I’ve been working from home now for about 4 years – in that time I’ve learned a lot about working for myself (and others) and how to juggle the balance when you’re in your house all day. Things also changed big time after Piper was born and I’m now working at home with my daughter. Today I thought I’d share a few tips for how I handle this work environment and how my beautiful new HP Spectre helps make the set-up easier for me.
First take a look at this beauty… have you ever seen a prettier laptop? The matte aluminum finish combined with the glossy copper is not only on-trend but so sleek and modern looking. My tech obsessed husband even gushed at the design. Since I’ve begun working on the Spectre I was inspired to put together this list of helpful tips for other work-from-home moms!
- Establish a work space. This can be a separate room (ideal) or just a dedicated area of your house that you do the majority of your work. I’ve long given up on the ideal that my work will stay in one place, though I do have an office where I spend time when my nanny is here and I can really concentrate.
- Find a laptop that works for you. I was looking for a nice desktop to keep in my office but after coming to the realization that about ⅓ of my work happens outside of the office walls I decided it was much smarter to use a laptop. Sometimes I hate that I’m working from around the house but right now it’s the only option for me. I completely power down between 5-7 to spend time with Piper before bed but then break out my laptop again on the couch or in bed to work from 7-9. Having a light, compact and thin laptop like the HP Spectre makes it easy to carry from place to place while juggling Piper — and bring when I travel or to meetings. The HP Spectre is so thin and light (only 2.5 lbs)!
- Set working hours. Like I mentioned above I have a strict schedule I try to keep — of course there are exceptions but I really try to be done work by 5pm to spend time with Piper for dinner and bedtime. I leave my phone in my room if I can (a newer habit) during that time. We have our nanny here MWF 9-4 so those are my concrete working hours. Tuesday and Thursday’s I give myself a little more grace and typically only have childcare in the mornings so in the afternoons I’ll spend time with Piper and try to get some work done while she plays on my laptop until 5.
- Try to avoid household tasks. I really struggled with this for a while, it’s so easy to empty the dishwasher or do laundry during the day when you’re at home — especially when you have childcare but it’s a rabbit hole once you start. Now I avoid household tasks – I’ll give myself about 20 minutes in the morning to clean up the kitchen from breakfast and tidy up and then start working. I also now build time into my Friday schedule while I have our nanny to specifically DO household chores and clean so I don’t have to spend the whole weekend cleaning. Knowing I have this time set aside helps me avoid doing chores during the week.
- Avoid seeing your kids. This was really hard for me at first, but when I have our nanny at home I really try to avoid seeing Piper. It’s become harder for her at this age to see me and not be able to stay with me, so I just try to avoid it all together. That being said I usually help get her lunch ready and say hi if I’m upstairs. If she’s crying or having a tantrum I do not run to her side, this was much harder when she was only a few months old but I’ve gotten much better about letting our wonderful nanny do her job!
6. Establish a routine for your kids. This is paramount in staying on your own schedule — albeit it can take a while at first. We are now in a great routine with Piper. She consistently wakes up at the same time and naps around the same time daily so when I’m working without our nanny I know when I can schedule calls and count on work time.
7. Keep a tight to-do list. I try to make this the day before for the following day. I use To-Do-Ist to help keep everything in one place, personal, business, Glitter Guide etc. I try to be as realistic as possible about what I can actually get done in one day but like to keep a running list of everything I’m trying to accomplish. I use the Day Designer as my paper planner and pick 3 top to-do’s for each day.
8. Get creative with meetings & calls. Most of my work is done on the phone and online which allows me great freedom. I have come accustomed to taking calls in the car while I’m driving through my bluetooth or while I’m walking with Piper in the stroller. Typically I can count on her to be pretty quiet during both of these times allowing me to talk with team members or clients with ease.
9. Don’t get sucked into your email. Email is the biggest time suck for me — you don’t even want to know the number on my inboxes (all 4 of them). When I’m working with Piper and don’t have a nanny there’s nothing that wastes more time than going straight to that inbox. I try to to schedule blocks of time for checking email and then allow myself to actually work on other tasks throughout the day. It’s hard to stick to this but I do notice a big difference in my productivity when I do it.
10. Hire help! This is the biggest way I’m able to be a work at home mom. When Piper was a small baby it was much easier to work with her but now we need childcare. Even if its a babysitter for a few hours once week – hire help that you can rely on to get your work done. Having dedicated time you can count on will make a huge difference. I also just brought on an assistant who works from my office a few hours a week and it’s made a huge difference in how much work I can take on.
I’d love to know if you have any tips for working from home (with kids or not) — it’s definitely still a learning process for me and I’m always looking for ways to improve my productivity. Now that I’m equipped with my new HP Spectre I’m especially excited about diving into a seriously crazy fall season (3 weddings, a trip, and taking on more work at Glitter Guide as Taylor is out on maternity leave) and I’m looking forward to seeing how it keeps me productive during this hectic time!
This post was created in collaboration with HP.
Images by Anna Reynal