It sounded like a good idea to work at home, fantastic even. I could get the laundry done, clean the house at will, take a relaxing lavender bubble bath and sleep in if I wanted to.
As my bubble bath swirled down the drain, I realized the need for discipline to maintain a cohesive working and living environment, in a world full of distractions. With socks to trip over, Netflix calling my name and a brand new puppy, longingly looking up at me to play with him, finding the will to work is challenging but doable.
So I sat down in front of my blank Word document and chose the right language to explain sanity maintenance in a home office, while being able to keep the house and soul in order.
1. Desk Maintenance
In the evening, DO write a list of the things you have to accomplish the next day and place it by your computer.
DON’T leave your desk in disheveled chaos. Have it organized so you don’t waste time cleaning it in the morning.
2. Watch the Clock
DO set the Alarm. In not doing so, it means you are not taking your job seriously (and your household won’t either). Whether it is 7:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m., set the alarm accordingly.
DON’T hit snooze a hundred times.
3. Bed Time
DO make your bed. More times than not I just want to crawl back into bed; that is, until I started to make the bed as soon as I woke up. When the alarm goes off, jump out of bed enthusiastically and make the bed. OK, first grab your coffee and then make the bed. Regardless of when you do it, make sure you do it.
DON’T leave an open invitation by leaving the bed turned down.
4. Morning Moves
DO establish a morning routine. Whether it is reading the paper while sipping a macchiato, a balanced yoga session or a morning walk, stick to it. That way you start your day off with no surprises. I drink a cup of hot tea and do 45 minutes of exercise, with a 10-minute bath as a caboose; an exceptional way to start my day. But before I launch my morning routine, I get household chores started (ie. run the dishwasher or put a load of laundry in). That way, while you are busy soaking up the suds, your chores are being checked off.
DON’T allow your morning routine to diminish your work day.
5. Them’s the Breaks
DO take “snack” breaks. I do not actually eat during these breaks because I snack all day at my desk. My breaks are composed of fuel for my brain. Turn on some music and move your body for a few minutes. I literally leap and pirouette through my living room. Throw down your cardboard and break-dance. The goal here is to remove your brain from work mode—get offline. It gets the blood flowing and takes your mind off the daily daunting duties that unfold as the clock ticks.
DON’T skip a break.
6. Feel the Noise
DO have some background noise. Listen to classical music, the news or Lorde.
DON’T sit in silence the entire day. Entertainment of some sort sparks creativity and helps your brain to not zone out. But don’t play it too loud, as you’ll be tempted to utilize your amazing air guitar skills.
7. Rest and Peace
DO take a siesta during your lunch break a few times a week. Lie on the couch and close your eyes. There are joys to working from the home, but there are sacrifices that need to be made as well. One of them is your lunchtime. If you use it as your errand running or your chore time, the siesta will help you feel rested at the end of the day.
DON’T sleep so long that when you wake up Colbert is signing off.
8. Business Casual
DO dress for work. How can you feel like you are really succeeding when lounging in flannel pajamas? While this may work for a few, I never get much accomplished wearing my sleepwear. Shoes seem to be the most important for me. If I stay in my slippers I feel like I am not taking my job seriously.
DON’T let your work clothes be your weekend, “I’m lazy today outfit.” This just inspires laziness.
9. The Schedule
DO set work hours and stick to them. It seems to be a reminder that I truly do run a business from this room. It will help keep you honest and on task. DON’T put 24/7/365 on your door. Be realistic.
The bottom line is to not get overwhelmed and distracted by what your home and work life proposes for you to accomplish each day. It is highly plausible to get everything done and still have time for yourself and your family. You just have to organize and motivate yourself, and have consistency be your hymn.