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Working Smart (and Sanely) at Home

If you are newish today working at home, it’s harddddd, right?

The last 9 years I have been doing a non-traditional job that offers total independence and has very low accountability. Meaning if I don’t want to work, meh, I can get away with it and nobody can fire me. But with that flexibility comes a tremendous amount of self-regulation. Flexible, but not optional if I want to get paid.

My tips for those of you struggling to balance kids, the distraction of working from home and the temptation to go pluck your eyebrows or pull weeds instead of work…

1. Set a goal on how many contacts/activities you need to make per week. Daily just isn’t possible for many parents. Some days go down the crapper fast and you have to just give yourself the grace to let it be a toilet tank of a day. Maybe Tuesday was a bust. Make up for it on Thursday. Then bless and release and don’t beat yourself up about a day that didn’t go as you had planned.

2. Bring back the Power Hour. This is your mama talking: if you have time to scroll Ig or watch three back to back episodes of Love on the Spectrum(highly recommend btw) then how is it you can whine that you don’t have time to get your work done? Set the timer on your phone. 60 minutes can be the difference between income generating activities that will pay dividends down the road vs brain drain of Facebook debate time that you will never get back.

3. Lists still work and crossing off stuff still feels amazing. Let your kids watch you do this ON PAPER. Yes, the phone is easier and handy but when your family can visually see what you want to accomplish and SEE you cross things off, they are more likely to get behind you when you ask for time to get your work done. Modeling this behavior in a tangible way that they can see is a great skill for them to learn.

4. Find an accountability partner.… and NOT someone you share a bed with, preferably. Identify someone in your industry/office who you can check in with every 10-14 days and commit to being there for each other. It’s not a weird thing of “who did more/better” but someone who will be there to be supportive of your goals and brainstorm through your challenges. Some of you can hire a professional business coach to do this, but I have often found that a friendly person in my industry is even more effective.

5. Reward yourself with a treat. This one is for all you kids who would work for a sticker in 3rd grade. Set a time specific goal: By 5pm I will have finished writing that proposal and then I will have a vodka soda to celebrate my awesomeness. Or maybe it’s your scroll time/meet a friend for a walk time, etc.

6. Maximize your morning (or night) hours. For years it’s been all about how the morning people are the best people. I get a little crabby and take that personally. When I had 3 kids under 6 and was building a six figure business while being a stay at home mom, I burned the midnight oil and looked like a haggard witch every morning and slept in until the chubby hands were pinching me awake. It wasn’t great on my adrenals and I don’t suggest it as a long term strategy, but there will be some nights you can power through the next day meal prep, scheduling content or emails to go out, etc.

7. Get help. Oh my, was this one hard for me. I was raised by humble, blue collar, hard-working parents who didn’t hire much of anything out that they could do themselves. Are you able to make more per hour than what it would cost to hire someone to mow your lawn? Then it’s time. What if you could pay someone to clean your bathrooms/kitchen 2 times a month and then could focus that time into your business/career/time with your kids? What can someone else do as decent as you can (or better)? What small business could you support by hiring out the things that keep you from being positive and productive?

What other tips do you have for working home and staying sane and semi- productive?

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