So, laundry is a real thing once you have a baby, am I right?! It feels like I basically spend 50% of my week doing laundry some times. With a full-time job and an adorable 8-month old who wants a lot of attention, keeping on task and getting things done can be a challenge. Today, I’m sharing my top 10 strategies for getting things accomplished without losing your mind when you work at home and have a family to take care of! (Although, I can’t guarantee you won’t feel like your brain is exploding some days…)
- Get dressed – This is something usually topping any list of strategies for working at home and I have found it is especially true for me. If I don’t put clothes on almost immediately, I end up being on a work call in my pajamas before I know it. It also helps me focus and prepare for the day.
- Write a To-Do List – If you are a list maker, great! If you aren’t, you may want to become one. With so many things going on, it is just way too easy to be distracted. So create lists and organize your tasks. I try to do certain chores on the same day every week so I get them done and spread them out.
- Create daily priorities– This goes hand-in-hand with the point above, but has been especially helpful for me as a second step in my list making process. Creating priorities helps me identify what I need to absolutely get done on a given day. As long as I get the things on my priority list done, then I am in good shape.
- Take “chores” breaks – Sometimes I just need to take a minute to step away from work. (In the office, I would go to the bathroom, grab some water/coffee and maybe chat with a friend.) Since I’m at home, this may involve starting a load of laundry, vacuuming, doing some dishes, or something less “productive” like Facebook.
- Share the responsibility – If you have the opportunity to parent with a partner who is available to help, be sure to share the responsibility! Remember, you are BOTH the parents so it is not all on you. Of course, some situations make this more challenging. If you can’t share the responsibility with a partner, but can get the help of a family member, that is great too! The idea is that you are not going to have all of the weight on your shoulders.
- Identify your “must do’s” and “must haves” – Before having our son, I held myself to a pretty high standard of what I was going to accomplish each day/week. Now, I still hold myself to a high standard, but I’ve had to make concessions. This means that I don’t get the dishes cleaned every night before bed, I don’t vacuum as often as I’d like, and I don’t pick things up as quickly as I’d like. That might not seem like a big concession to you, but I have had to really be willing to let some of these things go.
- Set boundaries – When you work from home, you never really “leave” work, so it can be really difficult to separate yourself from work. It is critical to set “office hours” for yourself. Of course, there will be some situations that cause you to break these hours, as it would in the real world too! For me, I try not to look at work until 7:00am, then turn things off around 5:30pm, and check in before bed just in case. While I try not to respond to emails and such on the weekends, I will usually take some time to catch up on projects if there’s time.
- Make time to get outside – Even if it is the winter, it is important to get out of the house. There have been more times than I would like to admit where I’ll get to Wednesday and my son and I haven’t left the house since going to church on Sunday. When you work from home and the weather isn’t great, it can be really difficult to get out! I’m looking forward to spring and warmer weather to at least get out on a walk. But you do need to be pretty intentional about not getting stuck inside.
- Create time for family – It can feel overwhelming to try and keep up with a job, all the tasks required to keep a household together, AND make time for family. But you have to make time for your family, especially if any of your kiddos are home. No matter how busy my day is, I try to make time to read, play, and snuggle my little guy as much as I can. Sometimes this is just a few moments before nap time, and sometimes I use my whole “lunch hour” to just hang out with him.
- Give yourself some grace – Most days, I wrap up my day with things still on my to-do list, or chores undone, or wishes that I had spent more time with my little man. But if I give myself some grace and recognize that I did my best, then I can go to sleep without guilt. It’s not easy. Mom guilt is a big challenge for me and for many moms. Giving yourself lots and lots of grace will help you thrive in motherhood (and in life really!).
What are your tips for keeping focused and getting things accomplished in the midst of the busyness of life?