Working from home is something a lot of people envy, and for good reasons. This type of work environment allows us to maximise flexibility and tend to other needs (like kids and household duties) all the while still being a productive and contributing member to society.
Here’s the problem: working from home isn’t easy.
As those of us who do this on a daily basis know, working from home is lonely. It’s distracting. It can be downright disengaging if the environment and, more importantly, if the mindset isn’t right.
So how do you develop a work from home mindset to secure your success?
Set your alarm
This is especially true if you have an open-ended job where you can work at any time during the day.
Don’t leave your opportunity to work to chance. Plot out a schedule based on your work tasks and stick to it. If you have to get up at 5:00 am one day to get a chunk of work done so that you can also partake in a 9:00 am field trip at your child’s school, so be it. Just make sure you set that alarm.
Take breaks at designated times
This may seem to be counter-productive, but you really need to take your breaks and, perhaps more importantly, at scheduled times.
When and for how long will depend largely on personal preference and sometimes a particular day. Some may prefer to work for two solid hours and then enjoy a 20-minute break, while others may work better in 30-minute snippets with a five to seven social media interlude in between.
The important part is to make sure that you disengage entirely from your work so that you can return to your job ready and refreshed.
Reward your good behaviour
Bribes work, and they especially work when you are footsteps away from the reward.
Let’s say one of your favourite series has just been added to the Netflix roster. Rather than go and binge watch, save episodes as rewards for work well done. Just worked a couple of hours? Treat yourself to an episode and then get back to it.
Do what you can without kids around
A small voice asking for her third snack of the afternoon can cost you an hour of valuable work production time.
The fewer distractions you have when at work, the better. Optimise times like while the kids are at school, before they wake up, and on evenings when your partner can help out. Make it possible to work in between hour-long swims and taekwondo lessons by investing in a tablet or a laptop. The upfront cost is well worth it.
Dress for the job
If you sit around in unkempt sweats or PJs all day, then your work is probably going to reflect that.
Of course, Peachymama has loads of stylish work-appropriate attire for mums who are heading to the office or working from home. Make sure you dress nicely (think of how you would like to look for a Skype call with a client) as this will help keep you in the right frame of mind.
As convenient as it may be, working from home also means less validation from managers and co-workers that you’re doing a good job.
Trust that you know what it takes to do a good job, and keep on doing it. If you aren’t sure if working from home is for you, or if you feel your spirit breaking, get in touch with someone at work or join one of the many working from home mum groups on social media for further support.
Working from home isn’t always all it’s made out to be. But when done successfully, you will have that enviable work-life balance that will turn those without this awesome opportunity green with jealousy.