A Mental Mind Shift that isn’t easy to navigate
You’ve decided to work from home. Whether you are an entrepreneur or working for an employer, it is an enormous change. Yes, it sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The one thing I hear a lot “you can work in your pajamas!” Realistically, you wouldn’t be caught dead going to work in your pajamas, so why would you do that when you only have to walk from one room to another?
I don’t know about you, but when I first started working from home, I did not treat the work as a job. Which was a huge mistake. I had dishes to do, laundry to sort and beds to make! That took precedence over the actual work I had to get done. I found myself deep into the night working on the “work” I should have gotten done during the day.
Society conditions us from a young age to graduate from high school, go to college, get a job and go to work. We watch our parents get up, get ready, and head out the door. So we grow up, get a job, and go to work.
We get up in the morning, get everyone off to work or school before we leave the house. But going to work is our reprieve. Being there, we get actual work done because we are in a designated place that requires us to do so. We take our breaks, our lunch, and then we leave and come home. We get paid for the hours we work.
Working from home is different. I did not treat it like work at first, and it put me behind. It stressed me out, and I was just plain tired. It took me a few weeks to figure out something so simple. Treat working from home like you do going to work. At a minimum, designate specific hours and designate a specific place to do your work at. Working from home does allow you flexibility, but use with caution.
Not everyone can turn a bedroom into an office. Figure out where you can establish your work station and set it up to accommodate you. Once you do that, sit down and plan out your schedule. I use a day timer. I enjoy writing things down, highlighting key tips or notes, I use my day timer religiously.
8 Habits of Super-Productive People Who Work From Home
How to keep yourself accountable, collaborative, and productive — even when working from home.
I sit down every Sunday evening and plan out my week. I review any appointments I have, making sure to not double book, and I have ample time to get my work done. Even though I could use a digital format for my schedule, I like the physical aspect of writing things down. It solidifies in my mind what I have coming up in the week ahead.
I also have wall calendars that show what is going on for the entire month. I included my work hours for all to see. My family needed to see that I was working! I figured out time frames; I knew when they were coming home from school, so I would take my break. This way I could touch base, give them their snacks, get them started on their homework, etc. If someone needed a ride to practice, I had set aside that time to make it happen.
If you are working from home for an employer, you need to be double diligent. Your family is an enormous distraction. Little Johnny forgetting his lunch can be a big interruption. You and only you set the tone for what is important to take care of. One thing I had to ask myself, would I have left work to take my son his lunch? If that answer was “no”, then I absolutely would not take him his lunch when I am working from home.
Your family sees that you are home. They haven’t connected mom at home = work time, anything mom can do to solidify that connection is key. It is up to MOM or DAD to set the tone. I told my kids, “if you are bleeding to death, then yes, call me and I will come.” If you forget your lunch you make do. That isn’t my responsibility. I can attest to the fact that my son did not forget his lunch again. Going hungry and bumming something off his friends was enough to have him take responsibility for himself.
5 things working moms can do that will make everything better*.
*This post won’t make everything better at all, but it might help one person a tiny bit, so I wanted to share.
The nightmare? Being able to juggle all the pieces. I believe it is harder for the woman coming home to work than the man. Why? Mom’s play a unique role in the family, they nurture, they teach, they coach, they discipline, they set the example. The kids know that mom is at work so they call and check in; they go to the babysitter or after-school programs. But when mom is home, they don’t think mom is still working. It is totally up to you, to set the tone, the hours, the parameters of interruptions and guidance.
So far, we have talked about transitioning from working for an employer to coming home and working remotely. In the next article, we will explore the life and times of the entrepreneur. There are similarities and there are differences.