A Few Challenges of Working From Home…

Anyone else have a love-hate relationship with working from home?

Hate may be too strong of a word. And love may be too now that I think about it. For me it’s more like I have a “like-dislike” relationship with working from home.

Before I go on, I should preface this by saying that I know I am very fortunate- I get to do most of my work from home and many moms would love to be able to do that. I’ve made conscious professional choices over the last 10+ years that have allowed me this “luxury.”

From home I grade assignments and respond to emails from students in my Sport Psychology classes; I write articles and blog posts; many of my mental skills training sessions are done over Skype, and all from the comfort of my home (or Starbucks, where I type this). There are a lot of benefits to working at home (or outside of a traditional office). I get to wear my pajamas or my workout clothes while I work, I don’t have to worry about my hair or make-up (unless it’s one of those Skype sessions), and sometimes I even get house chores done in between my work.

However, if you work from home, you know there can be challenges to this set up…here are a few areas I struggle with and how I deal with them:

Problem: My office and my TV are very close to each other, which is way too convenient for a reality-show junkie like me. I have to stop myself from “just a few minutes” because that will easily turn into a whole episode (or more!) of any of The Real Housewives franchises…or Botched…or Southern Charm…or WWE Divas…you get the idea. I could have listed so many more!

Solution: I let myself watch TV when I’m doing a chore such as laundry. When the laundry is done, the TV is done. Sure, I probably go a little slower because I know I have to turn the TV off when I’m done, but a little bit of a mental break is helpful for me. And, I’m being productive around the house. Win-win.

Problem: When the house is chaotic (which it often is because we spend a lot of time playing at home), it’s a distraction for me. I used to not care much about a messy house but since having a second kid and shifting more of my work to home, I now have trouble focusing when it’s messy. And since I often work while we play (I “multi-task” as E, my almost 4-year-old says), I’m often literally sitting in the mess. I struggle with cleaning up the messes (moms- you know there are always messes!) and I find it really frustrating when I’m less productive because of the chaos.

Solution: I try to clean up as I go, and do my best to end the day with a clean-ish home. I’ve tried to create habits like run the dishwasher at night and empty it at the start of the day. This way I can put dirty dishes right in, and control the pile that easily accumulates in the sink. I also realized that E is old enough now to help, and it’s not just my responsibility to keep our house clean.

When the play room or kitchen has gotten out of control, I make a point to spend at least 10 minutes dealing with it. It doesn’t take very long to help it look better- it just takes focus. And, I often tackle the kitchen first because I also work a lot from the kitchen table. If the view from where I’m working is clean, I’m more likely to be productive. Sometimes I think I’m just procrastinating from work by cleaning, but the end result is that things are cleaner and I have better focus. So it works out!

I also make sure to change up my work environment when I can, which usually means going to Starbucks and getting writing, grading and emails done.
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Problem: I am home. A lot. Because I work from home! I am home for work, and I am home quite a bit with our kids. When the weather is better I’m out more than in the Winter months, but still, I can go a whole day with only walking to the mail box. And sometimes the only trip out is to and from school. This can make me feel very overwhelmed and doesn’t allow me to appreciate the fact that I do get to work from home 75-80% of the time. I start to get a bit of cabin fever and end up less productive.

Solution: Get out of the house. I plan my week with activities or errands spread out during the week. I take advantage of the great activities in the area for kids. I get together with friends. And if it’s been a day in, I make it a point to go outside at the end of the day (which is usually when I start counting the minutes to bedtime) and enjoy our neighborhood.

I also make sure to change up my work environment when I can, which usually means going to Starbucks and getting writing, grading and emails done. Sometimes working from home needs to happen somewhere else.

And lastly, I work to create a home I enjoy being in. Since N was born, I’ve really tried to declutter, come up with systems that make our lives easier and appreciate the fact that I do get to be home with my family (a lot).

[bctt tweet=”I change up my work environment when I can, which usually means going to Starbucks and getting writing, grading and emails done. #WorkFromHome” username=”GetMomBalanced”]

Moms who work from home- what are your challenges and how do you deal with them??

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  • Love this. Most people thing working from home is all laundry in your PJs, but work is still work! I work from home in a more traditional job that has me tethered to my desk and phone most of the day. The biggest challenge for me is hearing the kiddo and husband playing in the other room and not being able to join in… or help out when there are tears. But. At the end of the day when my “commute” it literally opening an door and taking three steps before getting a big “Mama!” hug, it is worth it.

  • I can’t even imagine how much of a struggle that would be. I would get so distracted. You seem to be great at setting goals for yourself and finding solutions , which is one of the hardest parts!

    • Aww- thanks! It’s not always easy, that’s for sure. I’ve had a lot of practice at it as I’ve worked from home for a while now. Some days are easier than others!

  • There are pros and cons to working from home for me. I love it because I’m home with my kids all day. (3 yrs and 11 mths) Yet, my husband is at work all day so it is difficult to get anything done workwise. I feel like I’m on the computer ALL day but, don’t accomplish anything. When I make a schedule and stick to it, it works great. Then it goes out the window within a week. I need to work on this.

    • Hi Natasha- TOTALLY agree about pros and cons! And also about how you can be at the computer all day without accomplishing much. Hopefully your kids are nice enough to nap at the same time and give you some time during the day to get things done. When my older son dropped his nap we had to figure out our groove all over again!