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How to juggle your business and home commitments

It’s hard being a working parent at the best of times but when you also work for yourself from home, this can bring additional complications as you live and work in the same space.  It can be hard to find your work space, which means you can be less productive and focused on what you need to achieve.

I’ve worked from home a little in the past, but now I am home-based I know how tricky home-working can be. I don’t have an office at home so I work at the dining table or other spaces throughout the house depending on my mood. I love my family but I have found that I’m surrounded by the stuff of our daily lives; toys, books, breakfast things abandoned in the rush for school, all makes it super hard to concentrate and not feel guilty about the state of our home!

Each time I made a coffee I’d be reminded that we needed more bread, to pay the milkman and put a dark load on. I’d notice more and more that we really needed to repaint the hallway and when it was time to vacuum the stairs again. As the day progressed, I’d become acutely aware that it was soon time to collect our little person, I’d need to think about dinner and getting some household chores done.

I love my family and running my own business makes it possible to create flexibility around the people that are important to me. However, all of this physical and mental clutter makes for a rather distracting working environment and it was not something I’d really considered when I made the decision to work for myself.

After a bit of research and some trial and error, we’ve worked out a way to manage the distractions and I’d like to share my ideas for managing it all with you!

Declutter your routine

    1. Partition your day – when you enter that office/walk into that work space you are now at work. Allow yourself timed breaks and use some of that time for household tasks if you wish
      (hang out some washing or emptying the dishwasher) but be disciplined. I pretend I’ve popped home for lunch but need to get back before I’m late!
    2. Schedule aspects of your home life as you would your working week. Plan in time to manage laundry and clean your home during the evenings and weekends so that you know it’s under control. Divide up jobs and play to everyone’s skills – assign responsibility for jobs by preference or strength. Weekly plannerIf we enjoy or are good at an aspect of a task, we are more likely to take responsibility for getting it done. If you can, get a cleaner to help. Remember that just because you are home does not mean that it’s all your responsibility
    3. Create a meal plan each weekend and get the groceries in so that you are prepared for meal times. As the decision is already made for you, you won’t have to think about what’s for dinner. Post on a board in the kitchen so you don’t have to field questions from family members about what’s for dinner!
    4. Give yourself permission to ignore the household stuff – you have a plan and they it can wait until you are ‘back from work’
    5. Allow time in your morning routine to deal with the breakfast things and have a quick tidy round the kitchen and area near your office space to avoid those niggling feelings of chaos around you
    6. Make as much use of afterschool clubs, hobby clubs and family as you can, don’t think that because you work from home that you are available for childcare. Ensure you create a balance between your business and your homelife/family/other important commitments

Organise your working environment

  1. If you have an office, great, make it your own and organise it to best suit your working style. Create a clear space so that you can spread out. You may want to make it a beautiful space to enjoy and inspire you – a plant or beautiful image will brighten it up but don’t go mad, a cluttered desk will distract you and make it hard to focus. It will also attract more clutter so keep it under control! Have a place for everything; use drawers, files for papers and shelves to tidy things away neatly for when you want to work differently. Label files and storage so that you can find what you need easily
  2. If your office doubles as a home office too, make sure that you have separate filing and storage for home matters and family items. You want to create an area where you can focus on your business so clear all other distractions when you come to work
  3. If you make use of the dining room table or a table in a quiet corner, create a storage box that you can move with you that contains any stationary, filing and bits that you will need to hand. Ensure that you clear away the debris of the morning, remove breakfast things, move toys and other distracting items out of your line of sight, give yourself plenty of clear space to sit and walk around as you need

Working for yourself can be so rewarding and bring a sense of control over your work-life that you may not have had before. But unless you’re really good at partitioning, it can also bring a heightened awareness of the state of your home environment, and along with this guilt and distraction. I found that I could create a calm and productive space by changing my mindset and routines. You too can find the way!

 

Laura Williams, of OrganisedWell, helps working parents all over the Midlands to declutter and organise their homes, offices and lives. To find out more contact her at laura@organisedwell.co.uk, visit her website organisedwell.co.uk or follow her on social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

 

A Note From Brilliant Together

 

Thank you to Laura for doing this guest blog for us; I work from home and struggle with the juggle of home and work everyday, so I’ll definitely be taking on board her great top tips for a decluttered work space. For other top tips of how to balance work and home, read our blogs on: How to Find The Time to Start Your Business When You’re Also A Mum and Work From Home – How to Avoid Feeling Isolated

If you have some great business advice you’d like to share and would like to do a guest blog for us, please e-mail us at: hello@brillianttogether.co.uk

Brilliant Together provides expert business advice and help to start ups and small businesses, helping you to do what you do best, we do the rest!  get in touch.

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