert level at this point.
I’ve learned to adjust my routine along the way. When my kiddos were younger, I balanced work with childcare – and with four, very energetic little monkeys, it required some major discipline! But the benefits of working from home are plenty. I especially love that it allows me to be more readily available to my family.
Today on the blog I’m sharing top tips that not only helped me survive, but thrive working from home. So whether you’re a mom with younger children or they’re already out of the house – read on to learn my secrets!
1. Make Your Bed
Make your bed in the morning. I know, I know, I’m sure you’ve heard this advice a million times. But literally, making your bed is a key discipline, because you’re much less likely to climb right back in, if it’s made all perfect and looks so nice. It basically forces you to get up and on with your day. At the end of the day, climbing back into a clean, made bed feels so good.
2. Dress The Part
Change your clothes in the morning. Even if you’re changing from sleep pajamas to work pajamas, it doesn’t matter. But the act of showering (let’s hope) and changing your clothes makes you feel like it’s a new day, and time to be productive. Your mind changes from sleep/lounge mode to whatever is next mode. I personally change from pajamas to cute loungewear or activewear. So I have no excuse when it’s time to head out for a walk.
3. Create A Designated Work Space
Designate a work space in your house. This is critical. If you don’t have a home office, it can be a specific space at the dining table or breakfast bar. But this area needs to be for your work and only your work. Very quickly your brain will learn to differentiate that when you sit down in this space, it’s work time. This helps other family members know as well that when you’re in your “workspace”, you shouldn’t be disturbed unless it’s urgent. I would recommend you do the same for the kids if they’re doing distance learning, that way they get used to sitting in the same spot and doing their schoolwork each day. When they sit in that chair, it’s time to switch your brain to work mode.
4. No Multi-Tasking!
Try not to multi-task. I KNOW how hard this is. You’re sitting there working and you see dishes piling up in the sink, it would only take a minute to stack them in the dishwasher. The washing machine buzzes that the cycle is done and hey, it’ll take no time at all to throw it in the dryer. The house phone rings, the FedEx guy is here, the kids are jumping on the sofa again. Whatever it is, if it’s not a health or safety issue- it can wait. If you were at the office, it would wait. Set uninterrupted blocks of time for you to complete work tasks, even an hour at a time, with small breaks in between. You cannot do it all. I would tell my kids as they got older and came to me for every little thing, “Whatever you would do to solve this if I wasn’t home, do that. If you can’t figure it out by x’o’clock I will help you.”
5. Get Some Fresh Air
Get up and get outside. Get outside every day. In a different time, I would recommend going out for your lunch or coffee to see people and interact, but at these times, a walk in the fresh air is best. Or make your coffee and sit on the patio or porch to drink it. You need to be physically outside of your work/live space every day.
6. Be Committed To Work Time and Family Time
Work time is work time (as I keep repeating) but family time is family time. It goes both ways. So when you log off your work computer for breaks, for lunch, and at the end of the day- you’re done. No checking emails or catching up with a few more tasks after the kids are in bed, no quick calls etc. If it’s possible for you to stick to this rule, please do it. When work and family occupy the same space, they start to melt into each other and there’s little to no “off” button. Set your blocks of time and then shut off of work mode.