We are nearly three months into 2021, and while life is beginning to show signs of being on the path to being normal, it seems that we still have a ways to go. While it’s been hard for everyone, if you’re a working mother with a career, job, or business of your own, you are likely burning the candles at both ends. On its face, it seems like working from home should be an ideal situation. You don’t have to deal with traffic, or long lines at your favorite coffee or breakfast place. There are different wardrobe choices to make when working from the waist up. Thankfully, there are ways to make lounge or active wear look more professional than sweats.
There are definite advantages to working from home, but one of the biggest drawbacks is defining the boundary lines between our home and professional lives. It’s easy to fall into the role of mother/wife/girlfriend/partner/daughter very easily. So many women find their work flow interrupted by hungry children, spouses, or even calls from family because you are at home, because they don’t see the line. To that end, there things you can do to remind people you are working from home. It’s not a day off with occasional bursts of work.
Most women are natural multitaskers and it’s easy to slip back into that mode. The problem is once you do, you’ve taken care of one thing, while leaving more for you to do in the end and it will be frustrating. As much as I don’t like to admit this, we are often our own worst enemies. So, it’s worth taking the time to really figure out how you can make working from home truly work for everyone, especially you.
Last year Healthline had some great tips at the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020). Here are just a few:
Designate a workspace
Set up an area of your house to use as a workspace. Sitting down in this space sends a clear signal to your brain that it’s time to focus. Stay away from your designated workspace when you’re not working.
Once you’ve completed your workday, resist the urge to check in with any professional obligations until you begin work again.
If creating a mobile workspace helps you concentrate, set up a few spaces in your house where you can work. This may help your posture since you’ll change up your seated position. Giving yourself a set amount of time in each location may help you manage your time.
Make sure that your workspace is ergonomic. This will remove risk factors that lead to musculoskeletal injuries and allow for increased performance and productivity. While sitting on a comfy couch or your bed may sound nice, typing on your laptop while doing so for a long time could strain your back or neck.
Get ready for the day
Take the time to go about your normal morning routine, take a shower, and get dressed for the day. If you normally go to the gym, supplement your routine with exercising at home with weights for strength-training and cardio.
Designate some work clothes, even if they’re more comfortable than your typical professional attire. If you prefer to do your hair and makeup, then go for it, even if it’s only for you.
Or allow your skin to breathe and use this time to improve its health by applying only serums, toners, or masks.
Set a schedule
Instead of having a vague plan, create a daily schedule and put it in writing. Generate a digital schedule or jot it down with pen and paper, and stick it in a visible place. Come up with a detailed to-do list that’s broken down into categories based on importance.
Create an eating plan
Plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time, such as at the beginning of the week or workday. This prevents you from working to the point of hunger and then scrambling to decide what to eat. You should also avoid eating at your workstation.
Choose foods that boost concentration, try to avoid refined carbs, processed foods, and sugary drinks. These types of carbs lead to the afternoon lull, when many find themselves struggling to stay alert. Look to food that aid in alertness with the protein needed to fuel you through the rest of your work day.
Get a little help from your friends
Whether it’s a coworker or a longtime bestie, your friends are always there to lend an ear. They can help talk you through a work issue, or give you a laugh to make the day better and lighten your mood. This kind of playing hooky has its benefits. It gives you a chance to reset.
Communicate with your spouse or partner
It is easy to fall into the roles of mom and dad or even husband and wife without ever really taking about the things that are actually on our minds. Set aside a time when the two of you can talk without distractions. No cell phones, children, or television. Communication is the life’s blood of relationships, but you must have conversation (s) to keep it flowing.
Working with a baby
Use a baby carrier or wrap so you can keep your child close to you. To keep your hands free, use a dictation app. If you’re on a call, you can let your recipient know that you have a baby at home in case there are any interruptions or noises.
Use their nap times efficiently, and try to schedule work that requires intense focus or conference calls during these times.
You may want to have a conversation with your boss about a modified schedule that works for both of you while working from home with a baby.
7. Working with older children
If you have young children, you’ll want to focus on their needs. But if you have an older child that can take on some extra responsibility, you can set them up with some very clear instructions and activities for help taking care of younger children or completing household chores.
You may want to work in the early morning or late evenings while your children are sleeping, especially when you need to focus on complex tasks.
Balance structure and play
Encourage your kids to entertain themselves, but help them manage their time wisely. Set up activities to engage them.
Children can also be overstimulated, so limit their screen time and allow for occasional boredom to arise. Be firm in your approach and set clear boundaries, expectations, and consequences.
Finding your work/life balance is a work in progress. Some days it will be blue skies and sunny. Conversely, there will be times when you’re ready to pull your hair out. Remember to take a minute, breathe, and let it pass. It’s okay if your plan goes awry, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and the best part is that tomorrow is another day.
If you’re like my family, everyone eats bananas, but there’s always one lonesome banana left behind. Here’s a quick recipe that uses one banana to make a delicious muffin.
Banana Nut Muffins
Servings 4 muffins
1 ripe banana
1 egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or egg replacer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons olive oil (virgin olive oil or olive oil, not extra-virgin)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar pulsed)
1/4 cup brown sugar (organic brown sugar, Swerve brown sugar substitute)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Instructions: Preheat oven to 325-degrees
Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray with canola or vegetable spray
In a medium size mixing bowl, mash the banana. Then stir in the egg, vanilla extract, and oil until combined. Then add all at once the flour, sugars, baking soda, and salt. Fold until combined. Then stir in the chopped walnuts gently. Do not over-stir. Pour the batter into the muffin tin. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for five minutes before turning out onto a rack. Enjoy warm. Muffins will keep for three days at room temp lightly covered