6 Ways to Make Working From Home Easier

6 Ways to Make Working From Home EasierIt’s 1pm. My 3-year-old is down for her nap, although I can still hear her playing. The house is semi picked up, the dog is in his cage so he won’t eat a dozen tissues while I’m not watching, and my desk is clear for the moment. I make a cup of tea, sit down, and open up my planner to see what I have due soon.

5 minutes in, I hear a little voice. “Mama? MAAAAAMMMMMAAAAA?!” I get up. She wants her lovey. We search the house and find it. Back to bed and work.

The doorbell rings for UPS. The dog barks his head off while I try to quiet him before he wakes Bella up. Package in, dog calm. I’ve forgotten what I was doing and have to take a moment to remember what I was writing on.

My husband calls. “Do you know where my paperwork/card/hat/large camo thing is?” I search his side of the room looking for it and finally tell him I can’t find it. It’s ok, because it’s in his truck anyway. Back to work.

Someone tags me in a post on Facebook and as hard as I try to resist I have to click over. 15 minutes later I’m on a random blog reading a post and wondering what I was working on 9 tabs back. Bella has to potty. Which usually doesn’t include me except I forgot to empty it the last go round and now have to get up and do so. A friend texts. I get an email from an editor on a timely interview/post that needs to be taken care of.

Half a post in, Bella wakes up and that’s the end of getting any more done till this evening.

This used to be my life. Every day I’d struggle with finding just enough time to finish what I needed to without movie after movie being on, or working until late in the night. It rarely looks like this anymore, so I’ll tell you what I found that helps me focus on working from home:

  1. Don’t work from home. Well, lol, at least a portion of the time you should try to leave. Whether you take your at-home kids to a Mom’s Day Out or hire a sitter for just one morning a week, leave the house to work. It’s amazing how much I can get done in 3 solid, uninterrupted hours while Bella has the undivided attention of our beloved sitter. 
  2. Turn off the “extras.” This one kills me, but I simply can’t see this: (1) in a tab for Twitter/Facebook/email and not click. I have to close the tabs while I work.
  3. Plan your days carefully. If the thought of plopping your kid(s) in front of a movie while you work makes you twitchy, but you have to get things done, plan the time before and after to get them out and moving. Less guilt, more productivity. Finding Nemo for the 25th time never killed anyone.
  4. Crockpot on busy days. If prepping or making dinner seems to throw a wrench in your afternoon, set aside the days you have to work a while as crockpot days. Throw it all in during the morning, and you’re done. No looking up at 3pm to realize the chicken isn’t thawed.
  5. Minimize chaos. We have a saying that, “Everyone takes a rest every day. Period.” This means I get down time to work, Bella goes in her room, the dog goes to his cage, and things shut down for a couple of hours. We can do this if we spend a good portion of the morning outside or at least 30-45 minutes before lunch getting a little sunshine. If it’s nasty cold, do a dance party inside or something to get them moving and ready to spend some quiet time alone.
  6. Prep your own time. When you’re done working, set up for the next time. Put your planner where you can find it, charge your computer, clean up your desk and sort papers. It will save you precious minutes the next time you’re working, and creates a space where it’s comfortable to work instead of another cluttery mess you have to look at.

About the author

Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Babble.com, Still Standing Magazine, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on Pinterest .

6 Comments

  1. Rebecca says:

    This post had great tips even for moms who don’t work from home but have things they want/need to get done. My personal favorite was the mandatory rest time :)

    Reply
    • Diana Stone says:

      Live.Saver. I don’t know what I would do without that time. I started dreaded Bella dropping her nap soon, and then realized that no matter what, we all needed that time to regroup still. Whether or not she sleeps (and despite her adamant “I NOT TIRED” she always does).
      Diana Stone recently posted..I Can’t Say We’re DoneMy Profile

      Reply
  2. Today. This. All of this. I unexpectedly have my 4 year old home with me today so it looks like ‘getting stuff done’ is pretty much not happening. I’m hoping I can cross ‘answer emails’ off my list, at least. Maybe do a tiny bit of outlining, but I’m not hopeful.
    Christa the BabbyMama recently posted..Funfetti Pancakes On a Wednesday, Oh My!My Profile
    Twitter: mommeetmom

    Reply
  3. Krista says:

    Dude. When we moved and my boss said I could keep my job and work from home I thought I hit the lottery. Turns out, the grass is always greener. While I love the flexibility (and the dress code!) It is SO hard to get motivated some days. And when I’m sitting there in my sweats and the TV and a full DVR are just around the corner – well… I’ve found to-do lists to be my life saver. I have a big one that has everything I need to do and then a post it sized one for what I need to accomplish that day. If, at the end of the day, I can throw the post it in the trash with everything crossed off, then I’ve done good!
    Krista recently posted..the beat of my heartMy Profile
    Twitter: notmommyofyear

    Reply

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