I gave up my job 11 years ago to be my own boss, and it’s the best thing that I have done. It’s allowed my husband and I the freedom to work wherever we want the world, that’s one of the reasons why we decided to move to Valencia. We wanted the best of both worlds. To be in charge of our own work hours and to live a lifestyle that we’ve always wanted.
No more morning commutes, no need to buy a new wardrobe every few months to keep up with office styles. Yes, those are some of the benefits of being your own boss. But it can also be a pain in the ass.
There is isolation. Mustering the motivation to be productive. Separating home from work are some of the things that we have to struggle with on a daily basis. As much as I’d want to be a superwoman, I am not, so what do I do?
There are many articles out there on how to work from home efficiently. But what about work at home mums who also need to keep their sanity? How do we function as a mum, wife and keep the business going at the same time without losing our damn minds!?! Here are some tips and tricks, in keeping myself focused. So I can enjoy a productive and happy balance between running a business and family life.
Plan A Routine
Being productive doesn’t come without planning. Establishing a routine means that you have to stick to some rules. Here are some pointers that works for me:
List Every Damn Thing!
Planning ahead is the secret to productivity. When you have children, it’s important to plan your week ahead. From work tasks, appointments to mealtime plans. Sticking to a work and family plan makes sure that you know what to expect during the week.
The Early Bird Gets Some Peace & Quiet!
There’s something enjoyable about being the first person awake in the morning. Having the whole house to myself. For me that’s the bet time of the day, waking up after 6 am. I have time to have my coffee in peace, plan my day ahead and most of all enjoy the peace and quiet!
Kick Start Your Body
I’m the type of person who you can’t approach until I’ve had my morning coffee. But before indulging on a caffeine rush I start with drinking water infused with lemon juice. It’s a great way to detox and rehydrate your body. It also kicks start your metabolism. A great way to start, especially before you do your morning exercises.
Do Some Excercise Of Some Sort
Now, this is a personal choice. It’s either you like it, you don’t or you might be somewhere in between. I’m not an athletic person, and there’s nothing I hate more than running or being up and bouncy so early in the morning. But yoga suits me and it’s something that I love doing. If set aside 10 minutes in the morning to practice my breathing and stretches. I can feel energised and motivated, ready for the day ahead. I use an app called Yoga Studio. It has over 70 different preset programs of different lengths, purposes and intensities. You can also customise your own classes.
Create A Productive Workspace
Your home is a place where you relax and unwind. Because working from home it does not mean you have to compromise that. Create a space dedicated to your business, if you have a spare room then use that as your office. If you have limited space, find an innovative way to separate an area. For example, a corner in your living room or dining room. Place your working space away from where you relax, so you can switch off in the evening.
Get Some Decent Equipment
Be selfish, you are running a business. You need to make your working space as comfortable and as pleasant as possible. Invest in an iMac or a MacBook Pro, believe me, these machines are so worth it! I have been using mine since 2011 and have never had any problems. You will need a reliable machine to work on to avoid any disruptions.
Create A Nice Working Environment
Accessorise your space and make it pretty. Hang artwork, buy creative books for inspiration anything that makes you happy!
Don’t Get A Cheap Chair
Spending most of your time sitting down can pose back problems in the future. Make sure you invest on a good office chair. Don’t go for the pretty chairs, they’re not the most ergonomic. Look for adjustable seat depth and adequate lumbar support. Check out John Lewis Murray Ergonomic Chair for (£299). It’s recommended and it won’t break the bank.
Bring The Outside In
According to research studied at sciencedirect.com. The presence of plants in a working environment has its benefits. They can lower stress levels and reduce pollution levels. They’re also nice to look at. Spider plants, aloe plants and bamboo palms, have been recommended for office spaces to boost productivity.
Use Apps To Organise Your Life
Time is precious. From tracking your work hours to keeping your family organised. There are plenty of apps on the market and many of them are free. I have picked out the main apps that I use to make my life a lot easier!
Keep Up To Date With Your Taxes
Monzia has been developed in collaboration with the HMRC. It’s great if you’re a freelancer or self-employed. The app enables you to send and update your income, expenses and mileage records in real time.
Organise Your Family
Cozi is a free app that lets you manage your everyday life. It will keep track of everyone’s, schedules, activities and appointments. It can also manage and create to-do lists, so you can share them with family members.
Manage Your Kids Screen Time
I have been using QStudio for a while now. It’s a godsend when it comes to keeping track of my child’s screen time use. Qstudio is an easy to use web-based parental control software. Which allows you to monitor your kid’s activities in real time. It can set time limits, block apps, and inappropriate content.
Track Your Work Time
Harvest is a free and intuitive app. It has a very nice and user-friendly interface designed to track your work hours and expenses. You can also create invoices and can simplify your workflow. It works seamlessly with over 70 business applications that you might already use.
Put Yourself First
Working from home gives you the risk of not knowing when to stop. Get in a habit of telling yourself that you need to take a break once in a while. Staying at home can sometimes affect your productivity. There are many distractions, and it’s sometimes hard to separate home and work life. You keep going until you run out of fuel, and that’s when you’ll feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Spoil Yourself (And Don’t Feel Guilty About It!)
When I first started my business, I thought I had to do it all. After all, time is money. Even doing the weekly food shopping, spending time with the kids became a hindrance. I didn’t enjoy the things that normal people would usually do on their days off. By giving yourself time off to unwind and recharge, it will increase your creativity and productivity in the long run. and more importantly, beneficial for your mental health.
When your main aim is to get the job done in a set number of hours, it’s easy to put working goals before eating goals. It’s proven, that not eating well, such as skipping breakfast or lunch can affect concentration and productivity. Try and develop a habit of prepping your lunch for the week. Eat a balanced breakfast that will give you an energy boost until lunchtime.
Get Out Of The House
Working from home can sometimes feel that you’re in a bubble. You might have video conferences, or an occasional meet up with your friends. But nothing beats being around like-minded people. Coworking spaces have become more popular with the rise of freelancers in the past 10 years. Joining a coworking space is great for support and also gives you the chance to get out of the house.
Learn How To Say No
Back in the days when I first started out, I took every opportunity that passed my way. Until the day when home and work life finally got on top of me and my mental and physical health started to suffer. Learning to say no is better than signing up for something that you cannot manage. Be realistic, set your priorities and you won’t risk having a complete burnout!
So there you go, those are my tips on how I keep myself ‘fairly sane’ while balancing family life and homeworking. What works for you? Share your tip by leaving a comment below.