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Recently, a friend who works in an office said she envied
me because I work-from-home. "You don't even have to get dressed if you don't
want to," she said after lamenting her morning commute and annoying office
Truthfully, she's right. I have to walk 10 feet to the
office in my home to get to work, I don't have to deal with annoying colleagues, and no one would ever know if I'm wearing my pajamas or a ball gown while I
Some of that is by design. Quickly into my life post-college, I realized I
wasn't an office person. While others seemed to flourish in an office
environment, I found it constraining and monotonous. I felt itchy and antsy
going to the same place every day and I never seemed to get the knack for
dealing with water cooler politics.
But working from a home office isn't always perfect . There's no separation between work-life and
home-life, and the kids are just about always getting into my work space. So over the years, I've found a way to make
peace with my process and make the most of the opportunity to work-from-home.
If your home is your office or you're thinking of working
from home, you'll need a few tips to help you survive. Here you go!
1. Have a designated space that is your work space.
if your work space is a table in your living room on which your computer sits,
have a sacred space that is your work place. That means the kids don't dump
their toys there and the hubs doesn't adopt your space as his. If your home is your office, you need an
office. So make it special and make sure everyone in the house does, too.
And unless you're desperate to meet a deadline and need the kids to be nearby with a toy or iPad, don't let the kids use your office as a play area. You'll find your files will get used for scissors practice and those office supplies you were counting on got used to make a My Little Pony hair salon.
2. Don't expect to get your work done in the same room as the kids.
Work when it's your work time and be on kid duty when your kids are home. Don't try to do both at once.
If the logistics of your house allow, have
your work space be somewhere the kids aren't. And unless you're desperate, or your kids are old enough to be
temporarily self-sufficient, don't expect to get your work done when your
little ones are underfoot. Work when
it's your work time and be on kid duty when your kids are home. Don't try to
do both at once. Everyone will be a lot less frustrated and you'll actually be
3. If your kids are home while you're working, make sure they—and their caretaker—understand you're working.
In my experience,
babysitters have a tendency to think you're not working simply because you're
home. The same goes for the kids who
love to come in and out of Mom's office with a whole host of emergencies. My rule is unless there's a real emergency
I'm not to be bothered while I'm working. The kids don't' go to Dad's office
and ask him for a snack, so there's no reason they have to go to mine just because
my office is at home.
4. Plan your time so you don't have to come in and out of the kid's area too often.
If you have little ones at home with a
babysitter while you're working, try to plan your run to the kitchen or other
trips around the house for when they've left for the park or when the big ones
are busy doing homework. Everyone will respect your time and space more if they
don't see you popping in and out throughout your entire work day.
5. Make your work area pleasant and comfortable.
office shouldn't feel like a jail cell. So make it comfortable. Give yourself
the best view possible and make sure your desk and work space make you feel
like working. Just because your home is
your office doesn't mean you have to be stuck with that old office chair the
hubs didn't want and didn't like. You're a professional! You get to have a
nice space to work.
6. Change your location throughout the day.
take my laptop and go sit in another room in the house just for a change of
scenery. Working from home is amazing, but it's also monotonous because your
home and office are the same place. Give
yourself mental and physical breaks to shake things up. You can. I know this breaks rule No. 1, but just for this moment, the whole house is your office!
7. Take breaks, working from home can be lonely.
Take a break during the day for a walk around the
neighborhood or a dash over to the nearby coffee shop so you can have some
grown-up human contact. Working from home is fabulous, but one thing you don't
have are colleagues. So give yourself
human interactions—but not for too long, because you've got work to do!
One of the hardest things
about working from home is that your whole job is self-motivated. That means
all those things on your Mom To-Do List can take priority and your work can
easily get neglected. So value your work time and stick to your schedule. Knock
the more tedious things off your To-Do List later when you might not be as alert or