One of the daily challenges I face working at home is balancing work and life. This is especially hard now that my husband and I work for the same company. Sometimes our pillow talk seems more like a brainstorming session rather than a wind down from the day. Luckily, we’re not in the same department and don’t report to one another. (I believe this is essential to our success—one is not the boss of the other.) So when the line blurs between the home life and work life how do you better define it?
1. Schedule on & off time.
Have business hours and play hours. Being a work-at-home, stay-at-home mom I try to work during set hours. Usually, 12:00p.m. – 3 p.m. and then an hour or so in the evenings. For play time, I use the time my daughter is awake to run errands, go for walks with her, or just goof around. Sometimes I do have to be flexible and a little more creative with my schedule to meet deadlines but I try to make this the exception rather than the norm.
2. Get organized.
Being organized saves time and money for you and your clients no matter your work situation. Doing the upfront work to find a system that works for you and sticking to it will pay off in the long haul and make your job much easier. Take advantage of work “down time” by doing some routine housekeeping—filing paperwork, making yourself a task list, backing up files, etc.
3. Get out of the house!
If you work from home this is must! Whether you go on a walk, to lunch with a vendor or friend, the coffee shop to work, the gym to workout or throw a frisbee in the park, just crawl out of your cave and get your rear end out and take in some Vitamin D! A change of scenery will refresh your mind, relax you, and help you be more creative by giving you a much needed break. After all, Ansel Adams didn’t find his inspiration staring at four walls.
4. Get a good support system.
Seek out friends, family, church, an online community, a book club, the PTA, or your dog Lassie that you can lean on for support and vent to when you’ve had a rough day. Put yourself out there and connect with others. When you work from home it’s easy to forget there’s a whole world out there that doesn’t revolve around you and what’s in your head.
5. Let go…
Just breathe. Now, this is going to be hard for some of you, but sometimes the laundry won’t get done, or you won’t vacuum for (god forbid) 3 weeks! You won’t cross all you wanted off your to do list, and you won’t respond to all your emails. But guess what?! It’s Ok. Just let go and relax and pick up where you left off the next day. Or on Monday for that matter.
6. Ask for Help
When things start piling up for too long and it all just seems a bit too overwhelming that’s when you know it’s time to call in the reinforcements. Do you have more work than time? Phone another freelancer and contract out some of the work. Need some downtime? Ask a friend or family member to watch the kids for a little while or schedule a playdate for them so you can have an hour or two to yourself. Can you afford to have the house cleaned once a month? Get a maid. Start getting creative about what you can get off your plate and delegate.
Do you have some tips of your own? Feel free to comment below.
Update: I ran across this article this morning on CNN there are some nice resources in here for other WAHMs (work at home Moms).