5 Tips for Working from Home

by Tina @ Life Without Pink on September 21, 2011

{Photo Credit}

“Oh so you work from home, wow that must be nice.”

That’s the response I often get.

Have you ever tried to work from home with two kids and no sitter? Yes, it’s not so easy. It’s like having your boss with you 24/7 barking out orders all day long.

I know that I am very fortunate to work from home. I get to spend all day with my kiddos, be there when they get home from school, run errands when I want, participate as a room mom and cuddle on the couch.

But it’s not always easy, actually it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had.

I have to get up early, stay up late, sneak in business calls, deal with tantrums and I often feel guilty no matter what I do.

After a crazy summer and my oldest starting school a few weeks ago, I decided I need to get on a better schedule.

Yes I know a schedule and kids really don’t mix, but here are a few things I’ve been trying and it’s really helping me stay organized {and sane}:

Go To Bed Early, Wake Up Early

This one is a struggle for me. I usually stay up until mid-night working, but then I find in the morning I can’t get moving. The last few nights, I’ll put the kids to bed and work for about two hours. Then I’ll head to bed and read or catch up on some of my favorite shows before calling it a night.

When my hubby leaves for work in the morning around 6:30am, I have him wake me up and I head right to the shower. That’s another key point. For some reason, if I don’t get up and shower right away my day is completely off. Getting a shower and dressed before the kids wake up is HUGE!

Don’t Forget About the Kids

When working from home, it’s so easy to not be able to “shut it off”. I admit there are some weeks where I am so busy I feel like I do nothing but work. It’s easy to get sucked in and you need to be really disciplined to not let that happen.

In the mornings, after we’ve had our breakfast and I’ve had my two cups of coffee, the boys and I will go outside, play a game, read a book or do some school work. It’s my time to make sure I concentrate on them.

Then when my oldest gets home from school again I try and “shut down work” and concentrate on them until bedtime. They are only going to be little for so long.

Set a Timer

After my oldest gets on the bus, it’s just me and my two year old. I set a timer and give myself small tasks.

15 minutes: fold clothes

10 minutes: catch up on email

20 minutes: read books

25 minutes: phone conference

If I don’t do this, before I know it two hours have passed while checking emails.

When I give myself small tasks to concentrate on, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

Go Out

Working from home means you can go quite stir crazy at times. I try to leave the house at least every other day even if it’s to run a few small errands. I feel like an actual human again when I can escape the house for a little bit.

It helps me get away from the computer and clear my head while getting a few things crossed off my list.

Remember You

Between the house, errands, kids, menu planning, school, activities and work….I find there is little time for “me”. A few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty down about myself. I realized I haven’t been putting myself first and after awhile it started wearing on me.

Now I’m trying to exercise more even if it’s 20 minutes in the morning. I also try and sneak out of the house once or twice a month at night to do something for me whether it’s to go shopping, get my hair cut or just drive in silence. It really makes me feel good to do something for myself.

If you work from home, what are some of your tips for staying organized and balancing everything?

Meet Tina @ Life Without Pink

2013 Family Expert for P&G's Have You Tried This Yet? Trend Trio, Tina is a mom of two active boys and the founder of Life Without Pink, a personal lifestyle blog focused on parenting, and raising boys to give other parents inspiration. You’ll find everything from cool gadgets, daily adventures, to personal stories and tips for raising boys. She's also the co-founder of Girls' Lunch Out {GLO}, a social media network that hosts events for women in social media and the Influencer Strategist for Socialstars by Crowdtap.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica September 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I think these are all great tips – and we should do whatever it takes for us to get through the day!

I love your idea about setting a timer though. I sit at my computer all.day.loooooong, so it’s not like there are different tasks outside of that I end up focusing on, but it would be nice to give myself ‘x’ amount of time to work on one project, then move along. I’d probably become even more efficient!
Jessica´s last blog post ..New Facebook Group: Reasons To Be Happy


2 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Oh and I should mention I try to shut down FB and Twitter….total time suckers!


3 Galit Breen September 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

These are really great tips, Tina! I, too, am trying to find my stride in this. I tend to do okay for awhile and then stray off course, feel overwhelmed and then start all over again. Oy. :)
Galit Breen´s last blog post ..Glee Starts Tonight & I’m Celebrating Scary Mommy Style!


4 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Oh me too…it’s hard but I try to at least stick to little tasks every day. Some days my kids wake up early like today at 5am…and I just barely made it through the day!


5 Devan @ Accustomed Chaos September 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Such good tips Tina & so what i need to read right now. I have the three kids and no babysitter & trying to work can be difficult at times. It’s a bit easier now because the older two have school part time but then Babe E wants all my attention.

Im going to have to start using that timer idea!
Devan @ Accustomed Chaos´s last blog post ..Wordless: And Then There Was One


6 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm

It’s so hard…today I had two conference calls and a twitter party I ran…thankfully my little one was good but he kept saying “cuddle with me” and I felt horrible. But I have to remember I’m with them all day :)


7 Jessica September 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Such great tips, Tina. I am finally getting on more of a schedule and I feel like I am getting so much more done and not half-paying attention to everything. So hard to find balance.
Jessica´s last blog post ..It’s Not Permanent


8 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm

It really is…I think there is no such thing as balance. The days I can stick to a schedule I feel so much better and not so stressed.


9 Kelly September 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Great tips Tina! I find the key for me is finding balance. A schedule is a must for me, and so is some time outside the house. Working from the coffee shop on evenings when my hubby can be ‘on duty’ helps tremendously.

Like you said I love what I do, but it’s not always easy to shut off, and remember to take time for yourself and your kiddos.


10 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Oh that’s a great idea to work at a coffee shop or something local. My hubby’s schedule is so unpredictable but I am trying to get out at least once a week. It really helps clear my head!


11 erica September 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I would add to set up a real home office- preferably with a door and away from the kids!
Great tips!
erica´s last blog post ..5 Tips for the Perfect Bra Fit


12 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Yep I have that…somehow they always find me!


13 Tania Elfersy September 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Thanks for these tips. I wish I had some of my own to add but I am still trying out different routines to maximize my productivity. . . and balance. I hope that integrating some of your ideas might help :-)
Tania Elfersy´s last blog post ..Now I Am a Mother


14 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

It’s always a work in progress and some days are better than others. I try to stick to some type of schedule but we all know schedules with kids are bound to be broken :)


15 Jessica Gardner September 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm

These are great tips! I worked from home with only one boy – and it was so hard! I was annoyed when people would say I aws lucky! Its’ really hard! especially to balance everything and feel like you pay enough attention to the boys! You do so much! Great job and great tips!
Jessica Gardner´s last blog post ..God Provides


16 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Yes exactly! It’s nice to be home and I won’t trade it for the world, but it’s so much harder to find that balance and juggle everything.


17 Courtney @ The Mommy Matters September 21, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I think these are GREAT tips. I’m having to find a sense of balance as well now that I work from home. Like you mentioned, I think one of the most important things is to find “me” time. A lot of people tend to think that being home means that you get all of the “me” time you want, when I think in actuality it’s quite the opposite. GREAT tips!!
Courtney @ The Mommy Matters´s last blog post ..Rockabye Baby…


18 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Oh I know, me time what’s that? I can’t pee in peace :) I am really trying to make more time for myself even if it’s take a drive just to get out.


19 Ann September 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

A schedule is a great idea! I hope it works out. I do it when I’m cleaning! 45 minutes of cleaning….15 minutes of reading….clean, read, clean, read! It makes me happier when all the cleaning is done and I’m finishing my story!
Ann´s last blog post ..Asparagus Soup


20 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Oh great idea!


21 Barbara September 22, 2011 at 8:05 am

All great tips! I’m lucky to have a job that lets me telecommute throughout the month and I know that I get too caught up in other things to work! I love the timer idea to get me focused!
Barbara´s last blog post ..F is for Gym


22 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm

The timer idea is key…really does help!


23 Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} September 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Awesome list. And I agree – the hardest job I’ve ever had… and the BESTEST! :-)

I’m all about the getting up early and putting in an hour or two before the rest of the house wakes up. It gets the day started off on the right foot. Of course, getting to bed early is essential to maintaining that schedule.
Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife}´s last blog post ..Vaccines :: To Vax or Not To Vax


24 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

You are so right! I am trying to get to bed earlier…I was finding that I was getting crabby and exhausted. It really does help.


25 angela September 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

These are great tips. I especially like the timer one. I do the same thing with e-mail (or other social media sites.) I have to remind myself to focus and not get sucked into things or my time flies by without accomplishing much of anything.
angela´s last blog post ..Unsupervised, A Short Play


26 Life Without Pink September 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Oh that’s always the challenge. I have to turn FB and twitter off or I get sucked in!


27 blueviolet September 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I really try to write down time blocks for things too. I have a tendency to hop from one thing to another and then I’ve spent a lot of time doing very little of anything. I admire you for putting your kids first. That’s something you will never regret!


28 Life Without Pink September 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

You are so right. It’s hard when you have deadlines and some days are more difficult than others. But the last few weeks I’ve been really trying to not work as much during the day and spend time with them. No matter what it’s hard.


29 Melissa {momcomm} September 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm

If it tells you something about my busyness, I’ve had this post open for THREE days and am just now commenting. HA.

I feel your pain and your tips are awesome! I LOVE setting a timer. I do this all the time– seriously it’s the only way I can concentrate half the time.

You’re doing an awesome job, girl!
Melissa {momcomm}´s last blog post ..What’s Been Your Proudest Moment in Blogging?


30 Life Without Pink September 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Haha I feel you! My days are so busy that I dont have time to read as many posts as I would like which bums me out…but I just try to do the best I can and not put pressure on myself :)


31 Shell September 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

It is so hard. Drink wine? That seemed to help me….
Shell´s last blog post ..Things They Can’t Say: The Mommy Therapy


32 Life Without Pink September 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Oh yes wine always helps!


33 Dr. G September 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I really like the “set a timer” idea. I use it for my boys for screen time, I guess it is time to start using it for my own! Thanks for the light heart and great suggestions.


34 Life Without Pink September 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Yes timer really does help and I should mention closing down everything else {FB, twitter}, I get distracted too easily!


35 Glamamom September 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm

These are great. Especially taking breaks and getting out. Working at home can be very isolating so you have to make an effort!
Glamamom´s last blog post ..MAMA’S GOT A BRAND NEW BRA


36 Life Without Pink September 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm

You are so right…it’s easy to get stuck in a rut!


37 Charlotte September 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I used to be one of the ones to say “that must be nice,” (don’t hate me) but then I saw some of my mommy friends in action and realized that juggling working from home with little ones is NOT as easy as it sounds. I totally ate my words after that and would NEVER say it again. I give you mad credit for accomplishing it all and think this is a really helpful list for mothers dealing with the same.
Charlotte´s last blog post ..Vlog: Easy Canvas Prints Giveaway Winner!


38 Life Without Pink September 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I dont mind when people say it {they don’t know until they’ve done it} but what bothers me is when people think you dont do anything but sit around…if only I could just sit around :) You are so thoughtful!


39 Naoni McCurdy July 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Oh wow yep it totally sounds familiar. I’ve been working from home for 5 years and in that time increased my little family from 2 kids to 4 kids. And one w/some disabilities that take extra time. Well in Jan of this year I went back to work at the office. AND YUCK! It has been awful! While I’m very grateful to have a more steady income it is NOT what my family needs. I’ve really tried to push the online world but recently I’ve decided that I’m going to go out on my own (CPA / accounting) and get myself back in the home! My kids need me and even though everything you described is exactly true, And yep it really is harder the benefits far out weigh the difficulities. I’ve decided I needed to go back to an office to realize that. Too bad I didn’t catch on sooner! Thanks for the post!! When I get back home it will really help!


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