Are you new to working from home? Well, welcome to a way of life that millions of Americans are living. It has been a growing trend as more and more companies are entrusting employees with their work-space, as the number of entrepreneurs continues to grow, and as the world creates circumstances and technology that puts work, family, education, and entertainment all in the same space.
We have been living and developing business from our home together for several years. We’ve had to not only figure out logistics, but also figure out the pitfalls of human behavior through trial and error. To help you out, and ease your transition on your new adventure, here are a few tips that we have learned along the way.
Routine Is Key
First, stick to your guns. Stay in your morning routine and schedule, or improve it, even if you now skip your morning commute. Humans need structure to thrive and suddenly sleeping in everyday will prove disastrous. Get up at the same time every day. Have the same morning routine; that cold brew coffee, workout time, breakfast shake, time in your reading chair, etc. Being a creature of habit will keep consistency and focus at the forefront.
Play The Part
It sounds great that you won’t have to put on that tie or heels or ‘blah’ uniform, but getting ready for what the day will bring is key to being productive. Comfortable clothes are definitely a benefit to working from home but being lazy is inexcusable. Don’t fall for the draw of sweat pants and slippers. Your family doesn’t enjoy seeing you in your pajamas sprawled on the couch with a laptop and papers in disarray. You’ll want to be ready for the colleague or client whose schedule opened up, and they’re ready for a video chat. You’ll want to be ready for when your work is complete for the day and your family is anticipating your full attention. You don’t want to be caught cleaning up or catching up.
Set Your Boundaries
Your work is important. Your family is important. In a shared space, we have to play together as a team. You will need time away to focus. Have a designated workspace with everything you need. Put headphones on, close the door, and hang a sign that tells others when your meeting will be over. You’ll need to protect your space and game plan with your family members, so they can run defense for you. Let kids, neighbors, and family know that when your work is complete and you are available, they are your priority.
Multitasking is less productive. When you are in work mode, be in work mode. And when you are in family mode, be in family mode. Don’t try to bounce a baby on your knee while on a conference call, or leave a mastermind meeting to answer the door and tip the delivery guy. Your work requires your full attention and so does your family. So when your work day is complete and it’s time to be with family, put the phone away. Shut the computer down. Enjoy and laugh and make memories. Do the household chores together as a family or plan an activity.
Master Time Management
Think of chunking your time and having bookends. You may start with a morning routine, get into your workday, follow it with family time, and then end your day with a nighttime routine. In between those chunks of time, take breaks! Take time for lunch, walk the dog, have a healthy snack, have a non work-related conversation, or just be outside. Do not try to conquer the entire day without taking proper breaks. After your break, get right back into doing the next thing, and avoid getting distracted. We have several chunks of time in our day to accomplish what’s needed. Our times may be managed differently, but together, we are a well-oiled machine.
Stuff Happens…Roll With It
Give grace. Nothing is perfect nor will it ever be. Each day comes with its own surprises and circumstances, so just roll with it. You will have kid appearances every now and then on video chat. You will have unexpected guests or water leaks in the middle of the afternoon. Dogs still chew up homework and quarterly reports, or bark when you’re recording a message or on the phone. It’s all going to be okay. Have grace for yourself and others, a lot of grace, and you can win in any circumstance. Remember, no matter how challenging things can get sometimes, it’s all temporary. This season is a season. Grow through it and be open to learning, changing, and being a better version of yourself.
Be grateful for the opportunity. Despite occasional challenges, we wouldn’t trade our life for the world. We love working, winning, living, loving, raising kids, entertaining, educating, and making memories in our home. We play different roles, and each one is just as important to creating an environment for our family and our livelihood to thrive. Everyday we feel beyond blessed to be home while our kids are home and to enjoy our pursuit of happiness.
We want to encourage you. As you figure out how to do it all like a superhero, you can take comfort in knowing that others have gone before you and are loving this life. You will too. Believe us when we say, it’s worth it.