Working from home can be a tough gig. In the beginning it was hard, trying to find the motivation and discipline was a challenge. But overtime I found what worked for me to be productive and efficient at home. Now, I seriously could never go back to working in an office!
I am a graphic/web designer (primarily web design) and I was fortunate enough to land an awesome internship with a local creative agency right after I graduated college. While I was interning I worked in the office a couple days a week and once I was eventually hired on as a full-time salaried employee that same schedule continued. I worked in the office a few days a week and one or two days from home. Once I got comfortable in my position I was given the option to only come into the office when I needed to i.e. client meetings. The company was small, only a handful of employees, so pretty much everyone worked remotely. So it didn’t feel weird when I jumped at the chance to work from home everyday.
Working from home was pretty easy once I established a routine. But then along came our sweet baby girl, Luna. She flipped my world upside down, and as someone who thrives on routine and knowing what to expect, this made working from home a whole new challenge again. Because I knew we weren’t going to put Luna in daycare, I switched from full-time at my company to freelance (I am still their lead designer just basically work when I want to!). I am free to make up my own schedule, take on projects when I want to, but not feel totally overwhelmed trying to work a full 40 hour week at home, while taking care of a baby.
With that said there are definitely some things that I have learned over the past few years working from home, both pre and post baby, that have helped me continue to be successful in both my career and home-life.
Get ready everyday. Even if it just means changing from PJs to workout/lounge clothes. You will feel so much more productive if you aren’t still in last nights sleepwear. I also do my hair and makeup everyday, but obviously some mamas ain’t got no time for that!
Make your bed. They say the state of your bed is the state of your head. I truly believe this. I never used to make my bed. When I started working from home I slowly started making it every morning and now I can’t stand if its not made! It’s one of the first things I do every morning, second to making my latte 🙂
Dedicate specific time to work. For me, it’s Luna’s nap time and once she is asleep for the night. Not everyone has kids that nap, but if you can get a sitter just for a couple hours, it makes a huge difference to have uninterrupted time to work vs. the constant tug from a little one wanting you to play.
Dedicate specific time to play. I always make sure there are times throughout the day that are just for Luna. I don’t look at emails and try my best to not think about any work projects (even when I am super stressed about some!!!). It makes a big difference not only for myself but Luna too, when I can be fully present with her.
Define a workspace. I find myself to be much more efficient when I am not sitting on the couch, but rather at my desk, hooked up to my desktop monitor, totally focused. But As you can see from the photos above I am currently not following this…. We just bought a new house so we have been temporarily sleeping in the bedroom that will be my office until the paint and new flooring are installed in the upstairs master. But good news, the flooring goes in this Thursday!!! So that means this weekend I will be busy putting together both our new master as well as setting up my new office space. (So excited to reveal both of those!)
Don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes I have tight deadlines and don’t have a sitter, so I need to work when Luna is awake and playing. It’s not always possible to separate the work/play time but the point is, you strive your best to make it possible most times.
Ask for help. Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Family, friends, whatever. Raising little ones is no easy task, so try and alleviate some of that stress. Take a couple hours to yourself so you can really focus and be productive, and then you can come back to your kids feeling like you can actually had a productive work session.
Hopefully you can find some knowledge here if you are thinking of making the jump into be a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom!