It is no secret that the number of women who work from home is on the rise. And honestly, that doesn't surprise me.
There are so many benefits to working from home, especially if you are a wife or a mother. The flexibility of creating your own schedule, the ability to do something you're passionate about, and the added bonus of making money while doing it are all pretty hard to beat.
However, working from home has its downsides as well (again, especially if you are a wife or mother).
The lines between work and home life are so easily blurred and it can be difficult to set boundaries for yourself and keep your priorities in their place.
You, like me, might be wondering: Is it even possible to work from home and keep a home? Can I do both fully, or will I always have to sacrifice one for the other?
When I first started working from home about a year ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I had just started a business (I had no idea how to do that either), I was trying to balance a stressful part-time job, attempting to build friendships and figure out life in Idaho, dealing with some health issues, and I had my responsibilities at home to take care of while my husband worked hard out on the farm.
I was confused, exhausted, unmotivated, and seriously stressed out.
I felt like my life consisted of me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, not getting anything done.
I know, I know, that's a bad mental picture. But I have to be real with you. It was a rough time.
If you've ever been there, or maybe you are there, here's a hug just for you. Hang in there, friend. And keep reading!
Thankfully, things are going SO much better now.
I feel motivated, inspired, joyful, and excited. I have a growing, successful business, a tidy home, and a happy husband.
Disclaimer: No, I do NOT have it all together. I'm a real human being, just like you. I still make mistakes, I still have bad days, and sometimes I take naps instead of finishing my work. That's life. It's not perfect, I'm not perfect, but finding the right balance for me and my little family has made all the difference.
All that being said, I have learned quite a bit since starting on this journey (all of it through trial and error), and I don't think it's right to keep it all to myself.
So, here are 15 of my favorite, can't-function-without ways to work from home, keep my home, and do both to the fullest.
1. Trial and error. One of the best ways to find out what works best for you is to try new things. If you try something and it doesn't work, trash that idea and move on. When you do find something that works, keep it around!
2. Give yourself some grace. You're going to mess up. Unexpected things are going to happen. But you know what? That's totally okay. Take a deep breath, shut down your computer or leave the dirty dishes in the sink, and start fresh tomorrow.
3. Find what keeps you motivated and use it. Me? I love a good to-do list, a mellow playlist, and a cup of coffee or tea. Whatever gets you going and keeps you going, find it and make it a part of your daily routine.
4. Create a schedule and stick to it. I cannot tell you how life-changing this has been for me. Setting aside hours or days specifically for your work and for homey things is so, SO important. Make a list of the most important things you need to get done for work, and for your home and family, and plug those into the time you have available. Don't forget to keep these things non-negotiable, otherwise they probably won't get done. (A post about my personal work/home schedule is coming soon!)
5. Create goals. Make them big and wild, but doable. Write out all the steps it will take you to get there and track your progress. You will be amazed at how motivating this can be!
6. Create a work space that's ONLY for work. It can be an entire room, or just a desk, but make sure it is strictly for work related tasks and items. It really helps if you create "clocking in" and "clocking out" routines that will tell your brain when it's time to work and when it's time to stop (think opening the door and turning on the light, opening your planner, shutting down your computer, or plugging in your phone to charge for the night).
7. Take breaks. If you don't let yourself take breaks from work, you will experience burnout. Schedule in breaks throughout the day. Unplug and read a book in the evening. Play with your kids. Go for a walk. Take a week or two of vacation. Do what makes you feel rested and rejuvenated!
8. Get out of the house. If you work from home, you are at home A LOT, and that is not necessarily a good thing. Make a point to leave the house at least two times a week. Run errands, attend a bible study, meet a friend for lunch or a playdate, or work from your favorite coffee shop. It will do wonders for your motivation!
9. Learn and stay inspired. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Talk to people that are passionate about the same things you are. Make time to stretch your mind and think outside the box.
10. Find an accountability partner. There are times when we all need a little push. Find someone who is willing to encourage you, but also to give you a kick in the pants when you need it.
11. Hire childcare. Now obviously I don't have any little ones yet, but I have been told that hiring a babysitter, even if it's just for one afternoon a week, can be a huge game-changer. Having a few hours, or more, of uninterrupted work time can make a big dent in your to-do list.
12. Be present. Whether you are working, doing laundry, cuddling your kids, making dinner, or talking with your husband, be all there. Don't let work crowd out your family time or keep your from keeping your home. And, on the flip side of that, if you truly want to have a successful business, don't get distracted by your homemaking responsibilities during work hours. Create your schedule, find a balance, and keep your priorities in line.
13. Take care of yourself. Pray and read your bible. Eat healthy food. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. And please, please, PLEASE, get enough sleep. If your body and soul are well-fed and nourished, you will have more than enough energy, motivation, and clarity of mind to accomplish your tasks.
14. Say no when you need to. So many people think that if you work from home, you can talk on the phone for hours on end, or that you have all the free time a girl could want. I don't know who started that thought, but that's not real life! It is so important to set boundaries for yourself and for your friends and family. For example, you wouldn't answer your personal phone on the clock if you had a desk job, so don't answer it during your work hours at home. Gently remind yourself (and others if you need to) that just because you work from home does not mean you are available 24/7.
15. Say yes when you want to. On the other hand, don't be afraid to say yes to things you want to do! Make time to get together with friends. Make time to call a family member. Make time to go on a spontaneous trip. One of my favorite things about being my own boss is the flexibility of my schedule. Yes, setting boundaries is important, but it is equally important to enjoy your life.
I hope you found this list helpful, friend. If you work from home, I'd love to hear your tips and advice! Or, if you are struggling along and you have questions, comment below and we can encourage each other.