This one is for all of my work-from-home friends, and especially for the ones with babies! While working from home is the ultimate dream for many people, there’s a challenging side that many people neglect to see. It definitely is my dream come true, but for me, working from home has taken a lot of discipline and a lot of effort. And again, while this post is geared towards other mamas, the challenges that come with working from home are certainly not exclusive to mamas.
For all of the work-from-home mamas out there, you know that babies can be entirely unpredictable at times. Even the most routined babies can be inconsistent, so it can create a great deal of challenges when working from home. But if we take a step back, and eliminate children from the picture, the challenges are present before we add the kiddos to the equation.
The nature of working from home is one in which there are numerous distractions as well as a lack of accountability in the midst of those distractions. Whether it’s the laundry, the dinner you needed to start an hour ago, the buzzing Facebook notifications, or even the ability to work in your jammies and be more relaxed, there are distractions everywhere.
The good news is, with a little bit of effort, a few adjustments, and an honest conversation with yourself, you can definitely overcome the challenges and be more productive when working from home.
So what is the first step?
The first step is always recognizing the problem or the need for help!
So first things first! Let’s talk about that.
The three biggest challenges with working from home:
- You don’t have a proper workspace or home “office.”
- You don’t have work hours.
- You lack discipline.
Okay, stick with me. I want to help you understand why each of these is a problem, and then I want to give you some practical solutions. Because what good is knowing you have a problem if you don’t know how to fix it?
So first, if you don’t have a proper workspace or “office” you are more likely to be distracted by other things. Why? Because having a proper space that is designated for work helps separate your home life from your work life. You need a space that is fully designated for work and that is only used for work. When you enter that space, it should be like entering a corporate office. You most likely wouldn’t enter your corporate office and then get distracted by the chores that need to be done throughout the building. Your at-home work space should be no different. So what’s the solution? Well, obviously you need to carve out a work space. Now, maybe you are thinking, “I live in a tiny one bedroom apartment and my baby already sleeps in my room. There is no more space!” That’s fine! There’s still a way to create your own little home office. It could be as simple as having a corner of the dining table that is only used for work. You just need to carve out a space that designated for only that, and commit to honoring that space!
The second biggest challenge is not having work hours. If you don’t have work hours, then your work is just sporadic, and it’s challenging to stay on top of your tasks. I know that life can be super unpredictable, especially with children, but it is still important to carve out time that is only used for work. Now, for this one, maybe you are thinking, “it’s not possible for me to determine work hours when my baby’s sleeps at random times every day.” You can still work with that! If your baby is not consistent in what time he or she sleeps, but you know you’ll get at least one or two solid naps out of them, then make a decision ahead of time that nap time is work time. This requires some shifting and adjusting, as it requires you to find other times- like when your baby is awake- to get housework done. And in my opinion, that is totally okay. I made a decision a while back that I wouldn’t do my computer work while my baby is awake. I simply don’t want her to have a memory of her childhood that involved her mama’s face being glued to a screen all the time. Instead, I would rather her see me cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry, and even involve her in those chores! It definitely took some adjusting, but it has absolutely been worth it. I feel like I get far more done on both sides, and my baby loves crawling around in piles of warm laundry. It’s a win win situation.
Last, but certainly not least, is a lack of discipline. This is the one that requires you having an honest conversation with yourself. If you are willing to take a look at your current productivity levels and be honest about the distractions that occur on a regular basis, then you can come up with a game plan to eliminate those distractions. Be real with yourself about how many times you stop your work to check Facebook or scroll through Instagram. Or even how many times you stop your work to text your friends. Maybe your distractions are more related to the housework that needs to be done. Whatever the distraction, I promise there is a solution. If your distractions are mostly social media and internet browsing, then it might be a good idea to give yourself strict rules about when those things are allowed. If your distractions are the housework around you, then you really have two great options. The first is the set your office space up in an area where those things are not visible to you. The second is to simply get those chores done first thing in the morning before your work hours start. That is usually my method. I would rather just get it done and then have a peace of mind knowing that I am not “putting it off.” Whatever your challenge, simply be honest with yourself and work out a solution! It requires discipline and commitment, but I promise your productivity levels will drastically increase!
So there you have it! While these are the most common challenges with working from home, they are not impossible to overcome! All you need is a little time and effort and you can absolutely set yourself up for success when working from home!
If you need some more mompreneur inspiration, check out this article on how to turn your dreams into reality!