When I look back to just a couple of years ago, the woman I see is disorganized, not creative. She is confused, and each day seems to pass by in a blur. When the night sets in, she finds herself wondering how all those hours passed.
There is a balance, of course. We want flexibility, spontaneity, and to leave plenty of time for impulse and snuggles. I never have, and still do not, desire a scheduled, regimented day. I do however, like to know that the things that need to get done will- at least most days.
Working From Home and Getting Things Done
Working from home allows me to be with my children around the clock. I set my own schedule, and can say “yes” to all the fun homeschool activities that happen in our area. We can go to sleep when we are tired, and wake when we are rested. If I want to be able to continue to always say “yes” (to travel, to gymnastics, to lunch-on-the-go), I need to earn some surplus income. To do that, I needed to get organized.
I did not want to have to start saying “no” simply because I could not find balance. Now, in just an hour or two a day, I am able to keep saying “yes” and get everything done. It feels so. much. better. Even if I were not working, I’d continue this way.
Changes I Have Made that Have Made Life Better
When I write down the things that need to get done, it frees up mental space for fun and creative things during the day. When I have meals (somewhat) planned, I don’t need to be off in space while at the trampoline park, thinking of what to have for dinner.
I have never been organized, and I’m glad I am now. Here are 5 changes I made to get rid of that confused, harried woman, and take charge of my life. As the saying goes “if you don’t run your day, your day will run you”. Here’s to running my day!
#1 I got real about what starts my day in a good way. When I get up 90 minutes before the kids, it gives me a jump on the day. By the time my children wake, I have taken care of things occupying head space, and I can be fully present with them. Sometimes this is a workout and shower before they rise, other times it’s a cup of coffee and affirmations, and some days, it’s a few work to-do’s crossed off. Getting these things off my plate in the morning allows my kids and I to connect as soon as they wake up.
#2 Delegating tasks. No, not to the kids My husband and I have long shared household responsibilities. Once I started working from home though, we needed to kick it up a notch. Now, each night before bed, Kris gets the kids clothes for the next day ironed and ready. He has a particular spot where he puts them (always kid approved clothes!), and the kids know exactly where to find them so that they can get dressed in time for our activity. This takes loads of pressure off our day. No more searching for a missing sock, finding a shirt that my daughter detests, or a pair of pants two sized too small. It makes our day easier!
#3 I started using a planner. Instead of buying them and pretending I was going to use them, I actually do! I have a weekly/monthly planner. Seeing my week laid out ahead of time allows me to get real about how much time I have/want to spend working. Click here to see how I use my planner and what planner I use (and for a coupon code!).
#4 I Prepare for the Next Day. Whether it is water bottles and snacks, a meal for myself so that I feel good, or an extra set of clothes for a messy activity, I pull it together the night before. This is not done in an obsessive way, and if it doesn’t get done, it’s okay. It makes life more smooth when I do it though!
#5 I Prepare for the Week Ahead. This one is huge for me. I get real about our upcoming week! Sometimes my husband and I are able to make a whole bunch of yummy nutritious meals to have on hand, and other times, we go for boxed or frozen.
We try to have the laundry caught up throughout the week, so we don’t have a big mound of it on Sunday, but if we do, we get through it. I look through my calendar, see what activities we have, see what to-do’s I have, and I share all of this with the kids. They like to know what fun things are coming up!
Meals ready, activities shared, laundry caught up… these things make a big difference in how I feel during the week. The better I feel, the kinder I am to my children. This is always my goal!
For some of you, these are no brainers. Your lives are so organized you can’t imagine why anyone would need to write a piece like this. For others of us though, we struggle through a day wondering how we can be more present… wondering if it’s possible for life to feel less out-of-control. With a few simple changes, and a realistic perspective, it is!
What tips can you offer for balancing working from home while homeschooling your kiddos?