Working from Home
When I tell people that I work from home, the first response is generally how lucky I am. And while I am – and I’m very grateful for the opportunity – there’s a lot of realities that others don’t see every day. Working from home has been wonderful up until now because I’ve been able to care for my son the way I want to, be involved in his life in a way I wasn’t expecting to be able to and been able to work on my business all at once! Which is just awesome, seriously. But it’s also been really hard. I have to balance my son and my work, I have to use my time wisely, and I can’t get distracted by other tasks when I’m working.
So I thought on the blog today it would be fun to share a few of my favorite tips for working at home. Although I don’t have it all figured out, I’m starting to get down some schedules and processes that are helping me feel more balanced. Here’s my top four tips!!
- Choose morning or evening hours to dedicate solely to working. Don’t do both! Now that David is sleeping more consistently and solidly, I feel more comfortable staying up later or getting up early to add an extra hour (or two if I’m lucky!) of work before putting on my mom hat (or sleeping). This took awhile to get to. I started working again when David was only 6.5 weeks old. He did NOT sleep well until about 8.5 months. So… this rule really came into play this fall. I tend to prefer waking up at 5:30 or 6 and working until he’s up around 7:30 or 8 instead of losing sleep or time reading at night. But, I recommend deciding which end of the day is better for you and adding an extra hour or two of work there uninterrupted. Try not to do both or you’ll feel more tired and burned out (I’ve certainly had to in order to make deadlines but I don’t love it!).
- Do your best to not work when your kid are awake. I learned this lesson from Amanda Hedgepeth honestly. I don’t want David to remember me always behind my laptop or my desk working. I want to make memories with him. I want to make his meals and teach him to read. This doesn’t mean I don’t run the vacuum or errands when he’s awake! I just try not to be plugged into my devices if I can help it. Now that he’s on a more consistent nap routine too, it helps knowing I’ll have some set blocks of time he’ll be asleep. Now, to be fair, if he’s really engrossed in something or with his dad (or other family members), I’m not going to lie and say I don’t work then. Because I do. But I try not to make it every single time! Working from home is all about balance and flexibility, people!!
3. Take an hour for yourself. Self-care has been the HARDEST part of being a new parent for me personally. I have a tendency to work hard on my business whenever David’s asleep, away, or with someone else, instead of allowing myself to take a break. At the start of November, I joined a workout group. The workouts became part of my daily routine – they weren’t that long and I did them when David was up – but it felt good to take a little break. Plus I know the workouts were/are good for me. It took a few days for me to stop feeling guilty for taking the time for myself to do them, but it’s so important. When I can, I also try to take my Fridays off and spend them with my parents and David. We usually run errands and have lunch together, but it’s a good chance to get out of the house. I’ll be honest, I still feel guilty if I’m not chained to my desk but guys, I started working from home FOR the flexibility! If I’m not letting myself have that, why did I do this??!
4. Give yourself grace. Some days are going to be easy. Some will be hard. Some will feel like you rocked it as a parent – or a business owner – and failed as the other. That’s all NORMAL. Try not to beat yourself up (talking to myself here too!). Do your best, get what you can done and remember, sometimes done is better than perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a really hard balance to get everything right… oh, and PS – don’t make yourself feel like because you’re working at home that your house has to be spotless. Yeah, right! But seriously. Grace. It’s important.
Working from home is a great thing if it’s the right thing for you and your family. It can be hard but for me, it’s rewarding. I just have to remind myself that there’s a lot of grace in what I do… and that I can’t feel guilty for having the flexibility to have a Friday off or to go walk through Target for half an hour. That’s why I wanted this job. To be flexible, to be home, to be with David. At the end of the day – remember your priorities and you’ll make it all work. Even on the hard days.
I’d love to hear about your work from home tips – or challenges! We’re all in this together!!
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