To be honest, I am not actually “working” from home. I am mainly off work and on modified bed rest (read here why), but I quickly found myself some projects to work on to keep me busy.
And while I love being busy, I am also big on procrastinating and watching YouTube videos, so I had to figure out ways to stay focused throughout the day.
Now whether you are a student, self-employed or trying to fit in blogging while balancing a full-time job and a toddler, chances are that you have done your fair share of procrastinating yourself. Most likely you have found your own way of dealing with it, but if you want to discover what works best for me, keep on reading.
1. Schedule working hours
That one was pretty easy for me. Little Bean is at daycare at set times, which means I have six hours a day to myself. This is the time I use to get stuff done, 9 am to 3 pm. For me, being productive during regular office hours has always worked best and made it easy to be able to contact people right when I needed them. It doesn’t matter when you set aside time, just make sure to focus on your project.
2. Organize these hours
After you have scheduled “work time”, break it down in different pieces. We all have things we can do best when well rested and other stuff we can do when we are already pretty tired. I start my day by catching up on eMails and making phone calls. That way I am able to ease into things with a cup of tea while already ticking things of my to-do-list.
Second in line is writing, whether it be a paper for work, blog posts or anything else. If I get stuck, I allow myself some time to read blogs/answer comments, but no longer than 15 minutes! And yes, I do use a timer. It is so easy getting lost there. After two hours of doing that, I am usually pretty worn out, so I take a break.
The middle part of the day is dedicated to answering comments/ catching up on blogs/ scheduling social media/ taking pictures. It needs to be done, takes a lot of time, but is actually more fun than work. Great way to fight the upcoming tiredness!
When I feel refreshed (and had lunch), I set aside more time for writing, usually another hour and use the last 45 minutes to answer any new comments/ read new blogposts/ answering eMail. That way I feel like I leave with everything done and don’t have stuff already waiting for me the next day.
3. Schedule breaks and downtime
When I started blogging while working full time, every spare minute would go into the blog. Every time I had five minutes spare I would try and write, getting frustrated and obviously producing utter crap. Now I take evenings and weekends off and don’t look at blog/work stuff after 3 pm. Of course there are still evenings glued to the screen while Little Bean is asleep and the husband busy, but they are no longer my only way to spend time. Allowing myself time off has not only majorly improved our family life but helps me to stay away from YouTube during “working hours”.
As far as breaks during the day go, you have to see for yourself if you have to schedule them or if they come naturally. Being pregnant I have plenty of unscheduled bathroom breaks anyway, so I just go with the flow.
4. Plan, plan, plan
I have loved to-do lists since forever, but it was only after becoming a mother and a blogger while working full-time when they became my lifeline. Some people like to write theirs first thing in the morning, but I prefer writing one right before I go to bed. It helps me feel prepared for the day ahead and takes my mind off tasks waiting for me, thus helping me sleep.
My blog posts are usually planned three months in advance and written at least for the next four weeks. That way I don’t get stressed when times get busy, Little Bean gets sick or I simply have too much other stuff going on. It also helps me to take pictures in bulk and raiding my stash for new products to test (I like to test my skincare for at least 6 weeks before I write about it).
5. Get up and get dressed!
As tempting as it may be to stay in your pajamas all day, it will not help you get anything done. When I get up (6:30 am wakeup call from my daughter), I make sure to do my proper morning skincare routine, get fully dressed and put on makeup. Yes, I do wear makeup every single “work day”. Not a full face with foundation etc., but as much as I would wear when I´d actually leave the house for work. Then we have breakfast, I walk her to daycare and “working” starts.
After I am finished, I take a walk to pick her up again and that really helps me to ease into relaxation mode.
Now on to my pregnancy update:
I am 24 weeks now, and as you can see on the picture the bump is growing rapidly. It is way bigger than it was with Little Bean at the same time, even though my weight is pretty much the same it was back then. I guess everything is loosened up already from the first pregnancy…
After having a hard time being off work at first, I realized how much better I feel. Before that I worked up to 50 hours a week, while taking care of Little Bean, the flat and the blog at the same time, and it was too much. Not only was I constantly tired and moody, it took a toll on my pregnancy as well, and I am very happy to see how much better Peanut is developing now that I get enough rest. I only need to figure out how to organize my life when it is two kids and back to working again… But I have plans already and will share them with you when they develop.
Other than that I am experiencing a little back pain (especially in the mornings) and have difficulties sleeping, mostly due to the fact that I need to get up and pee at least twice a night. Not being allowed to exercise is pretty hard too, as I can see my muscles disappear in a flash, but it (hopefully) is only for a little longer.
Peanut is very active, and I can feel him kicking a lot throughout the day, a strangely reassuring feeling and something I am going to miss when he is born.
But this is enough for today. On to you:
How do you stay focused when working from home? Please share your tips!