17 Feb, 2008
Productivity issues for the WAHM
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life
As some of you know, I work at home as a web content gal and writer.
The photo above was taken at a shoot I went to on Saturday morning. See, that’s my script they’re reading!
I am the happiest clam in the sea. I love what I do, in fact, once, twice, thrice weekly I am being told what kind of a lucky sonofafish I am to have these kinds of gig. BUT BUT BUT, it can definitely be a struggle sometimes. (Do any Fishbowl readers work from home? If so, you know where I’m coming from, right?)
Check out Zen Habit’s tips for staying productive while working from home. I can tell ya, there’s some good stuff in there.
This is what works for me:
1) Having a routine and sticking to it.
I get up with the family, help with breakfast, make lunches, eat my own healthy breakfast and send everyone off to work/school. Then I hit the gym. Gym time is me time. Even when I’m feeling tired, I know that if I spend at least 10 minutes on the recumbant bike reading a trashy magazine it’s better than (a) sitting at home doing nothing, or (b) spending that extra 90 minutes hunched over my computer.
My weak point: checking email before I leave. I am going to make a concerted effort not to check my email before I go to the gym. There’ve been times when I checked, then left the house, only to worry about something the whole time I’m gone.
2) Not watching TV during the day. There’s nothing good on anyway.
3) Getting dressed first thing. It’s easy to spend the day in pj’s or gym clothes, but this does nothing for productivity.
4) Knowing my Good Time. My best work time is between 10 and 2:00 p.m. I try to schedule around it.
5) Eating light, well-balanced lunches, and going easy on the sugar. If I don’t do this I crave a nap, and if I nap I won’t be able to fall asleep at a reasonable time. Which brings me to:
6) Going to bed at a decent hour. Our kids have a bedtime, so I should too. When I’m well rested I feel better and have more energy. More energy = more writing!
7) Limiting caffeine. I drink a big coffee in the morning, a cup of tea after lunch. Too much caffeine and I get jittery. I know my limit!
8) Scheduling house work. Working at home means I have had to find some kind of work/life balance. It’s tough. Housework has to be scheduled in with everything else, otherwise it doesn’t get done.
I haven’t been that great about it lately, but I do have an informal chore list set up for myself every day of the week. Laundry on Mondays etc. This is in addition to daily tidying of the busy areas of the house (kitchen, front hall, dining room).
I’ve also had a lot of sucess with my handy dandy notebook. As a writer, I like having the freedom to jot something down when the inspiration hits. AND, as a mom, this allows me to hang out with the kids and still be “working.” I can carry my notebook everywhere I go.
What I’m not so great about:
– checking email too frequently. I changed my settings so that my email program checks the server for incoming mail every 15 minutes. That helps. A bit.
– watching TV in the evenings. I’m so tired in the evenings that I all want to do is plant myself on the couch. I don’t even want to think of all the things I could be doing with that extra hour or two … which, if I factor in a movie or two, adds up to 10-14 hours EACH WEEK. Yikes.
What works for you? What doesn’t work? Inquiring mothers (okay, maybe just me!) want to know.