When you work from home, it can be pretty difficult to find balance. There are so. many. distractions. The kids, the neighbor, the housework, Days of our Lives…okay, so maybe keeping up with “Days” isn’t a valid distraction (mostly because the current story lines are lame.) Regardless of what your TV preferences are, balancing work and home life is an art form! While I’m certainly no expert, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that keep me sane.
Make a Schedule
A schedule can make a world of difference when it comes to balancing work and home life . When you put it all on paper (or on a screen) you can see exactly how much time you’re spending on work and how much time you’re spending on home. Making a schedule is the easy part. Sticking to it will be a more difficult, but that’s another blog post altogether!
Just because you’re the mom doesn’t mean you have to do it all! Share the responsibilities with your spouse and your kids. Even the littlest kiddos can help out by picking up their own toys. Sharing responsibilities leaves more quality time for fun family activities. It also teaches kids important lessons about working as a team and helping others.
Leave Work at Work
Here’s where it gets tricky, especially if your desk happens to double as your dining room table. It’s all too easy to walk into the next room and just do “one more thing” several times after your working hours are finished. As much as it’s convenient, this will kill you. Maybe not literally, but I can’t think of a better way to burn yourself out than to work 24/7.
Dedicate Weekends to Home Activities
This goes along with the “leave work at work” thing, but balancing work and home life gets easier on the weekends. Simply make a pact that you won’t do it. If that means burying your laptop in a closet Friday night (I may or may not have done this) or putting a padlock on your office door to remind you to take a break, then do it. You’ll thank yourself later.
The very best tip for balancing work and home life is to always have a plan. If you plan ahead, you can find balance in any schedule. This doesn’t mean that your plans won’t change, though. All the planning in the world can’t counteract life’s little mishaps. For example, sometimes you plan to put your daughter in summer daycare 3 days a week so you can work. Then three hours into her first day of daycare, she falls off the monkey bars and breaks her arm in 3 places. Guess what? It’s time to make a new plan! Rest assured, you can even find balance in a bummer summer. Sometimes it just takes a little out of the box thinking to figure it out.
The key to balancing work and home life is to be flexible but committed to your boundaries. If you don’t have balance, you’ll surely be miserable. It takes time to figure it out, so don’t beat yourself up. Just do the best you can. Just like learning to balance on a bicycle, balancing work and home life takes practice.
PS – Someday I’ll tell you how we made it through bummer summer.