How To Survive (And Thrive) When Working From Home
- Parents Only
Working from home? Here are productivity hacks, day structuring advice, outsourcing info, and just about everything you need to know to survive (and thrive!) when WFH from the team at Mums & Co.
Working from home (WFH) sure can be the dream - you get to laze around in your pyjamas, work when you want, watch TV when you want, and generally enjoy the convenience of no commute and a fully-stocked fridge.
However, those of us that do work from home know that the reality can be quite different, especially if you have little ones around!
For mums (or dads) who want to not only survive, but thrive, when working from home, we’ve put together our best tips to make sure your WFH experience is as enjoyable and productive as it can be!
Structuring Your Day
If you’ve got your little one at home, it’s fair to say that even without trying to fit work in, your day will look nothing like it used to! If you structure your day right, though, it’s possible to maximise whatever hours you have to get more done. Here’s a couple of things you should try:
Chunk Your Time
Many WFH parents don’t work anything that even resembles 9-5. In fact, many work either in the morning (before their little ones get up), or at night after they’ve gone to bed, for example, they’ll work from, say 4am - 7am or 7:30pm - 11pm.
Whichever you choose, try to ‘chunk’ your time - you’ll be far more productive if you have a couple of hours to do something, rather than trying to squeeze in 20 minutes here and 10 minutes there.
Do ‘Nap Length’ Tasks
Working when your little one is asleep can be productive, however, try to match the task you want to do to your baby’s (expected!) nap time.
For example, if your baby sleeps for a good two hours, choose a longer task to do in that time. Alternatively, if they only sleep for 20 minutes at a time, try to pick an easy job to do so you don’t just get stuck into something when they wake up again!
It’s an understatement to say that as a parent you have less time (try, less than half the time you used to have, if even that!). This means you’ll need to make the most of what you’ve got. Here’s how you can do that:
Avoid ‘Double Dipping’
Task ‘double dipping’ is where you start something, and then you need to start that something again later, meaning the task is basically twice the effort it should be. A good example of this is emails. There’s no point scanning them and reading them, only to not reply to them for days, as inevitably you’ll need to do the same again when you actually reply.
Focus on trying to do things only once, for example, if you need to start a task (even as small as reading and replying to emails) do it all in one hit.
Know When To Walk Away
Every parent knows that at some point, you’ll be so tired/sick/over it that you’ll feel like breaking. Be kind to yourself - when you feel you’re nearing this point, don’t try and be a hero and keep working.
Working when you’re incredibly tired can be unproductive anyway, as you usually make mistakes. If you’re really not feeling it, know that it’s ok to stop and resume later.
Systemise And Schedule
There’s a system for everything these days, whether it be your accounting or your social media posts. Thankfully, a lot of these systems allow you to ‘schedule’ what you’re doing, so it can look like you’re sending an email or posting to your business Facebook page, but you’re really at the cafe down the road enjoying some ‘me’ time!
Systemising, and especially scheduling, can help you manage your work and be ‘active’ in normal work hours, even when you’re out doing other things!
Invest In Care (If You Want To)
Being a full-time carer and trying to work at the same time is a huge job - and hats go off to those that can do it. However, looking after children is already (more than) a full-time job, so if you feel like you need a bit more time to work, invest in care for your children.
In most cases, you’ll be able to earn back whatever you spend on this, and even if you don’t in the short term, you most certainly will in the long run!
Take A ‘Time Is Money’ Approach
When you’re setting up a business or even operating a business, there’s always something else you could be doing - your time is money, so to speak. When you’re working from home, try to take this approach to become more productive - for example, what is the ‘cost’ of you doing something yourself, as opposed to outsourcing?
Focus on business growth tasks
As you’ll have an infinite number of tasks to do, try to focus on ‘business growth’ tasks - i.e. tasks that will help your business bring in revenue. For example, marketing would be a business growth task, whereas admin unfortunately would not.
Outsource The Rest…
For tasks that don’t directly help your business grow, or those where you may not have the specialist skills (and it would take you too long to learn them), consider outsourcing. The freelance economy is booming, and it’s possible to get someone to remotely do just about anything these days!
Outsourcing, mind you, need not be limited to your business tasks. If outsourcing domestic tasks, such as house cleaning or shopping, frees you up to work more on your business, then consider outsourcing those too!
And whatever you do, make sure you stop and take a moment to appreciate your (relative) freedom. Working from home is a privilege that many people don’t have, so be sure to enjoy it!
Want more great tips on how to balance the ‘juggle’? Join Mums & Co (it’s free for now!) Mums & Co is here to help women in business thrive - from a great articles, perks, events and access to useful resources such as emergency childcare. Join our tribe today!
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