July 8, 2014

The Work-From-Home Balance

Last week I addressed the whole stay-at-home-mom versus full-time working mom question I've been receiving lately regarding Little Miss Paisley. You can read the entire Q&A post here, or I can cut right to the chase and tell you that I will not become a stay-at-home-mom once baby girl arrives. Like I've said before, though I'd love to toy with the idea in the future, I thoroughly enjoy what I do on an everyday basis (Hello?! Social media & email marketing...LOVE!) so I have no intentions of giving that up, plus, Beau and I both need my salary to continue to afford, well, life. Especially now that daycare expenses are involved... (Shoot me now. I should probably start fundraising...)

That being said, while the little one is in day care, I will still continue to have the privilege of working from home two days/week, Mondays & Fridays. 

As a writer, I cannot possibly express the importance of having a balance of working from home and working in an office setting. Mondays and Fridays are super writing-intensive for me, while Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are all focused on meetings and collaboration with co-workers, with writing in between. When I agreed to this type of work schedule, I'll be honest, I was a little curious how it would all pan out but it is honestly far better than I ever expected. If you're in a creative type position and find yourself being interrupted (or easily distracted, if you're anything like me) do yourself a favor and talk to your boss about a combination of working from home and the office. Though I can really only vouch for myself here, I can definitely say it has been a winning combination.

That being said...I have had to teach myself to become very disciplined on the days I work from home so I thought I'd share my tips with anyone else who may be in a work-from-home position or anyone who may be considering it. Take it for what it's worth, mmkay?! 

#1 Start early. I always have a much more productive day on the days I get up at my 'normal' alarm clock time, which is 5:45am. Though I must admit...during my first trimester, when exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks, I did not stay true to this. I woke up at 7am and stumbled to my computer (#honesttruth). That extra hour and 15 minutes was much needed but now that my energy is back, I'm up and at it bright and early. I wake up, head straight to the coffee pot and get my morning started right away.

#2 Get out of your pajamas. While many people may think that working from home means working in your pajamas, this is a false assumption...for me, at least. Now I'm not saying I get up and do my hair or makeup because I actually never do either on Mondays or Fridays, but I do change out of my pj's, usually into workout clothes, so that I can feel like a semi-normal human being and so that on my lunch break, I'm ready to take Oakley for her walk.

#3 Stick to a routine. Wake up at the same time as you would as the days you're going into an office. Whether you get started with your workday right away, or you throw in a load of laundry, snoozing through your alarm clock is never a good way to start off your day.

#4 Set up your office in a room that makes you happy and is comfortable. After all, you're going to be spending quite a bit of time there. And NO...your couch, though comfortable, does not count as an "office". 

#5. Invest in a good computer. Or two. I have one computer for work, and one personal computer and I am always sure to keep them separate. While they both sit on the same desk and I rarely even turn on my personal computer during work-from-home days, it's nice to have it there when I need it. Also recommended, invest in dual monitors for your machines. Best money spent. EVER.
Kate Spade Agenda here

#6 Plan out your days & write out your goals. I've always been the type to use a paper calendar, rather than a digital version and I absolutely positively without a doubt could not survive without a good agenda. And I mean a gooooood agenda. My current agenda (and honest to God, my favorite agenda of all time) is my new Kate Spade 2015 jumbo agenda.

The Kate Spade 2015 agenda is so nice and clean and not to mention, it has monthly, weekly and daily views, which is a MUST for this girl.

...not to mention the gold touches make it that much more pretty to look at...

...and so do the inspiring quotes that change when you flip to a new month.

#6 Surround yourself with things that inspire you. Like inspiring quotes, yummy candles and pictures of ridiculously good looking men... ;)
Watercolor via Shalyn Nelson | Beautiful Mess dish towel via Anthro | Coaster tutorial here 

#7 Hire ridiculously cute co-workers...specifically the furry, four-legged kind that stick by your side all day long and don't complain when the printer is jammed...

#8 This one may seem silly but you must remember to HYDRATE!! Maybe it's just me but I drink SO much more water when I'm at my office, versus when I'm working from home! Make sure you make it a conscious effort to drink lots of water throughout the day! It helps to detox your body, which improves energy levels and can help you think more clearly. (And Lord knows I need all the help I can get in both of those arenas!)
Mason Jar Mug here

#9 Take a lunch break. I am a huge stickler when it comes to breaking up your workday by always taking a lunch break. Because I'm at home, my lunches usually consist of some sort of quick leftovers from the night before or a salad so I spend the first 10-15 minutes eating, and the last portion of my lunch break taking Oakley for a walk. Even if you don't have a dog, get outside on your lunch break and get some fresh air. I promise you will notice a HUGE difference in your day and your creativity from just a simple walk around the block!

#10 Have a cutoff time. Though I don't always follow this, I typically stop working at the end of a "normal" work day. Though I love what I do, it's so important to have that work/life balance and shutting down your computer and not responding emails after 5pm is the first step to achieving that balance.

And if you're still here, you get an award. ;)

No but really...I definitely encourage the whole "work from home thing" if it fits for your position...especially any type of creative position, but I also HIGHLY recommend setting guidelines and rules for yourself while working from home. I hope someone out there in the world finds this helpful!


  1. These are all so true! I am also in a marketing/creative type position and I work form home about 50% of the time. It was hard for me to adjust in the beginning, but once you get into a routine it is just the same as working at the office, but with less interuptions! I feel as though I get more work done at home where it's quiet than in the office! Good for you for staying full time after baby arrives! I still have not made up my mind...

  2. Yes! I work from home on Tuesdays and Thursday via remote office, and a lot of these I totally agree with. Granted, I'm not putting ANY of them into action right now (except the furry coworker thing!) as I'm sitting in my pajamas on the couch and reading blogs while working, haha! But my husband and I are also living with my parents right now to save money to buy a home, and there isn't a room in this house that I can go into to be by myself except the bathroom, hah. I still manage to get my work done. Snuggle that Oakley for us all!

  3. Such great tips! The color of your Kate Spade planner is to die for.

  4. what great tips! I also always carry around my paper agenda....you feel so accomplished when you get to cross things off your list!

  5. I need to follow some of these tips, myself! HA! Sometimes I wish I had an office to go to some days of the week because working from home all the time can be lonely and harder to stick to my schedule and be disciplined. I have been wanting to get a good planner lately too. I have everything in my phone but I really like to see things on paper because it's easier for me. I will be looking into the one you have!

  6. This is a great list, and I can tell you from experience that having a good schedule like this will make working at home as a mom will make it that much easier! :)

  7. I admit I did not read all of this, but I did tune into "Katie-17" and am wondering if this means weeks? LOL!!! IF SO-LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    Best BFF ever

  8. I need to figure out how to find one of these jobs! Seems like the dream. :)


  9. Thanks for sharing these great tips. I just love that planner it is adorable!

  10. Your space looks so cute! Can I work there? And if I change out of the pjs I actually slept in and put on a fresh pair, does that count as changing out of my pjs?

  11. That is great you will continue to work from home 2 days a week when P is here, will give you some extra baby time! Jon works from home unless he is traveling and he is so disciplined with it... unlike I was when I worked from home ha

  12. These are great tips!! I work from home sometimes too and oddly, I also drink more water when I'm at work!! I've purchased some fun tumblers for home to try to motivate me!!

  13. Thank you for sharing such great tips! I found myself saying check, check, and check after many of these- love it!:) I'm debating whether or not to purchase the 2015 K.S planner. I currently use the 2014 gold and white polka dot one but it has seen a lot of wear & tear:( hmm..decisions!

  14. These are all really really excellent tips and still something I struggle with! Your job sounds really great and how amazing that you love what you do! I need to be better at finding a balance! I have to ask... how did you find this job?

  15. awesome tips! Some days I really wish I could be working from home. On days that I come in early or stay after I get so much more done because of the less distractions than during regular office hours. I don't think it is anywhere in my near future but who knows maybe one day it will be, until then I am going to be swooning over your office in all it's prettiness!!!

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