There have been a number of times that I have worked from home (or out-based) throughout my career lifespan. I guess you could say I was the “cool” work from home person before working from home was actually cool.
All of my previous experience working from home was before I had children. Now that I do have children and am working from home again, I’ve had to re-learn how to set myself up for success in a work from home setting.
So here are a few of the lessons I have learned in the past year…
- No, I can’t just toss in a load of laundry or throw something in for dinner. When I didn’t have kids at home, I could pause to do some other things and then catch up later on work. Well, there is no ‘later’ when there are kids as they take up that time. Work needs to be done when I schedule work time.
- My home office needs to stay a home office and not morph into the homework, craft, and game room. At first, I would let the kids “work” next to me in my office. Then, their stuff started to take over my office and began to impact my work time. I had to spend time cleaning in order to get to my work and that is definitely not productive.
- My schedule needs to be so much more strict than it was in the past. It was easier to shift from work brain to home brain when they were in two different locations. When I worked from home in the past, I tended to let other people decide when we would meet and could adjust my schedule. However, now I have children that need my attention and I can’t let my work take over their time. Now, I have blocks of time when I can take meetings and I stick to that.
- My family and ‘me’ time have to be protected even more than my work time. Before I had children, I would continue to work as long as my attention held. When I first came back to working at home, I stuck to the same pattern. However, my children quickly pointed out that I was working all the time. My family time needs to be protected, so when the kids come home from school, I turn off the computer and shut the office door.
Working from home is still something I enjoy, especially since I can work so much better with my own internal focus times and family needs. For me, though it’s still important that I keep some of the same work habits as I had in the office. “Leaving the office” is even more important that what I do in the office now.