Recently, I have been doing a little more work at home than usual and initially, this was fabulous! I could do chores and work at the same time, see the kids, and feel like I wasn’t away ‘working’ all the time. But...
This initial joy subsided when I realised that I didn’t feel as productive as when I go into the office. This made me anxious…how was I ever going to get through everything whilst working at home? I decided to put three simple rules around my days, and here they are!
- Get up and get out: Our house is small, so my office is actually in my bedroom (which is also small!). If I’m really into what I am doing, it can be very easy for me to forget to stand up, let alone get out of the bedroom. At the end of the day, I feel a bit caged in. Rule 1 is getting up and starting my work day earlier, so I can take an hour off at 2.30 pm and walk up to get the kids from school and walk them home. It is a good half-hour walk one way for me, and the trip is a good refresh for my mind. This is also good for my posture – not huddled over my laptop all day.
- No to housework: It is so tempting for me to put a load of washing, on, wash up the dishes whilst I am at it, check the fire, fold up the washing because it is nice and warm by the fire...and so on. Housework is distracting. It is not important in those moments, however. I pretty soon realised that an hour can slip by just doing a load of washing, by the time I sort it, put it on, hang it out and get it in! And, what I was really doing, was not being super organised at housework (I’m just not that into having a sparkling house!), but instead avoiding work that was a little challenging. No wonder things were not getting done! I now do my chores in the evenings when I have finished my work. No blurring of housework and work.
- Shut the door: I started off working at home in a whimsical fashion thinking how lucky I was that I could work and have the kids pop into my home office whenever to talk, show me something from school, etc. What a mistake! They are so distracting. I am very biased, as I should be, and think my kids are the cutest things in the world, so naturally, when they come walking through the office door, I want to know all about their tales and adventures. Two things that can happen here. Firstly, it really distracts from what you are working on, (and there were times when my kids were coming in 5-6 times an hour). Secondly, if you are really focused on something, or have a deadline, you make that horrible mistake of not giving your kids your undivided attention and you are only half listening as you are typing. Then, afterwards, you feel guilty. So, rule number 3, shut the door. I had my kids make me signs saying ‘mum at work, do not enter’ so they felt part of the rule and knew what it meant. This way, I get through my work quicker and then get more quality time with the family.
If you work from home, I hope these tips help in managing your daily routine.