Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Working Girl: Three Tips to Finish All the Things

I work from home, and figured I'd share some insights into my days here with you. The days are hard and long sometimes, and chaotic with a 3.5 year old running around and under and through this home. Between business and home and parenting and life, I'm doing my best to stay afloat. And somehow, by the Grace of God, it's happening.

So, here are my top three suggestions for getting stuff done during the day if you work from home:

1. Make a list. This is how a conversation with a friend went recently:
friend: Do you make a to-do list every day?
me: Yup.
friend: Oh good.
me: Why?
friend: It just comforts me to know that at least someone in this world has their life together.
me: If I'm a gauge of having things together, this world is in trouble.
But really. Make a list. Then pick three things on that list that you know you have to do. Then choose one.

2. Have some semblance of office hours. I realize one of the perks of working from home is the flexibility and ease of setting your own hours and such. But if you're anything like me this "flexibility" turns into one day of working from 7am to midnight, and the next day of working sporadically from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

So I have "general" hours. Hours I know I plan on working, and I use those primarily for my business. Sometimes I use personal hours. But mostly, I stick to my game plan. Saying "I'll call you on Monday when I open up my office" is so freeing on a Saturday afternoon. Saying to myself, "I'll reply to this email now because it's 4:42 p.m. and I'm 'leaving' my office in 20 minutes" will help me force productivity. But, don't start working while you're drinking your first morning coffee. Have a time set for when you'll "turn off" work (exceptions occasionally allowed). Take lunch breaks. Take "water cooler" breaks. Take weekends. Your job should not be your life. It may take up parts of your story. It may consume some hours, days, weekends, weeks, months, but it is not who you are.

3. Do 5-10 minute home bursts. It's hard for me to work at home and feel like while I work, I'm neglecting home and the M-Bird. So I use at-home bursts. A five minute dishwashing session. A 10 minute game of Chutes and Ladders. A 10 minute put-away-laundry burst. A five minute "watch my puppet show" attendance. These little bursts always, always save my day, and heart, and sanity.

Got any other work-at-home tips? Share below!


  1. Andrea, I really needed this today. I'm a new "work at home mama" getting ready to launch my business and I've been uber stressed about organizing it all and balancing home and work. I've got a little guy who is 16 months old and another on the way at the end of September. Knowing I'm not alone in these trenches is so refreshing! Thank you!

    P.S. This is one of my first times to visit your blog, but I'll definitely be "following" you - any chance you'll be at Allume in October (I know you're designing the site and it's beeeeautiful!) My husband and I will be leading worship there on Saturday night and I'd love to connect if you're around!

    1. Alle - It's no easy feat to work at home with little ones. It is super stressful at times!! It's refreshing for me too to know that I'm not the only one :) And yes, I'll be at Allume this year! Let's try to connect, for sure. :)

  2. You are one lady who gets stuff done!!!!!! I'm always amazed at your turn around time! Now I know how you get it all done!

  3. I love this list! And I love making lists :) Now must learn: implementing items on said lists. But you have inspired me :)

    1. I love lists too! I think that's one of the real reasons why I make one daily. I really just love making them.

  4. Totally stealing your idea of home bursts.