Recently, I made the transition from almost 20 years of corporate life to being a stay-at-home working mom who owns her own business. Talk about a life change!
There were many reasons for the change, but the main one was to spend more time with my five-year-old daughter. Mission accomplished, there but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that are some days I WISH I had an office out of the house I could escape to!
I haven’t regretted my decision for a second, but it’s definitely been something I’ve had to (and still am) learning to get used to. Going from having to be at the office at a certain time on certain days to being able to work whenever (and wherever) is a whole new world.
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Luckily, I have friends who also work from home who’ve supplied me with some very valuable advice. And I’m slowly developing my own advice for those who follow in my footsteps.
Working from Home Survival Tips
- Develop a routine. In every office job I’ve ever had, I had my morning routine that prepared me for the day. I would check my calendar, email, and then create my daily to-do list. On my first day of work from home life, I didn’t do that. I don’t know why, but I froze up. I had ALL THESE THINGS to do but I failed miserably that day. Besides one meeting with a client, I’m not sure I accomplished anything that day except a lot of staring at my computer screen.
- Get dressed. No, I’m not saying you have to get all fancy, like you would if you were going to the office. But put something on that says “I’m at work.” What that “thing” is will differ for everyone but for me, I at least need to put regular clothes on, i.e. something that I’d be okay going out in public in.
3. Create a proper work space. Before I made the transition, I had visions of working from bed, the couch, by the pool . . . really wherever I wanted. Sounds great in theory, not as easy in reality.
For one thing, if you don’t have a central place to work, you’re constantly losing things and moving things from one place to the other. For me, it also doesn’t feel like work if I’m not sitting at an actual desk. For others, that may not be the case. The first day I tried to work from bed, I ended up napping most of the morning. It was just WAY TOO TEMPTING. And working by the pool, forget it! It just didn’t work (for me, at least).
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4. Know when to turn it off. The pro (and con) of working from home is that you can literally work anytime you want. While the flexibility is great, it can actually negate the whole reason why you made the transition in the first place. For me, I start each week (see No. 1) by creating my weekly work schedule, and I do my best to stick with it.
5. Reward yourself. If you are your own boss like me, you may not have anyone else cheering you on or rewarding you for a job well done. I set little goals for myself and then when I accomplish them, I reward myself. Whether it’s a new lipstick from Sephora or telling myself to “leave work” a little early, it’s the little things that can keep us motivated.
I’ve got six minutes left on my “work clock” for today, so I’ll wrap this up. If you’re a stay-at-home working mom and have other advice to give, I’m all ears!