How to Make Working from Home Work for You

April 25, 2017

If these seven tips, hitting everything from setting boundaries to the power of head-clearing rituals, make you feel even the tiniest bit more balanced and productive—well, we consider that a win.

  1. Establish a morning routine. Basically, approach each new day as if you were headed into an office with actual people. Get your booty out of bed at the same time, drink your coffee, shower, and get dressed (no pantsuits necessary, jeans are fine—but just say no to all-day lounging in pajama bottoms). Even if you won’t actually be seen by anyone but your children and hubs, it’s a head-clearing ritual that prepares you for the day, creating necessary mental distance between home time and work time (the role your morning commute used to play).
  2. Carve out a dedicated office space. Not everyone has a spare room they can flip into a kitted-out home office, but you need a specific space that signals to your brain (and your fam) that mommy’s working. It can be a desk in a guest bedroom, a certain chair and TV tray, or even your bed with the door closed.
  3. Get your kids (and yourself) on a schedule. IRL, this one is a toughie—we get it. But if you’re able to predict when your kid will want snacks and meals, will take a nap, and will need some dedicated “you” time, you’ll be able to carve out regular working hours, which helps you organize your day and also helps your clients know when they can reach you uninterrupted.
  4. Multi-task, multi-task, multi-task. Schedule phone calls during naptime and drivetime. And tackle “easy” to dos—checking email, posting to social media, jotting down prelim thoughts about an upcoming project—while doing low-concentration tasks like boiling pasta or folding laundry. (Check out more productivity hacks here.)
  5. Go mobile. Invest in items that will allow you to work on the go. If you have a smart phone, laptop, car charger, and portable WiFi hotspot, you can work in the backyard, park, or your car during pee wee soccer practice.
  6. I.D. and eliminate time wasters. Whether you’ve been known to lose hours to daytime television (damn you Ellen!) or you find yourself making elaborate lunches that take away from work hours, pinpoint the time sucks, then come up with a proactive plan to nix them.
  7. Embrace childcare. There’s no shame in the game! Even if you can’t spring for a full-on nanny, call on the occasional babysitter whenever you need more than a couple of dedicated hours to bang something out. You can also pool with other working moms to share a babysitter on a certain day of the week, which will lower costs for each of you individually.

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