Suddenly there was applesauce on the wall, the baby was crying…and I think I was, too. It’s really all a blur.
This is the moment I knew there had to be some rules or boundaries or some way to make being a mom and running a business from home successful without it being such a mess.
Because let’s face it. When you’re being pulled in ten different directions and doing everything half-assed, nobody wins. Epecially you.
So what the heck can you do to make it all work seamlessly together?
It all starts with routine and expectations.
Yes, it might sound a little boring. But having balance, a tidy-er house, and happy kiddos is all but boring. It’s freaking bliss.
So how do we achieve this bliss?
Working from Home | Time Blocking
Introducing time blocking – dedicating and focusing on certain times of the day for the different family, household, and business activities you need to take care of.
Have you ever tried warming up food while the laundry was drying and then skipping over to answer an email with a 1-year-old standing beside your desk chair demanding attention?
Most often, that food gets too hot, that dry cycle will end and the clothes won’t get folded, that email is written with a bunch of errors and well, the kid is still crying and you’ll need to hold him even longer now for him to calm down.
I see NO WINS in that scenario, not one. And by the end of the day, we all need those wins!
Time blocks are the answer, but they only work if you respect them. PS. Your kids will never respect them if you don’t.
So let’s dive in on how this number #1 rule to live by when working from home can dramatically change your days, weeks, and years.
And in case you needed a little extra proof, here is a great article from Entrepreneur.com that backs it up.
Working from Home | Focus
Wayyy simpler than it sounds, but the return on investment is MASSIVE. There are a few ways to approach focus when it comes to time-blocking.
For one, you need to stay true the time you’ve allocated for certain activities. I know it’s tempting to re-tumble that load of laundry again while you answer a few emails, because let’s face it, we are queens of the multi-tasking, but don’t do it.
It’s also really hard not to check your email 20 times while your on tummy time with your little one, but DON’T do it.
And nobody will have a heart attack if you don’t answer their email about a product question within 10 minutes of getting it. If you’re truly concerned about customer service, set up an auto-responder that you can turn on during your family time.
Your kids and/or partner will never respect the process if you don’t – they’re watching you for cues.
You can also use focus as a tool within an actual time-blocking activity, especially when it’s for work.
If you know you only have 1.5 hours to work while your baby naps, don’t spend that time doing 10 things all at once simultaneously.
Time-block that 1.5 hours into small increments and block out all other distractions. Hopping from emails, to Facebook, to content creation, to product creation will fill up that time really fast, but you won’t feel like you’ve accomplished all that much when it’s done.
We’ll cover that whole planning part below in a minute.
The point is here to be committed and present to each part of your day.
You know what also tends to simmer down when you do this? That good old Mom guilt that always seems to show up and say hi when you’re trying to do too many things at once.
Working from Home | Planning
it’s great to want to use time-blocking as a means of being more productive and achieve better balance, but you do need to plan for it.
Now, this part will likely be a little different for everyone, but the same concepts apply.
You know there are certain things that needs to get done around the house that you are responsible for on a weekly basis.
You know your baby or kids take naps at roughly the same time every day.
You know you have grandma that comes over on Thursday afternoons for a park date.
No matter what family life looks like on your end, there will always be some constants you can plan around.
Start by mapping your week and blocking out the times where you know you’re full-time mom-ing it and times where you’ll have the availability to block some work time.
Then see where you can fit in your household responsibilities.
A pro tip here would also be to batch tasks like laundry, meal-planning or errand running.
Doing laundry 5 days a week means you will likely always be re-tumbling something.
Running errands three days a week means you’re always spending extra time doing things like packing a baby bag or getting the stroller in the car.
Batch tasks wherever and whenever you can, always.
So get yourself a weekly planner – it can be digital or print – and block out your times for the week.
As soon as my youngest went down for his nap, I always blocked out a 15 minute power tidy-up before I sat down to work. I pretty much ran around the house as fast as I could and tidied as much as possible in 15 minutes.
It got my energy up and my adrenaline pumping and also left me with a clearer mind when I sat down to work. I wasn’t worried about the dishes that needed to be washed or the toys on the floor. It’s really quite freeing!
Working from Home | Stay Realistic
Having a time-blocking plan and schedule can be an absolute dream. You’ll especially feel it when you see the people around you start to respect it too. It’s pretty empowering!
But – and there’s always a freaking but – you still need to stay realistic or should I say, flexible, to a certain degree.
There will be days when babies are sick, days when technology goes wrong, and days where you’re just putting out fires all damn day.
Those days, however, will be few and far between and will leave you less stressed than usual because you know you have the right schedule waiting for you tomorrow.
You’ll also be putting less stress on yourself because you’ll be able to better judge the amount of work you can actually get done in a day.
Forget about that crappy feeling you always get at the end of the day because your to-do list had 35 things on that you couldn’t have possibly accomplished.
Ya, no thanks. Don’t forget, it’s all about the wins!
Remember that part about applesauce on the wall? It never happened again. When it’s time for lunch, we sit, we eat, we engage.
By the time my son was one, he was also used to having 45 minutes of quiet play with his toys while I prepared dinner. He knew it, he was used it and well, maybe I’m making this up, but I think he enjoyed it!
I promise – creating a time-blocking schedule will help you fend off the crazy and the guilt, and catapult that work/life balance you’ve been desperately searching for. I’d love to hear how this works for you!