Working from home definitely has its benefits. I never have to deal with traffic. I don’t have to wear a suit. I can drink as many cups of coffee as I want without shame.
But like anything, there are pros and cons. As much as I love working from home, it’s a lot easier to get distracted here than in a cubical. Being a mom too, it’s more important than ever to stay organized and on task as I “balance” being a work at home mama.
I love working from home but it does take a bit of extra effort to stay organized when I work in the same place that I live. So I am sharing five ways I stay organized when working from home, some are daily and others are weekly tips. A few are general principles that are important when it comes to staying organized and working out of the same space you sleep, eat, and relax.
Prepare for a Day of Work
As tempting as it is to stay in your pajamas all day, research has shown that changing out of the clothes you sleep in helps people who work from home perform better. So even if you want to wear leggings all day, just make sure they aren’t the ones you slept in.
Getting dressed will also jump start your morning and make you feel like you’re “going to the office” even if it’s just down the hall.
Setting deliverables helps me to stay organized and accountable and also helps me to set accurate expectations for my clients. Plan your week ahead of time on Monday morning or Sunday night, depending on your weekend schedule. This will help you know what you can accomplish that week and set expectations for the people who work with you.
Because I am goal oriented, this not only helps me stay organized, it also helps motivate me for the work week ahead.
Set a Schedule
I find it helpful to set a schedule to help me stay organized. A lot of people suggest setting up your next day as the last task before you shut down working for the night.
A friend of mine once told me that when she is writing, she always ends her writing session in the middle of the scene. That way, the next day, she doesn’t have to waste time figuring out what will happen next. It’s like jumping into a pool instead of wading in.
A written or digital schedule does the same thing for me. Whenever I’m able to work during the day around my little guy’s schedule, I’m able to jump right in instead of wasting time figuring out what to do next.
Have a Dedicated Work Space
I cannot emphasize this one enough. Not only is it helpful to have all my business related things in one place–from my computer and paperwork to things as simple as pens and my stapler–but but it also helps me in my work and home life balance.
Even though it may be comfy to work from the couch, I limit that for “special” occasions when I need to do work while watching TV or something. This helps keep my workspace my workspace and the rest of the house is able to be dedicated to family areas.
Set Time Boundaries
It’s important to set boundaries with time as well. It helps me to be fully present when I am “off the clock” and also allows me to focus when I am “at work.”
Luckily, my son has actually done this for me. Before I became a mama, I used to work 24/7. Literally. Not in a bad way, I was completely content with it. But having a little one changes that availability in a drastic way. My “work hours” have now become the times that he is asleep, during his afternoon nap and at night. While it’s not totally ideal, it does help me set boundaries of when I work and helps me to focus in on how to make the most of that working time.
No matter what the boundaries are that you set for your business, they are important.
Running a business also means your to do list never ends (literally) and if I wanted to or if I didn’t have boundaries set up, I could work from sun up to sundown. There is always more to do so if I don’t cut myself off, I would have no work-life balance which is also important when it comes to both productivity in my business and staying purposeful with my life.