I’m finding that there is a quite a paradox in working from home.
When I worked outside the home, there were nice, neat little segments in my life.
There was the little area of my life where I worked. My desk stayed (fairly) neat. My cubicle walls were decorated. There was quiet when I needed quiet. There were friends and fun, too.
In a completely separate and distinctly different area of my life there was home. That’s when I played with my child (I only had one at that time!), relaxed, and cleaned. That’s where I entertained guests, relaxed, did laundry, did grocery shopping, and cleaned (some more).
Suddenly, I am finding the two areas are converging, the lines are blurring, and it is hard to keep things neat and tidy like I did before!
Especially in these early days of getting our web design business off the ground, I am finding that I wake up most mornings with tons of business ideas and lots of energy to put into the work area of my life. But, the laundry is left mostly untended or the dishes probably needed to be done first or there are small messes from kids playing in almost every corner.
It’s easy to put all my focus on one area at a time. And, now that there are no distinct lines between work and home, it’s hard to know what I should be doing and when I should be doing it. There are work priorities and there are home priorities – but, how do I determine which priority comes first?
Maybe you’ve felt this way, too. You work hard at both parts of your life but, somedays, it seems like you’re behind on BOTH areas!
But, I love working at home! I did not want to settle for any part of those areas falling apart. So, here’s what I did to fix it.
This one is huge!
You have to have a starting point. The painter has the image of the final painting in his head before it hits the canvas. The sculptor knows what the clay will look like while it’s still in a lump. The work at home momma should have an idea of how the day should progress when she opens her eyes in the morning.
Start writing down all the stuff you want to get done each day, each week, each month. Prioritize each one and then put the number ones on your schedule and follow with the rest of the numbers in order as they fit. Some things will happen everyday and some things will only happen once a month but at least you know it’s written down and you won’t forget it.
I did a series on how to build a schedule, maybe it would help you to get started.
Get the rest of the family to help you.
Older kids (at least six years old and up) should have chores that they can be depended on to do without much supervision. Little ones can be right beside you during chore times, learning how to be those dependable older kids!
We have two time slots on the schedule that we do *chore time* and it helps keep the house ready for clients or friends and Mommy sane! *well, mostly sane*
Reframe in your mind how things need to progress throughout the day. If the day varies a little bit from your schedule, its really okay. If it keeps veering off everyday, then just tweak the schedule a little bit.
I used to feel that every room and every corner had to be picture perfect before I could progress to anything else in my life. I like order. But, with five children, it’s a little more difficult to achieve – not impossible, as many would have you believe.
At this point in my life, I’m okay with the house looking “lived in”. I don’t expect absolute perfection. Obviously, I’m always on the move – when I go to the kitchen for some water, I pick up whatever toys I see along the way and put them back or I neaten up this shelf or that desk. It’s never just a trip to the bathroom – the mirror gets washed, too, or the sink gets wiped down or the towels get changed out. But, I also make a mental list (or an actual list on paper that I’ll lose) of things that I just couldn’t get to and I feel better knowing that I have my two chore-slots in the schedule when we’ll get to some of those things.
4. Don’t get frustrated.
Yep. That’s a real easy one to follow.
If you do find yourself getting frustrated, follow these two little rules. Change your focus. Change your physical state.
In the area of focus, are you getting to a point where you are only focused on the negative things that are happening? I had a day like this just today. The morning sped by before I even knew it while I was cleaning up after a busy Sunday. I finally get into the home office to start making calls and I can’t get a good call list together, I was frustrated with my script so I was trying to find a new one. In four hours, I made maybe … MAYBE … 10 phone calls. I felt like I should have just stayed in bed. I was mad at people who make it sound so easy. I was mad at all the distractions. I was mad at myself for not being able to get the job done.
See what I was focused on?
I was focused on being mad. Not on positives. Not on being thankful for the opportunity to work from home. Not on the blessings in my life.
I had to pull myself out of my bad attitude and start naming off things I was thankful for – even if it was for the next breath and the next heartbeat, I HAD to start somewhere! Gratitude is the best place to start.
While you are in a great mood, write an extensive list of things that you are thankful for. Keep a thankfulness journal and jot down new things daily or at night before you go to bed.
Then, move around to change your physical state. Get up, shake it off, remind yourself of past successes, take a walk around the block, do ten jumping jacks. How do you move your body when you are happy and excited – do THAT! Jump up and down like your child just won the little league soccer championships!! It works!
I really hope this will help you as you juggle all the responsibilities in your life!
What did I forget? Something you do that I didn’t mention?
Leave a comment and let me know!