Okay – so you might sweat a little. Working from home and taking care of the home at the same time can take time and work. And sweat. I’m a mom. I work from home. I can tell you from experience that a routine is crucial.
If you work outside of the home, you have a routine. You have things you do to get ready to leave. You have things you do at work. You probably take lunch at a certain time. You come home and probably have more things you do before you go to bed.
If you’re a homemaker, you probably have at least a little bit of a routine. I know it can be hard when the kids are extremely little (but it is also doable). You get up around a certain time. You have certain things you do in the morning. You have certain things you do in the afternoon. You have certain things you do in the evening.
Working from Home Requires a Routine
There’s this prevailing thought about working from home that is, at best, moderately misleading. That thought is how working from home is like a fairy tale. You’re around your sweet little darlings (if they aren’t school age). You can take them to playgroups. You can attend every practice. You’ll have this squeaky clean house. And somehow, you’ll also have this blissful, stress-free work environment. Everything will be happy, happy, happy.
And it’s just not true. If you want peace for your work environment, you have to create a routine to have it. The thing about working from home, and I’ve said this over and over again here and on the podcast, it’s always bring your kid to work day. Even if you’re sick. Even if they’re sick. And if you don’t work on client projects, you’re losing money. If you’re working on client projects, you could feel guilt that you’re not spending time with your children or doing things around the house.
The only way you can have the best of both worlds is to create a routine. And, yes, I know…many of you will have to learn the hard way.
Creating a Routine…the Easy Way
So, I spent all last week sick. I was sick on my birthday. I was sick on my anniversary. I was sick all the way through yesterday. I spent a week sick…and working. Without a specific routine (that I reintroduced to my life) that I used when my older boys were little, my house would look like a fucking disaster. I dunno about you, while I can function in a bit of disorganization (I am often referred to as an organized messy – I may have different piles, but I know what’s in them). I prefer “a place for everything and everything in its place,” but I am realistic.
So, how did I create my routine the easy way? Well, as I said, I went back to one that I customized for myself around 15 years ago. The good news for you is that it’s available online. Free. There’s also an app and a free licensing key for the app.
Now, some of you may know about this site…and you may have just thought it couldn’t work for you, but try it for a week. You’ll see improvement. You don’t even have to get everything done every day (I do try to complete everything on my list). I don’t use a paper to-do list for it anymore since app came out. For those of you who don’t know, just try it. FlyLady.net. Yes, really. The app, available for both Android and Apple, is called FlyHelper. Download the app and install it. Then, download and run the licensing key. Yes, it’s legal. The app creator put the licensing key out for free themselves.
You’ll have a morning routine, an afternoon routine, and an evening routine. Your home is broken into areas known as Zones. Each week, you put most of your focus on that area of the house. You also spend between 2 – 15 minutes each day decluttering and putting things away. You also spend an hour each week doing the necessities: vacuuming (I prefer to vacuum more than once a week), dusting, mopping, and the likes. You can use the app to edit your to-do list or change up your routine (add or remove things). Each Zone even tells you what you should do each week to clean that zone.
Uhh…I would say avoid the email list. At all costs. You’ll get inundated with reminders. Just stick with the app or visit her website every day. If you prefer paper, there’s a walk through on how to set-up a paper routine.
The Key? Follow-Through
Something else I’ve mentioned a million times. It doesn’t matter if it’s success in business or success around the home…you must follow-through. And that’s where people fuck up. You must put in the effort. Every day. You must. Don’t think of it as, “I work from home so everyone else should pitch in.” Yeah, they should. They live there, too. I won’t hit you over the head with my opinion on this…because I’ve lived with someone who was a total twat and felt entitled to sit around and do nothing…but who made that choice?
Think about it this way: these are all things you’d have to do if you were single. Unless you hire a maid (and more power to you if you wanna do that – it’s an ultimate goal of mine).
Because a system like FLY Lady breaks things down into smaller chunks, it is MUCH easier to get your family involved because you can tell them exactly what you need done. And you’re leading by example.
Again, though, it won’t work if you don’t follow through every day.
Work It Around Your Schedule
I usually get up around 5:30 or 6 am and work a little. When the littlest wakes up for school, I make his breakfast and start my morning routine. Then, I work. It usually takes me until 2 or 3 to finish my work. Then, depending on the time, I will either do the afternoon routine plus a few things on the Zone list or I will go pick up the little one from school. What you’ll notice about the evening routine is that it’s designed around picking up the kitchen and taking care of yourself. So, the evening routine is simple.
The whole thing is simple…and there’s power in simplicity because it makes it easier to work it around your life. So, try it for a week (her website says try it for 30 days and she even gives you baby steps). You’ll notice that you feel more in control over your life.