Working from home is something I enjoy. I love that I get to create my own schedule and be home with my babies at all times. I love that I get to have the career I’ve always dreamed of and that it allows me the freedom to be with my kids, to attend all their school programs and events, to have fun, to travel and to pick up and move at any time – not that I have, but I could if I want to! However, working from home is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
Think about what you do at work all day long, and how annoying your coworkers can be on occasion. Now imagine doing all that you do at the office at home. You think your annoying coworkers can’t do anything on their own now – wait until your coworkers need you to feed them, wipe their bottoms and clean up their vomit when they’re not feeling well. That’s what my life is like, but I have a few tips that might help other work from home moms and dads feel a little less overwhelmed.
Create a Schedule
Working from home means you can create any schedule you want. As long as your work gets done, it doesn’t matter if you do it at midnight or 2 in the afternoon. However, you cannot just go about your business and hope that things get done at some point; you need some sort of schedule, even if it’s a tentative one. For me, working in the morning is the most productive time. I like to get as much done as I can before noon so that I can spend the rest of the day playing with my kids and being mom and wife. I get interrupted, and I don’t always finish by noon, but pretending like I have no other choice helps my level of productivity.
Make a List
I could not get through my day without a to-do list. I have to write down all the articles I need to write, the publishers I have to write them for, rewrites, errands, phone calls and appointments. I write it all down. Why? Because the second I get to cross even one thing off my list, I automatically feel more productive. Even if that one thing is “laundry” and it wasn’t even on my list until I did it and then wrote it down just to cross it off, I feel a lot more productive and motivated to finish up.
One of the most difficult aspects of working at home is the fact that the majority of the people in your life think you sit around the pool all day long drinking mimosas and directing the pool boy. No one ever asked me to bake cookies for a school function the day of or volunteered me to babysit my niece and nephew so my brother could go to work or pick run out and pick them up so they don’t have to wait on their oil change. Work from home and suddenly that’s all they do.
Now don’t get me wrong – I have no problem helping my family and friends as long as they ask in advance so that I have time to rearrange my schedule (or right this second when it’s an emergency) but no one understands that I actually work and it’s more difficult to get things done at home when the dishes catch your eye or your kids need something.
They think I have all day long to do whatever they want. They don’t realize that for me to drop what I’m doing right now and run them something they forgot at their own house, it means that I have to take that hour away from the time I was planning to spend with my kids later in the day. If you want to work from home, you need to make sure that you set limits regarding your time and ensure that your loved ones understand your time is not free.