A friend who is newly working from home after the birth of her daughter, recently asked me for my tips on balancing my workday while being actively present for my kids.
My first thought was “I have no idea!”
But really, I have been an entrepreneur for a long time and have a passion for organization, time management and productivity (as long as you don’t look in my sock drawer or catch me during a Gossip Girls marathon). I am also an avid student of business development and productivity gurus such as David Allen, Julie Morgenstern, Brendon Burchard, Michael Port and my newest idol, Marie Forleo.
I am no stranger to setting my own work schedule and trying to maintain work/life balance however; becoming a mom changed everything. It changed the way I am able to work, my priorities, and my outlook on productivity. I am now a “Mom in the Middle” (not a SAHM, not a full time working mom) and it is a completely new ball game.
If you have been keeping up with my Quest For A Home Office, you know that I have been struggling to find a dedicated workspace in my tiny house now that all the spare bedrooms are filled with babies! If you have missed the stages of my quest to create a home office with no space and with no budget, you can read about them here and here.
Well, I am happy to report…
My Quest for a Home Office is complete!
I have to say, I am beyond pleased. I love my new little nook, I love having a workstation to call home and it actual inspired me to work more and made working easier to do.
So, my first bits of advice to my friend and my fellow “Moms in the Middle”, is all about WHERE you work.
1. Have a dedicated Work-From-Home Space
The biggest thing I have learned from setting up my little home office space is how much FASTER I can get to work. Before, when working from my dinning room table, it would take me many minutes of my precious work time to get set up; clear off the lunch dishes, get my laptop, find the cord, open my notebook, get up to go find a pen or a post-it note, get back up to go print something, realize I had put my notebook in a left over jam spill…you get the picture.
With a permanent space, I can almost instantly start working the moment I have time. I leave my computer at my desk plugged in (which also means the battery is more likely to be fully charged if I do take it somewhere). I have a dry erase board and a bulletin for to-do lists, ideas and schedules and all my office supplies are with in arms reach at all times (and the fabric I used to cover the bulletin board is totally fun and inspiring too!). AND the printer is no longer relegated to the garage, which means I can hit print, and keep right on working.
I realized I didn’t need a lot of space to have a space.
Even if you don’t have a dedicated space, try to keep all of your work items in one space; a drawer in the dinning room buffet or even a basket that you can load everything back into to put it away, but have everything there when you need it. Invest in a great basket, or a beautiful notebook to inspire your work no matter where you spread out.
2. Be ready to LEAVE home to work
As much as I LOVE my new space, I still like to get out of the house to a local café if I am able. Much like above, I don’t want to waste any time getting ready to leave, so I created a ‘mobile office’ bag that is always packed. In this bag I keep duplicates of all the office supplies I regularly use (post-its, pens, highlighters etc), I also have an extra set of headphones and phone charger. So, all I have to add when I am ready to leave is my computer and my notebook.
Are you a “Mom in the Middle?” What are your tips for making your home work space work for you?
And stay tuned for my next post in my Moms in the Middle series when we talk about multitasking…should you or shouldn’t you??