With that out of the way…
It recently occurred to me that my children see me at home every single day in my office and that provides them with a level of comfort they haven’t had in the past. The little one knows that if she’s feeling sick, I’m home and can pick her up if she’s at school or let her sleep in if she wakes up feeling like crap. The big one knows that I can usually drop her off and pick her up from work since we don’t have convenient public transportation in the area. They know and appreciate that now, but that wasn’t always the case.
While I have been working from home for years, it has taken some time for them to get adjusted to the fact that I can not (and will not) always be available for every single thing during normal business hours. I absolutely have work to do and deadlines to meet. I have scheduled phone/video interviews that start as early as 10am. I have scheduled conference calls with Directors and Hiring Teams that sometimes last a full 2 hours. I have virtual training events as required by my employer AND as a requirement for my HR recertification credits. I have a schedule that I need to be mindful of in order to maintain my work-from-home job that pays the bills with a steady paycheck. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world at the moment.
So what prompted this post?
I’m not always available for a “quick” chat that turns into an hour and 30 minutes of gossip. Nope! I’m home, but I’m not free.
I’m not always available for a favor to babysit for you because your child is too sick for daycare again and you can’t take the day off from work. Nope! I’m home, but I’m not free.
I think you all get my point without me having to run down a long list of examples. I’m not just home; I’m actually working a full-time job that allows me to provide for myself and my family. I can’t take on your tasks and random requests just because you see me at home in my yoga pants and tea shirt.
Can you relate to any of this? Do you ever feel like you need to remind people that you actually work from home and you’re not just there twiddling your thumbs with unlimited free time on your hands? Lol!! Okay…I’m done. I’m clear that someone will read this and want to debate it, but I’m not really interested because I’m home…working. :)
How do YOU set boundaries as a work-from-home mom?
- Just Say No! - You've probably heard it 1,000 times, but let's make it 1,001 today. NO is a complete sentence. Stop feeling obligated to add qualifiers. You simply can't and saying NO contributes greatly to your focus on self-care. You must put your oxygen mask on FIRST and saying NO to items that aren't on your list of things to do frees up time for you to do just that.
- Plan Your Day - Failing to plan is...(say it with me)...Planning to fail. Grab a planner (see my suggestions HERE), plan your day, and stick to it. It will help you stay focused on your required tasks for the day and serve as a reminder to you that you simply can't fit in the 2 hr stroll in the mall with your girlfriend who is off from work that day.
- You're In Control - You control your day and have the ability to limit distractions. Do you need to turn your notifications off? Send calls to voicemail? Should you get one of those fancy doorbells (that happen to be on my Christmas list) that allow you to see who's at your door without even getting up from your desk?
- Remember Your Why - Why do you work from home and is that distraction contributing to your growth as a successful work-from-home employee? Be honest with yourself and keep your goals front and center.
- Stop Saying "Nothing" - Yes, you read that right. Stop saying "nothing" when people call you in the middle of the day and ask what you're doing. It took me a while to stop saying that and it has been so freeing to be able to say "I'm working." That's it. Many will doubt you, but be consistent and you'll begin to notice a change.
There you have it. You probably started reading this post and wondered if I was going to go on a rant about being busy and blah...blah...blah. You know my posts have to be more constructive than that. I was once very new to the work-from-home scene so I've learned a few tips over the years that I must pass along to you all.
Want more tips like these and/or interested in hearing about opportunities for you to transition from a crazy commute and astronomical childcare costs to working from home and continuing to grow as a professional? Go ahead and click HERE ASAP so you don't miss the next weekly newsletter.
In the meantime...stay blessed!