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I’ve worked from home for more than 6 years, but it wasn’t until this summer that I started working full time…from home…with two small kids. Oh, and it was summer, so school was out, and everyone wanted to go to the park. All.The.Time.
Which meant I was faced with something I’d never encountered before…the desperate need for a work-life balance.
But, because I don’t work in an office setting (more on that in a minute), I didn’t think I could possibly manage. Turns out, I was right.
When I was brainstorming ideas to improve work-life balance, this was top on my list.
When I started in June, I thought I could do it all…and honestly, I couldn’t. I literally made myself sick trying to work my 40 hours, manage my blog, my health coaching business, my social media business and my network marketing ventures. So I took a good hard look at where I really needed to focus my time…and found that hiring a cleaning service once a month and training my own virtual assistant would save me so much time (and energy).
Find a Good Mother’s Helper
For me, that meant talking to my fellow derby girls. I found out one of my friends needed a part time job. And I could help! She now comes to my house 3 days a week to watch the kids so that I can get on my calls on time, and without interruption.
I schedule breaks into my day with something called “time blocking”. Basically, I schedule blocks of 50 minutes where I work my tail off, and then I get a 10-minute break each hour to recharge.
Taking breaks allows you to read a book, play a quick game of Spot It Jr. with your kids or take a walk around the neighborhood.
Time blocking also allows you to get rid of some of the guilt, you know that feeling when you have to tell your babies “no, mommy’s working right now.” Instead, you can say “I can’t right now, but I can in just 15 minutes!”
If you don’t use one already, an online time clock can help you be more aware of just how much time you’re spending at work. And, if you have employees, it’s a great way to keep track of everyone’s hours in one place.
A Sacred Hour
We get up at 7:00 a.m. It’s a perk, I’ll admit. But. I refuse to start work before 8:00 a.m. This allows me time to get the boys ready, feed everyone breakfast, and make sure lunches are packed. It also allows me to get a cup of coffee or tea and breathe before I dive in.
Create a Home Office
Before my business blew up, I had a simple desk in our dining room. While it worked, it was in the “hub” of our 3 bedroom house. I finally had enough and made a big move. Smalls had been asking to share a room with The Baby for over a year. So, I made it happen.
The nursery is now my office, and it’s glorious. The rules in my office are different from the rest of the house, and the boys respect that. They stay out of my things and know that they are allowed to red quietly or watch their tablet.
Use a Calendar
I keep a planner to help me keep track of all of my meetings, appointments, and the boys’ playdates. I then put all of the boy’s items and my “quiet” times (meetings, client calls, etc.) on our family calendar. That way, Ish knows when I am getting a sitter when the cleaning service is coming, and how he can help.
It also helps me keep everything straight.
So. If you work from home, you can have work-life balance, but you’ll definitely have to work at it!
What is your biggest struggle with work-life balance?