With our lives revolving around home almost since the start of the year, we have had to make adjustments. We have to make our homes a place where we can actually get some work done. The fact that the kids are also at home doesn’t make it any easier! With your toddler shouting your name while you are on a Zoom call or the babies crying their lungs out just when you start to get into your zone of genius, yeah, been there done that!
As a solopreneur with a full-time job, I feel like this season has had its pros and cons when it comes to working from home. From skipping out the traffic that literally wastes at least an hour of my day to being able to jump into the next room to check out on the twin girls, it’s been a blessing in that way.
So here is how I work from home productively:
Dress for the occasion
Dressing up for me is an energy booster, a great motivator and I just ooze confidence. A great outfit can be what gives you the much-needed energy and focus to achieve your daily goals. When working from home it’s very easy to just spend the day in PJs or loungewear coz I mean they are comfortable and very freeing. However, the loungewear sets the brain in lounge mode aka airplane/chill mode. And all you want to do is take a nap or binge on Youtube and Netflix (this is very necessary but it’s not productive if you are working from home).
Dressing up for work helps in uplifting one moods. It motivates you to be at your best basically it jump-starts your day. And in Brandi Michel of Family Felicity’s words, “Getting dressed provides the kick in the pants your brain needs to get into the work groove.”
If you are a business owner, I would highly suggest that you get into the habit of dressing for the occasion. Now I know that there are those days when the day gets to 5pm and you wonder how, still in PJs! This happens to all of us moms so I am not talking about those days. For the most part, try to get dressed up so that you can condition your mind into work mode earlier on in the day.
Getting into a routine
Yeah, you are probably wondering: Which mom has a routine? I have twins who are 6 months old and my routine gets sabotaged almost everyday. But there are things that I can do while the kids are asleep, as my non-negotiable routine activities. Some of these include:
- Doing my top 3 business priorities for the day
- Reading for 20 minutes before the kids wake up
- Catching up on my daily 20-30 minutes of Instagram so that I can be fully present for my kids when they are awake
Does my routine always work? No, but it definitely would never work if I didn’t plan for it. You would rather plan to have a routine while working from home than not have any at all!
Before you think that I am done with this point, getting your kids on a routine is the best thing you can do if you want to work from home without continuous interruptions. Getting your kids on a routine as soon as possible should be your main priority. It can be as simple as getting their nap times right or their screen times in check. The more predictable their routines are, the easier it is to plan your schedule while working from home.
Planning daily tasks
Moms have the longest to-do lists that cut across various activities. From kids’ stuff, house chores, grocery shopping, school projects and somewhere at the bottom you squeeze in your business tasks. A long to-do list can be overwhelming just by looking at it and that just drains any energy. It creates a mindset where the focus is on ticking off any completed activity.
First things first to ensure productivity, separate the business tasks from the home stuff. This will ensure that you prioritize the business tasks from the most urgent to the least urgent. Remember, if there are tasks that can wait until the next day, then schedule them for the next day. This frees up time for today’s activities.
My actual advice: Ditch the to-do list, use a schedule!
A schedule works best as opposed to a to-do list when you are working from home. It will not only get you to start thinking about how realistic that to-do list that is as long as the river Nile is, but it will also get you to determine exactly when you are going to get everything done. What’s the point of using a to-do list when you know that you won’t even get half of the things on the list, done?!
Create Systems and Structures
Systems and structures help you organize yourself and your business even better. In fact, if you don’t have systems and structures in your business, you can say goodbye to growth. A system is just a well-defined way of doing something.
You don’t have to be a techie to systemize your business. You can get someone else to help you with this critical part of your business as you focus on your zone of genius.
Getting systems in place will save you so much time, and get you more time to focus on your strengths in your business so that you can scale up faster.
Besides business, having systems for various things around the house such as cleaning, cooking etc. helps in better time organization and management.
You are your business’s greatest asset! If you don’t plan and spend time on taking care of your well being, then working from home will be an uphill battle.
As moms we tend to always put ourselves last, we prioritize everyone and everything else besides ourselves. This leads to burn outs, feeling overwhelmed, unhappy and drained. It’s important to take time out for ourselves to decompress, rejuvenate and re-energize.
So take that nap if you are tired, take a break and watch an episode of your favourite Netflix show. Take a walk around the block to clear your mind. Soak yourself in your bathtub as you catch up on a book. Do whatever you need to, to keep your well being as a top priority. Check out this blog post where I share a few self-care ideas in quarantine.
What are your top tips for working from home productively while the kids are at home?