I am a jewelry designer, an entrepreneur and a business owner - and I work from home. I am so fortunate - and I know that, but there is a common misconception that working from home is the best ever.... I often hear something along the lines of : "That's soooo great! How nice you can stay at home with Asher (my one year old son, aka the cutest little mofo in the world) and work when you want to! ". Yes - I am lucky, and it is great... but I most certainly do not get to work when I want to. I am an entrepreneur and business owner - and I am also a stay at home mama. That means I work when I can, which is not always when I want to. I manufacture and fill orders when Asher naps, I return emails and draft Instagram posts at 5:30 a.m. when he wakes me up for the day, and I update inventory and order supplies late at night while the rest of my house is asleep. Of course, like anything, there are pros and cons to working from home. Pros? I don't have to scrape car windows in the freezing cold everyday and I likely don't even have to leave the house at all in minus 40 weather if I don't want to (huge pro!). I don't have to pack a lunch, punch a timecard, or answer to a boss. If I am caught up, ahead of schedule and don't have any pressing to-do's I can take a random mid-week day off. Cons? Sometimes there are days that go by when the only interaction I have with other adults, besides my partner, is when my parents call to FaceTime with Asher. I drink way too much cold coffee and I'm running out of podcast episodes of True Crime Garage. I'm on my phone much more than I want to be and the struggle is that I run my business through it.
I won't bore you with my daily routine because it changes every single day. I go from "jewelry designer boss babe" to changing dirty diapers and cleaning up a floor full of toys in seconds. I tag jewels and make phone calls while Asher eats lunch in his highchair. I lug him to the post office weekly to ship orders, he comes with me on drop-offs, retailer visits and generally every errand I need to run. He bangs on the window and waves when he sees the mailman and the DHL and Canada Post delivery drivers know his nap schedule #dontringthedoorbell. I do not have set work hours, which can be super amazing, and also very challenging. It means I have to be consistent and super organized, which is not my forte, so I make many lists in order to maintain order in both my business and my day-to-day momming. It took me a few weeks and some sleep training to get somewhat consistent in my morning routine and, because I get the bulk of my hands-on work (aka manufacturing, tagging and packing orders) done while Asher naps in the morning, I need to be very intentional with my time. No one is more surprised than me at how much I can get done in 1.5 to 2 hours - except for today when he refused to nap at all and I got nothing done.
Over the past few months of working from home I have learned a few things that make a huge difference in my productivity and, as anyone who works from home knows, it is very tempting to stay in your cozy pj's, but the days I actually do are very few and far between.
Here are few of my personal top tips for working from home:
LEAVE those pj's in the bedroom! Shower and get dressed like you would if you were leaving the house. Leggings and a sweater totally count, makeup is optional.
SEPARATE your workspace from your main living space -- this is KEY to eliminating distractions! Maybe it's an office in the spare room, a studio space in the backyard or a desk in the corner area of your basement (that's me!) - wherever works for you and your home.
MAKE your work space somewhere you want to spend your time. I used to settle in on the couch, throw on Netflix and #makemakemake. Now that doesn't work and my workspace is a desk (and surrounding area downstairs in our less-than-cozy basement) so I added some cute décor + prints to the shelves of jewelry supplies and spools of chain, I burn a soy candle or diffuse essential oils while I work, and I listen to podcasts on speaker because I can.
POUR your coffee in an insulated mug to eliminate having to leave and reheat it when it inevitably gets cold. Better yet, move your coffeemaker to your workspace. #brilliant
KEEP snacks close. Wandering to the kitchen leads down a rabbithole of distractions.
DON'T multitask. A very wise person once told me - multitasking makes you stupid. She's right. Don't start loads of laundry because you will have to stop working and switch them. Don't put anything in the oven because you will go back to work, forget and burn it.
INVEST in a good old fashioned day planner, one that has room for notes, lists and your week at a glance. Yes, I know our iPhones can do that, but I personally find it more functional to use a day planner. I like old fashioned pen-to-paper and the feeling of victory that comes from physically crossing something off a list.
FIND a system that works for you, whatever your line of work. Now, step back and look for ways to improve it further. Time is money, honey, and the more efficient your system the more you will get done. There are always ways to streamline and save time and energy.
SCHEDULE to get out of the house. Meetings, errands, a coffee break. This is VERY important - it's easy to stay inside for days on end and it isn't healthy.
POUR yourself a glass of wine Friday afternoon - because you can drink at work when you work from home ;)