How To Effectively Manage Your Home As A Work From Home Mom
If you read my recent post on embracing minimalism in 2018, then you’ll already know that I was a bit naive about how this whole “work from home” thing would look when I decided to take my small business full time in April of 2017.
To be frank, I love being an entrepreneur, there are definitely some challenges, but overall it’s been a wonderful decision. More than anything though, I really love being a stay at home mom. I enjoy having the flexibility and freedom to spend the mornings, afternoons and evenings with my family and prior to working from home, I dreamed about the positive impact this would have on my home itself.
However, there is an obvious difference between a work from home mom and a stay at home mom, if you will, that I happily overlooked, and that is what work is being done and where time is being invested. Both women work equally hard, it’s just that one mom may have more time to invest in the home itself, while the other mom is obviously investing time into a career or small business.
Of course, I knew that not ALL of my time would be invested towards my home and family, I do have a business to run. BUT I wasn’t fully prepared for how I could best manage both my home and business, while still being within these four walls of my home, every single day.
When you work outside of the home, regardless of the amount of time you work, depending on what exactly you do, it can be a bit easier to separate work and life. However, when you’re running a small business as a wife and mom FROM your home - the term work/life balance can sometimes become a bit of a stretch and things can easily get jumbled maybe a bit more than you’d like.
In 2017, I saw a bit of that jumble. I saw the lines of work/life balance blur just a bit more than I would have liked and so one of my ultimate goals of 2018 is to create a more structured system for effectively managing my life and home while working FROM home.
I know that this is going to be a process. I know that life is life and it won’t be perfect. I know that I’ll mess up and still work during home times andddd… possibly not work during times when I should be. But a process is just that, “marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result.” Thanks Merriam Webster.
Create A WEEKLY Cleaning Schedule
Don’t JUST create a cleaning schedule, but WRITE it down. I have a simple, but super handy schedule that I print out and tape to my fridge. This is something I JUST initiated at the of 2017, but so far so good and I can already see how much of a difference it has made in keeping me on track. Eventually, this cleaning schedule should be such a habit it’s like second nature to me. But for now it serves as a perfect reminder of what I should be working on each day.
It’s also extremely helpful for those weeks when I get behind to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. I can easily see what hasn’t been done yet, and what I can combine together on multiple days if need be. Having a weekly cleaning chart keeps things simple and realistic. You can tackle these tasks easily in the morning, afternoon, or even evening after work.
Daily chores are a saving grace when it comes to your cleaning routine and I’m able to make mundane tasks like laundry much more manageable when I wash, dry and fold a load each day.
You can download my printable cleaning schedule below! It's a game changer!
Write Down Your Schedule
In order to effectively manage my time and keep work and play separate, I know that I HAVE to write down what I’ll be working on and when. I am a 100% visual person and in 2017 I loved to plan the perfect day in my head… only to realize halfway through that I WAY overestimated just how much I could accomplish in one day.
It always left me feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. In 2018, I’m using my Simplified Planner to write out my daily tasks and assign a TIME to them. Just like my cleaning schedule, my day doesn’t always go according to plan. However, it’s SO helpful to see realistically what I COULD accomplish in one day, and if I’m not able to finish a task, where I can re-assign it within my week.
Having a BIG picture for each day and week makes both home and work seem much more manageable.
Communicate Your Schedule To Your Spouse
Oh ya’ll.. This is a big one. This is something I was BAD at in this past year. I just took it for granted that my husband knew I was a work from home mom so obviously… if I’m at home then throughout some part of the day I’ll be working. But a photographer I work with actually mentioned this one last year and I was excited to put it into action (thanks Krista Reynolds!)
Unfortunately, my communication was severely lacking. Our family schedule is probably more unusual than most because my husband works 12 hours shifts in a hospital. So he works a rotating schedule of three different days each week. In addition to that, I still work casual part time at the same hospital and work two 12 hours shifts each month.
Our schedule and communication left a lot to be desired. When my husband had a day off and wanted to do something together as a family, it was a last minute conversation trying to explain what work I was doing that day and how long it would take.
Now, I have set up a google calendar where I put both my schedule and my husband’s schedule for each month. I then share that calendar with him so he has easy access to it on his phone at any given time. I plan to update this calendar with appointments, etc as well and I’ll even schedule in my “work from home” time so he can see when I need to be editing a wedding or sitting down to other business tasks.
In addition to that, I quickly map out our month on a big chalkboard calendar in our kitchen so anyone can have a quick view of what our day, week, month looks like in regard to schedules/appointments.
This is a very NEW thing for us but I’m excited to see how it helps with communicating our days.
Create Weekly or Monthly Meal Plans
You may be groaning a little at this one but I PROMISE it’s easier than you think and it makes literally all of the difference in the world.
When I worked as a nurse and managed my business part time, I was the queen of meal planning. Then when I started working from home, I became a bit lenient with it and just went with the flow of our schedules (you know, those schedules that we weren’t doing the best job of communicating to one another.)
Now that I’m back into the routine of monthly meal planning, I don’t know how I EVER survived without it.
To keep it as simple as possible, I create a running list of ALL of the meals that we make on a routine basis in our home. This list is the STARTING point for every meal plan. Then usually once or twice a week, I’ll leave a blank area to add in a new recipe or a night out.
Then I create the actual meal plan. I like to do this by month, so I only have to invest time doing this once and it takes me about an hour.
As I mentioned, my husband’s work schedule is a bit weird, so I always make sure to map that out first and then plan our meals accordingly. I like to make sure that I make something the night before his work days that will allow for plenty of leftovers. This is usually something like a soup, casserole, or meatloaf.
Then I SAVE each monthly meal plan in my kitchen binder so I can easily just re-use and adjust for a month in the future!
Wake Up Before Your Kids
I wish I could give this piece of advice to EVERY mom. Depending on your schedules and the age of your kids, I know this can seem like a pipe dream, but if it IS possible and you’re NOT currently waking up before you’re little ones, then work hard to start making it a reality.
Having anywhere from even just 30-60 minutes of alone time before a tiny human starts asking me for to-do’s and bombarding me with all of the best questions a four year old can ask, makes all of the difference in how I start my day.
If you don’t do anything else, do this one thing and go from there.
Remember To Live
Just last week, I spent a few minutes mapping out my day, only to scrap it all before 9AM and go on an hour drive to visit with my grandparents. Life is life, and it can’t be lived perfectly according to a schedule. However, for all of those other times, having some form of structure to manage your day, your work, your cleaning and your meals may be just what you need.
And while these may seem like simple, obvious tips that’s just the beauty of it. And though they seem simple, ask yourself honestly.. Are you doing them? Because simple and manageable is exactly what I need in my home and my life and I can already see the BIG impact that have on my days, weeks and months so far.
So what do you think? Do you struggle with managing your home as a work from home mom? Do you have a system in place that works? Are you excited to try these tips? Don't forget to grab my free cleaning schedule below!