Sample Daily Routine for Working from Home

by Melanie Edwards on January 27, 2010 · 46 comments

in Wahm

Last week I posted a message on twitter and facebook about being happy with my daily work from home routine. Specifically, it looked like this:

Happy with work from home routine Many responded that they wanted in on the secret and wondered if I would share what I’m doing. Though my routine is not extraordinarily different than most, I’ll go ahead and share my new schedule that is helping me to feel balanced. Keep in mind that this is a sample of an extremely smooth and good day. Some days my schedule adjusts to my personal mood or those interruptions we often have to deal with. However, the days that I follow this routine, are the days that I feel my best and feel like I truly have achieved work-life balance – for that day at least.

Daily Planner

Photo by Joshua Stevens from Flickr

Sample Daily Routine for Work at Home Moms (WAHM)

  • 6-8 am: This is wake up and get ready time. I’m not always up at 6 am – most days it’s closer to 7 am, but the plan is to be up, dressed, and get baby girl ready for school by 8 am. She helps a lot by getting herself dressed (most times I pick out the clothes for her the night before) and not dragging her feet when eating breakfast.
  • 8-9 am: It doesn’t normally take an hour to drop off baby girl at preschool and get back. But, I like to allow some padding room in my schedule. So, as long as I’m home by 9 am, the rest of the day will flow more smoothly.
  • 9-10 am: This is my time to work out and eat breakfast. I recently started exercising using my Wii and have found that if I get my work out done early in the day, it helps set my mood for the day and gives me a little boost of energy to keep going. The days I waited to do my work out later in the day or even in the evening, I had to force myself to exercise and I felt like I was dragging during the day.
  • 10 am – 1 pm: This is when the bulk of my work is done. Whether it’s client work or blog-related work for myself, I try to do most during this time. I may not get all that I would hope to get done in this time, but if I can make progress each day, at the end of the week, I feel like I accomplished much.
  • After 1 pm I grab some lunch, shower, and get to doing something for the house. Notice, I did not say I “clean the house.” No, instead I do something for the house. Even if it’s just one thing. For example, I can put a load of clothes to wash, or fold another load, or do the dishes.
  • This normally brings me to about 3 pm at which point I try to get a head start on dinner. I also go back on the laptop and check in again on email and various social media sites to answer any comments, manage followers, etc.
  • Around 5 pm, I wrap up for the day and either go pick up baby girl from school or wait for my husband and her to get home, if he picks her up.
  • The rest of the evening is spent doing the dinner/family thing, along with the nightly bath-bed routine for baby girl. After that, the husband and I have some time together. Sometimes this means watching a movie or playing video games together, and other times this time consists of me on the laptop doing more work while he does something else. But, we’re still talking and interacting together.

Why is this schedule working for me?

The reason, simply, is that it contains a little of everything. I am able to work on the house, the blog, client work, and exercise. Though I didn’t spend all day on any one activity, I still got things done and overall feel like there was a good balance of things in my day. For me, it works. And again, I have to stress that not every day goes according to plan. There are days that I don’t get much done around the house because I have priority work that has to be done. Or days that I don’t do much work and concentrate on cleaning the house, if I feel like it’s slipping.

For those who have kids at home with them since they don’t go to preschool/school, you’ll probably have many changes to such a schedule. I know the days I’ve kept my daughter home from preschool, I had to tweak my routine to fit in activities with her. But, I involved her in the cleaning and exercise parts of the day and used my night hours more to compensate for the lost work time during the day.

I hope that in sharing my daily routine, you find some things you can change in yours to feel more balanced. Remember that the most important thing to keep in mind – and the one that has helped me the most – is that you don’t have to do everything in one day. But, doing a little of each will help you feel productive without losing your sanity.

What does your daily routine look like? Share with us in the comments below what you’ve found works for you and let’s all help each other find our personal work-life balance.

You might also like: 5 Tips for Working from Home for the WAHM.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 2manyboyz January 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm

It can take a while to tailor a schedule to fit your needs. Sounds like you've settled in really well!
Mine's pretty similar. I also like to allow myself plenty of padding. Too much rigidity is just plain stressful. I get the bulk of my errands done between 8:30-11:00, while the middlest is at VPK. I wish I could squeeze in exercise in the am, but it usually ends up being while the littlest is napping.

Dinnertime is about the same, here, but I'm stuck doing my actual *job* after the kids go to bed. I key a bit here and there, during the day, but the longest stretches are at night.

Thanks for sharing your day. It's really helpful.

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2 modernmami February 2, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I realize that having her in school allows me to get more done in the day. I'd have to adjust this schedule drastically if she was home with me all day.

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3 pchanner January 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I am always a sucker for a good routine. And I find it so hard when my routine has to be changed. I have a huge overall coming up with the move and starting to work full time again. But I am sure that in no time I will find a new routine and love it.

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4 modernmami February 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I'm sure you will. You seem to have a good handle on creating routines for yourself and staying organized.

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5 Lisa Arnold February 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm

As a work from home mom with two young kids underfoot, I'm always looking for tips… these were great! Thanks so much for sharing!

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6 modernmami February 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm

You're most welcome! Hope it helps. :)

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8 Angelica @ Modern Familia July 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Melanie, I see two key ingredients in your schedule: getting up early and “routine.” I have to work on these two. I would love to get up early and get a lot done by the time my kids wake up in the morning, but I find that hard to do because I do go to sleep late. The routine part is so important…I love the way that you allow time for a lot of different things during the day, which ultimately makes you feel grounded and accomplished in all that you are. Thanks for sharing your routine!

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9 modernmami July 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Ay, Angelica. If you only knew that I normally wouldn't wake up so early. But, working full-time trained me to do so, plus our daughter won't sleep past 6 am most mornings. It's still hard, though. Especially now, with the pregnancy.

And yes, I love that feeling of accomplishment in various aspects of my day. That's why I don't stress if I don't do too much of 1 thing – as long as I do a variety.

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10 Monica July 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

This sounds heavenly! I am still working on getting the best routine down with kids at home during the summer and one at home during the school year. Summer is worse because I am very lax with a routine and fly by the seat of my pants!
Thanks for sharing!

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11 modernmami July 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

The days she doesn't go to preschool, are much harder. The routine goes out the window some days. I think it's good to be flexible and have fun in the summer too!

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12 Young And Fabulous July 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm

My routine looks very similar except when they have school, I'm up at 5am to prepare their lunch and snacks for school. Getting your workout done before starting your work really helps boost your mood and energy. Way to go!

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13 modernmami July 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Once she's of school age, I'll have to make changes. It's hard enough to get up at 6, can't imagine getting up earlier! lol

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14 Dariela July 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Wow, I read your routine and I'm impressed. It is very good to have one. I have never succeeded with a routine and now that I'm definitely working from home I should have one. I'm a person that doesn't like compromises and that's why I'm afraid to routines, I feel like I don't want to do what a paper says, LOL and it's myself that would write it!!
But the funny thing is that I do have a little routine, it just has variations depending on workload!
Oh well, sorry, I rambled! I love it when you talk about this, work at home balance tactics, it's very useful Melanie!!

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15 modernmami July 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Dariela, I vary the routine too! This is really more of an outline – some days it's way off. Now with the pregnancy, my routine is more of a no-routine. lol

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16 Ana Lilian Flores July 24, 2010 at 12:54 am

My life has been changing so much this past year that I really haven´t been able to accomplish any sort of routine. It hasn´t helped either that my husband has also had a changing schedule. I really need to balance out both our schedules to be able to even come up with a routine.
For now, I am officially working from home 3-days of the week so, at least, that sets the pace for a routine.
The most important aspect I need to set in place is waking up at 6am (I really, really want to..but I need to go to sleep earlier) and incorporating an exercise schedule. THAT would make me feel more grounded, for sure.

Thanks for sharing this!

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17 modernmami July 25, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Setting specific days for working is a great start! It took me a while to get to this routine and now with the pregnancy, I'm tweaking it once again. You'll find it.

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18 Dzrunner1 July 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hi Melanie, that is a great schedule. And you are right, balance is the key. I think taking time for yourself is essential to be successful at home. All work and no self-care makes Debbie a cranky girl.

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19 modernmami July 25, 2010 at 2:35 pm

haha! I need to incorporate more self-care time, for sure. But, it's a work in progress.

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20 Cuponeando July 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Thank you for giving us a taste of your routine. Mine is similar is just have a later start time. I just wish I was a morning person.

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21 modernmami July 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I'm not a morning person by choice! lol Really, if I had to choose, I'd
start around 9 am or so. But, that's impossible with my daughter.

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22 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

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23 modernmami July 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

At the time, I was doing really good with keeping up with the exercise. But,rnnow with the pregnancy, I’m not really exercising too much – though, Irnshould be walking on the Wii Fit every day. :-P

Reply

24 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

25 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

26 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

27 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

28 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

29 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

30 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

31 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

32 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

33 Silvia July 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

Reading your routine I realized how similar is to mine, however I still need to add the exercise to the equation, I use to be really good with that until I started my blog last year. Also, my son is starting first grade which will change some things a bit :)

Reply

34 modernmami July 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

At the time, I was doing really good with keeping up with the exercise. But,rnnow with the pregnancy, I’m not really exercising too much – though, Irnshould be walking on the Wii Fit every day. :-P

Reply

35 modernmami July 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

At the time, I was doing really good with keeping up with the exercise. But,rnnow with the pregnancy, I’m not really exercising too much – though, Irnshould be walking on the Wii Fit every day. :-P

Reply

36 modernmami July 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

At the time, I was doing really good with keeping up with the exercise. But,rnnow with the pregnancy, I’m not really exercising too much – though, Irnshould be walking on the Wii Fit every day. :-P

Reply

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