Let's pick up where we left off, shall we? Click here to read Part 1, if you haven't already.
LESSON #3: HAVING A DOG HELPS
Working from home and having a dog is a match made in heaven. We rescued a retired Greyhound back in September and we love him. And he loves that I'm home all day, I think. By the way, if you want to know more about Greyhounds, HIT ME UP, I love being a Hound Ambassador.
But the point of lesson #3 isn't really about dogs. The point of lesson #3 is to take breaks. Outside. Obviously, having a dog is a great excuse to take regular walking breaks throughout the day. There's a lot of evidence behind the benefits of taking regular breaks throughout your work day. It increases productivity, is good exercise, and gets you out of your head space for a few minutes so you can come back refreshed.
LESSON #4: YOUR KIDS DON'T CARE THAT YOU'RE BUSY
As I mentioned in my previous post, my work space is at a desk in my dining room, which happens to be smack-dab in the middle of the main living floor of our house. It's between the living room (where our TV lives) and the kitchen (where the food lives). In other words, that room gets a lot of traffic. When I'm home by myself it's fine, but let's just say it's not conducive to working when my kids are home. Let me cut to the chase and just say it involves a lot of me saying "STOP YELLING AT EACH OTHER," and feeling my brain explode after my kids interrupt me 13 seconds after the LAST time they interrupted me.
When I attempt to work in the middle of the chaos, I feel stressed because I'm not productive. When I feel stressed, my kids feel sad. And when my kids feel sad because I'm stressing them out, I feel guilty. It's a bad cycle.
So I came up with a magical, little-known productivity secret to use whenever my kids are home while I'm working. Ready? I LEAVE THE ROOM. Specifically, I take my things to my bedroom, shut the door, and work there.
OK, I know, this seems obvious. And it is. But it can also be really hard to do- to leave YOUR work space where all your things are arranged and you have a nice space (that you spent 20 minutes tidying up that morning, right?) and pack up your laptop and notebooks and chargers and try to work on your bed? It can be hard (for me, anyway) to get over the mindset of "I'm The Mom and I have to do Important Grown-Up Things like Earn Money so stay out of Mommy's Space, please. Is it just me? I'd love to know if you struggle with this with your kids or not- let me know in a comment below.
When I stop trying to fight the nature of my kids and accept the fact that if I'm around, they want to talk to me and they don't care if I'm supposed to be working, I work from a much more zen place. When I'm out of the space, I'm out of mind (mostly) of the kids. They don't interrupt me every 13 seconds (it's more like every 40 minutes, which I can totally handle). I get my work done in peace and by the time I come back downstairs, my kids get the "nice mommy" who is happy to see them instead of "stressed mommy".
LESSON #5: LAUNDRY IS STILL HARD
There's a little game I play in my head that goes something like this: "I'm going to take an hour out of my work day today and turn on a TV show to watch while I fold those 6 baskets of clean laundry." And then the next day, I play the game again because I have NOT folded the laundry. Guess how often I actually take the time out of my work day to fold laundry?
Haha, you're right! IT HAS LITERALLY NEVER HAPPENED.
When you're working from home, you're surrounded by all of the non-work things that have to be done. If you are someone who works away from home, you have the benefit of being able to forget, for 8 hours a day, that you have a sink of dishes waiting to be washed. Out of sight, out of mind. It can be easy, as a Work-From-Home person, to feel guilty for not keeping up with those tasks as well as you think you should.
There is definitely a lot of be said for time-batching and other methods of making sure It All Gets Done (and, believe me, we will get to those). But the point for today is this: be gentle with yourself. There will always be non-work commitments that want to steal your working time. Allow yourself to focus on work during Work Time and breathe out the guilt that says "But I'm home--I should put away these clean dishes right now!" Tell the guilt, instead, "This is my Work Time. Home Time will have to wait. And that's okay."
P.S. Need more specific guidance on that last lesson? Try setting an alarm on your phone for a specific time to accomplish that task. For instance, "4:30: Stop work and put away clean dishes." Then, you know, try not to ignore your phone when the alarm goes off.
P.P.S. Did you know that I can help YOU get more done? I can help you meet deadlines, accomplish your goals, and take on the world. I work with women like you, one-on-one to help you Go Forth and Conquer. Check it out here.