Sometimes things just sit with me for a while, and I think about them quite often. My husband is going to be working solely from home in a few weeks, which is something we have been working toward for a while. His office now is almost an hour from home, and most of what he does can be done very easily from home. Since he has to be at work at 8 am, he usually leaves before 7 and doesn’t get home until 5:30. It’s not bad, but it’s not ideal in a household with four small kids. I work from home, so it leaves me to get all four dressed and ready for everything during the day, and there is no break for me throughout.
Working from home with four small kids is no small feat, but it’s one that would be so much easier for both of us with my husband home. We have a home office that’s quite large and houses our needs without much issue, and we both have exceptional work ethic. When we announced to our friends and family the changes we’ve made recently, one close friend said to us, “You guys will never get anything done! You’ll be shopping, out to lunch, taking the kids on vacation…” and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
I did think the same thing about working from home many years ago when I first became an adult and had my first job in college. I used to think that I’d work from home one day and that I’d spend the days sleeping in, reading, going to the beach and lying by the pool. People don’t realize – until they’re in the situation, I think – that running a successful business is very hands on. You have to be here. You have to do the work; and you will never trust anyone else enough to do it for you.
So when our friend said that to us, we laughed. I tried to explain to him that there is a schedule and that fun doesn’t happen until work is done. In my world, I can’t enjoy myself doing anything else if I know I have work to come home to. He still doesn’t believe that we won’t be out all the time and basically living a life of constant vacation, and I can’t change his mind.
What I can do, however, is explain to you the ground rules of working from home if it is something that might be in your near future. Like anything, it has its ups and downs, and it’s not for everyone. For me, working in an office on someone else’s schedule doesn’t work. I’m not a people person, I dislike interruption, and I am highly motivated very early in the morning. I like to get started right away, skip the pants and spend the vast majority of the day with my kids. It’s why I do what I do. If you are planning on working from home from this point forward, it’s a good idea to learn the ground rules and know what it takes to do it successfully.
Set A Schedule
When I began writing, I tried a lot of different schedules. For me, though, I’m very productive in the early morning and a lot lazier in the afternoon. I find mornings inspire me and make me better at what I do. I get up at 5 am, shower, get back in bed at 5:20 and work until 6. I drink coffee until 6:20 and get up and blow dry my hair and put on my makeup until 6:50. Then it’s back to work until about 8 when the kids wake up. Breakfast and diaper changes for the twins, then it’s back to work from 8:20 until about 9:30 when they’re done playing and entertaining themselves and getting their mornings going. We are at the gym by 10 where they play in the Kid Zone and I work out.
We’re home by 11:45, it’s lunch time and play time. The twins are in bed by 12:30, and then I work a bit more and finish up anything I can’t finish up in the mornings and spend the rest of the afternoon with my big kids (I work if they don’t want anything to do with me) and then the twins wake up at 3:30 and it’s outside play time and fun until daddy gets home, and then it’s evening fun. I work anytime I can when the kids don’t need or want me. It’s our schedule, and it works well for us. Set one; you’ll appreciate it.
Get Up Early
Nothing is better than a quiet morning and getting up early to get the day started. Remember; the earlier you get up and get started, the earlier you will finish up and be able to do the things that you want and need to do at home.
Create An Office Space
There is nothing more important than a designated office for anyone who works from home. Mine is perfectly located in our house so that it doesn’t distract me from my work, and it is inspiring. I spent a lot of time decorating my office so that it’s warm, comfortable and inviting in here. I need that to function.
I don’t function well if I feel ugly or not like myself. I might not like to wear pants at home, but you won’t find me without makeup and good hair. I feel better when I look good, and I’ve heard from many of my other work-from-home friends that looking good makes them more comfortable and productive, too.
Get Up and Move
Nothing is more draining that sitting in the office all day long. You’ll see that my day is very spread out and cut up. It might not seem ideal, but even if I didn’t have the kids home during the day, it would look like that. I’ve found that after about an hour and-a-half of working without interruption, I’m ready to get up and shake it off. When the big kids are in school, I’ll often move myself out to the back deck to lay out in the sun for a while so that I can rest.
Get the Work Done
Work doesn’t do itself; and you don’t get paid unless you do the work. Keep that in mind. You need motivation and a strong work ethic to work from home, or it will never work for you.
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