Sunday, April 5, 2009

So you wanna work from home (Or better titled, what NOT to do)

As a business owner with a couple other internet-based jobs on the side, I'm learning a thing or two about how to make working from home, work. Because I'm a mom, most of this is going to focus not on how to set up your office, etc. People have written about that a lot. What I want to talk about is how to do it without driving your family nuts. Feel free to contribute. I've learned (and continue to learn) most of this the hard way - by doing it wrong sometimes. :)

1. Do not use working from home as an excuse to get addicted to being on the computer nonstop. Internet friends will never be a replacement for real-life friends, no matter how much you think you like each other. Something I am always extremely careful about is connecting with guys online. Protect your marriage! Be cautious and ruthless with online connections with the opposite gender! Every person has flaws, and your husband is the only one "meant for you" now, no matter what your circumstances. Don't allow yourself to be deceived in this area. It will ruin your life, and the lives of your family members.

2. Do not let your house get out of control while you work. Everybody needs breaks, so pick up for 5 minutes during yours. Here's where a supportive spouse is invaluable. Our house got out of control this week, but Nick helped reinstitute the pre-bedtime pick-up-the-house-time. If everyone will help, it's not so bad. Doing Flylady-esque routines every day helps too. If the dishwasher gets started before bed every night, breakfast is easy and you're ready to work when the time comes. If you have to spend the first hour of your day cleaning, it slows everything down.

3. Don't forget to focus on the kids. After all, that's probably why you're home, right? I make it a goal to read with my kids at least several times a week. Doesn't always happen, but it remains a goal in spite of failure. We sit down at the table together for breakfast, and I specifically make eye contact with each child as we talk. If they need something from me and I tell them "just a minute," I try to make sure it's really just a minute.

4. You know that whole thing about how cool it is to be able to work in your pajamas? Don't. You feel like a slob, you look like a slob to your husband, you're more cranky with your kids than you need to be (get them ready too - it's so much easier to relate well to a kid who looks cute and has their hair done!), and if something comes up and you need to leave the house, it takes forever to get ready. This one is super hard for me. I'm really working on it. Take a shower and do your hair and makeup. You'll be happier.

5. Set daily goals for yourself. How many hours do you HAVE to get in? How many would you LIKE to get in? You'll usually fall somewhere in the middle.

6. Take a Sabbath. You are not your family's provider and neither is your husband. God is, and He does a great job. Even He took a day off. This is not a law that He will strike you down for disobeying, it is a gracious provision for your sanity. Thank you, God, that you love me so much that You tell me to take a day off. My identity is not tied up in what I can produce. If any of this sounds foreign to you, read The Rest of God. It'll change your life.

7. In certain situations, set "office hours." Our bridal business can take over my life when I let it, and it always seems to be an emergency. We have hours when we have asked our seamstresses not to call. This is harder to do with my internet work, because if I don't do it when I have available time, I just don't seem to get to it. Still working on this one...

8. Write everything down. I have a whiteboard on my fridge that is a catch-all for the household tasks I think of while I'm doing something else. That way we remember to pay our rent, send mail and stuff like that. I keep a running grocery list there, too. There is more info than you can keep in your brain, so write down the things that you can't forget. My advice? Don't write down everything though - it's too hard on you!

I'm sure there are things that I've missed. What can you add to this?


  1. I'm very impressed with all you do Sara. :)

  2. Ugh. Don't be. I sure don't do it well all the time. :)

  3. Perfect list! I"m working on a similar one in my head right now...meeUp was taking over!! I really like the part about fixing your hair and getting dressed! Amen, sista! :-)