For the last four and a half years, I’ve been a work at home mom. My projects and campaigns have all been part-time, averaging around 15 hours a week. I’ve managed social media accounts, coordinated blogger outreach, written articles, press releases and blog posts. To be able to do this AND be home with my kids has been a huge blessing.
But it’s not easy.
You have to plan out your time and be diligent and organized. Being at home, it’s easy to be distracted by dishes or other jobs around the house that need to be done. A sick kid or snow day can throw your whole week into a tailspin. And let’s not forget about doctor’s appointments, school volunteering and everything else life throws at you.
In order to work from home and ACTUALLY GET STUFF done, you have to have a plan. What works for one doesn’t always work for others, but sometimes you just need to see an idea to implement. So I talked with a great group of folks who work at home and compiled a great list of tips and tricks to allow you to be the most effective while working from home.
1. Set work hours but allow flexibility.
For me, I work from 10-12:30 while my daughter is at preschool. I give myself a 30 minute buffer to come home and pick up from the
morning routine and then I sit down at my computer to work. I also work for an hour after I pick her up (roughly from 2:30 – 3:30) while she has her quiet time. But if I have to work one evening because there was a school event, that’s okay too.
2. Work like someone else is the boss.
Career coach, Laura Simms, advocates acting like your boss is someone else. If you wouldn’t go to the grocery store in the middle of your work day, don’t do it now. Don’t take personal calls during your work hours either. Your friends will leave a message. If you know it wouldn’t fly at an office job, avoid it at home as well.
3. Arrange childcare.
If you have kids, childcare is INCREDIBLY important. Most work at home moms I know work during school hours. But if your kids are at home, arrange to have someone come watch them for a few hours so you can get work done without any distractions. It will keep you focused.
4. Wake up early.
Admittedly, this is not one I do. I’m not a morning person. However many of my friends and colleague get up before the rest of their family and knock out some work before any craziness of the day has started.
5. Treat your weekend like a weekend.
Often times when you work at home, you work whenever you can – nights, weekends included. Make sure you give yourself that break and take time for yourself. Your work will still be there Monday morning.
6. Invest in noise-cancelling headphones.
These some in handy both in a busy home with kids running around and in your local coffee shop. I’m looking at these – http://amzn.to/1RiyuI5
7. Have a dedicated work space.
This is a work in progress for me. I have a desk in our front room but it allows for more interruptions than I’d like. It’s important to feel like I’m actually leaving work when I turn off the computer for the day. Even better if you have a home office where you can shut the door.
8. Get out of the house.
Working at home can be very isolating. Make sure you get out of the house every once in awhile, either to network or just meet a friend for lunch or coffee. Texting or instant messaging is fine, but face to face is important too.
Do you work from home? What are your tips?