Monday, February 19, 2018

How To Survive Your 9-5 As A Work-At-Home-Mom

work at home mom tips and routine
How To Survive Your 9-5 As A Work At Home Mom #wahm #homeoffice 

     A while back, a reader requested I do a "day in the life" type post about what I do on an average day as a work-at-home mom. As most of you probably know, blogging is not a full-time gig for me - more like my favorite hobby! I work 30 hours/week from home while also being Ezra's sole caretaker during that time. Today I wanted to walk through my day with you, and share some of my organizational and time management tips for balancing work life and mom life at the same time.



      This post was a little bit of a challenge to put together because honestly, my routine feels like it is CONSTANTLY changing. As is the way with parenthood, Ezra's development, newfound skills and blossoming personality determine the trajectory of each day, and I adapt my routine accordingly. Since Ezra has been pretty consistent in his sleeping and eating patterns for about a month now, my routine hasn't changed too much recently - and is the one I'm sharing today. Whether you do most of your work from home, or have kids at home or in daycare, I hope the following tips and insight into my routine can be beneficial and valuable for you!

work at home mom survival tips


5:45AM - Rise & Shine!

      Every morning I set my alarm for 5:30am, and try (you'll see a lot of that word in today's post haha) to get up between 5:30 and 5:45. Ezra normally sleeps from 7pm until about 5:30am - at which time I will feed & change him, and lay him back in his crib.

     
      My coffee is set to brew at 6am, while I'm upstairs still trying to wake up, turning on my computer, and clocking into work. I would LOVE to say I leisurely drink my coffee, wash my face, and give myself a minute to wake up, but in reality I try to get to work as quickly as possible so that I have enough time to get something done before Ezra wakes up. One amazing thing about my current job is that I was given flexibility to clock in and out as needed. I definitely don't take advantage of this perk TOO much, but it's nice to have that flexibility.

computer monitor coffee desk




8:30am Ezra's Awake - First Break

      I've gotten a good 2.5 hours of work in at this point. Ezra will usually sleep from the time I lay him back down around 5:45, until around 8am. He wakes up in a good mood and will roll around in the crib and talk to himself for about 30 minutes, then I get him up, and we open the blinds together, feed him & change his diaper. This is when I take my first break from work. 
Note: If I wake up late or Ezra doesn't go back to sleep at 5:45 (throws off our entire day, but it happens) I will usually work until this time with him in my office on the floor next to me. It's definitely more difficult this way, but he is at the age where he can entertain himself with toys for a little bit, so I take what I can get*

{  TIP #1: If you're working from home with children present, try to schedule your day around their current schedule. Waking up at 5:30 is not always easy for me, but if I can get a good chunk of work completed while he's still sleeping, then it's worth it! Look at your planner or agenda and figure out which times of day your child's current schedule allows you to get the most work completed. Jot down those blocks of time and write down the total number of hours you can get work done uninterrupted (kids are asleep, in daycare, with a nanny, etc.)   }



8:30am - 10:30am - Playtime & Breakfast

       At this point, I haul all of Ezra's toys downstairs and we play together. About an hour later, I make myself breakfast & sit Ezra down for a mid-morning snack. We are just starting to introduce foods, and it's been so exciting for both of us! This is a new part of our routine that has so far been working out great! I'll usually feed him a fruit, vegetable, oatmeal OR a mixture of those things, and when he's done, he's pretty tired and ready for his first nap of the day. Recently I've found that keeping him awake for longer results in a longer nap time, so I try to keep him awake for at least 2 hours before laying him down.

10:30am - 12:30pm Nap time & Back to Work

      While Ezra is napping, I eat an early lunch and get back to work, and I'm usually able to work for about 2 hours. Needless to say, sometimes nap time doesn't go as planned and he wakes up after 30 minutes (and will not go back to sleep). When this happens, we adjust, as usual! Sometimes he sits in my office next to me and will play with his toys, other times I'll go off the clock and read him a book, or take him downstairs to play in his bouncer. He really enjoys having a variety of different things to do! BUT, on a good day, he will nap for 2 hours and I will get another good amount of work completed.

{  TIP #2: If you know you're going to be stepping away from your computer, office, or other workspace throughout the day, it helps to have a list of work-related priorities that can help keep you on track and focused when it's time to get back to work. I ALWAYS keep a pen & notepad at my desk and I try to write down what I've gotten completed for the day, and what I still have left to do. This way, when I come back to my desk, I'm not scrambling or racking my brain to remember what I completed last, or what I'm supposed to do next.  }



12:30pm - 2:30pm Break #2

     Just like our morning playtime, I clock out again around 12:30pm and we play together for another 2 hours. This is also my favorite time of the day to get out of the house and get some fresh air! It's so rough to be cooped up inside, especially during the winter months and cold/flu season, but getting outside, or even just going to walk around Target for an hour can be a serious sanity saver.

{   TIP #3: Before taking your last break of the day, now is a good time to write down any time-sensitive tasks or things that you MUST get done during your last few hours of work for the current day. This is an important step for me, because some of the tasks I'm assigned to at work are time-sensitive and are due before the end of the business day. Also, if I am communicating with our clients, I need to make sure I get all e-mail correspondence sent out in the afternoon, before people are leaving the office for the day. Making a list of your most important tasks at this time will help you get laser-focused during your final few hours of work for the day.   }



2:30pm - 4:30pm Final Nap & Final Stretch

       At this time, Ezra takes his final nap of the day, and this is also the time of day where everything has the biggest potential to go full-speed downhill HAHA. Sometimes he naps, sometimes he doesn't, sometimes I'm hopelessly distracted from work, but either way, I somehow manage to make it through to the end. For the sake of writing out this detailed routine, let's just pretend Ezra is taking his second 2 hour nap of the day around this time. Now's the time to get through all of your time-sensitive tasks like I outlined in tip no. 3 above. 

4:30pm - 7:00pm Dinner & Family Time

      My favorite part of the day - of course. At 4:30pm Jack gets home from work, and unless there's something extremely important that needs my attention, or a task that MUST be completed before I leave, I clock out and turn off my computer. Then, I refuse to think about anything work-related for the rest of the night. It's rare if I get every single little thing on my "to-do" list completed, especially during our company's busy season, but if I get all of the most important things our of the way, that's enough for me. We spend the rest of our evening enjoying family time watching TV, playing with Ezra, and eating dinner as a family. We're still trying to get into the habit of sitting at the table together - something we haven't done in a while - but it can be difficult if Ezra is getting cranky and/or dinner is taking a little bit longer to cook.




TIP #4: Don't forget about what's most important in life. At the end of the day, YES I am immensely grateful for a job that lets me be home with my baby all day, and allows me to be flexible with my hours. But life isn't ALL about work! When you allow your work life to merge with your home life, it can get messy trying to combine the two. People who commute to and from work have the convenience of miles separating them from their job - but for you, it might just be a few feet or a set of stairs away. Your home is a place of comfort, peace, love and family - don't let your work life step on the toes of all the things you love and cultivate in your home. Even if you don't get everything on your task list completed, it's so important to turn off your laptop or computer, step away from the desk, relax and rejuvenate.   }




I hope sharing my everyday routine with you was beneficial in some way! What are some things that help you get through YOUR work day as a work-at-home mom? Share them in the comments below!

     

12 comments:

  1. I think that's such an important topic about working from home and hving that issues keeping work and home seperate. Both myself and my husband work from home and keeping that work life outside of the home is so hard sometimes, but I'm working on it!

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    1. Hi Christine! I totally agree with you - it's one of the most difficult things for me as well, it's a learning process!

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  2. I love this so much!! Currently my blog is my full-time job while also being a mom and it's SO challenging some days. I've debated on getting a "real" more stable job on top of it just so that we'd have a better income but I just couldn't imagine having a real 9-5 job at home with her. But seeing how your day is laid out really helps me to visualize it more in case I were to decide to go that route in the future. But I do currently work my routine around my daughter's and it really helps so much.

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    1. So glad you found this helpful, Keating! :)

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  3. It's amazing being able to stay home and be able to be there for your child. I have three and I also homeschool so that adds ANOTHER element of busy lol.

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    1. You are super-mom! I was actually homeschooled growing up and now aspire to homeschool my kids as well. :) I hope these tips helped you in some way!

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  4. You're such a hard-working momma (in every way!). I loved reading through your daily routine and how you put Ezra first despite having to clock in to work. You're a superstar for waking up that early and getting your brain into the work mode! This post has reminded me to use my time wisely and manage it better so THANK YOU so much for that.
    x Nadia
    www.mielandmint.com

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    1. Nadia, thank you so much for the incredibly kind words!! I'm so glad you were able to benefit from this post - we can all use help re-focusing sometimes!

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  5. Sounds like you have a great schedule worked out. I don't work from home per se but blogging is taking over more and more of my time and with four kids, I'm noticing we need to plan our time a lot more. Sounds like you've figured out a few of the key aspects: time management and flexibility.

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    1. It's amazing how much more you can get accomplished when you take time to make an attack plan to conquer the day!

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  6. I envy your motivation! I want to work from home so badly but I am afraid I'd get nothing accomplished!

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    1. I'm sure you'd find a way! It definitely takes a bit of time to get used to, but eventually you find what works best for you & your specific lifestyle. :)

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