5 Tips for Working from Home for the WAHM

by Melanie Edwards on November 19, 2009 · 21 comments

in Wahm

It’s been nearly two weeks since I left my full-time job and have been working from home. In the last two weeks, I’ve had days that were really really productive and days that were not very productive at all. In thinking back, there were things I did differently on those days that perhaps had an effect on my productivity. I realize now that just a few changes in my routine or habits for the day, provide me with a greater chance of getting things done. With that, I share with you my personal tips for working from home.

Home Office

5 Tips for Working from Home for the WAHM (or anyone really)

  1. No TV
    This should come as no surprise, but it’s worth repeating. If I try to work on the laptop and watch TV at the same time, one of the two suffers. So, what’s the point in wasting energy by having the TV as background noise if I’m concentrating on work? Or conversely, what’s the sense in having my work suffer because I keep pausing to look up at the TV? Choose one or the other. This will also help with saving money on the power bill.
  2. Listen to Appropriate Music
    I am a person that needs music to be able to work. When working in total silence, my brain doesn’t function. I know, it’s a little contrary to how most people function. But, for me, the silence is ear splitting and doesn’t let me think straight. So, I always have music on. However, there are certain types of music that allow me to get more work done than others. I’ve found that lately, listening to more acoustic or chillout music has helped me when writing or when just brainstorming ideas. That’s a personal taste, but the idea is to find music that inspires you and help the ideas flow. You don’t want to be distracted by the music.
  3. Sit at a Desk
    When I worked outside the home all day, I was accustomed to working on my social media and blogging business at night by sitting on the couch on my laptop. This worked fine at the time since it was only a couple of hours each night. But, now, I realize that the days I tried the same method, I didn’t get as much accomplished as the days that I sat down in a proper chair at a table. We have an actual office area with a desk, but it’s at the very back of the house and I’ve found our dining table more appealing since it’s in a brighter part of our house. If you have a desk and office space that you’ve made your own, then even better! Either way, though, sitting upright instead of slouching down into the comfy couch works much better.
  4. Eat and Drink Properly
    I am the worst about this. I will go hours and hours and forget to eat. Or just plain ignore the hunger signs. I even tweeted about it. I get so caught up in the work, that getting up to get something to eat is pushed to the side sometimes. The same for drinking water or any fluids. But, that is so bad. So, I have to remind myself to take a break and get some food and a bottle of water. It helps me in not just feeding my brain so that I can continue to be productive, but also provides a quick mental break and has many times allowed for new ideas to flow.
  5. Shower and Get Dressed
    This may seem ridiculous to include since I think we all know not to go around stinky and naked, but what I’m really saying is do this early in your day. The days I worked in my PJs and waited to shower until the afternoon, I felt out of it. I fed into the feeling and didn’t really do much. When I shower early on, it helps me feel refreshed and ready to get things going. And you don’t have to sit around your house dressed like you were going to a business meeting either – unless you want to. Just change out of your “bumming around the house” clothes.

So, go ahead. Try some of these simple ideas and see if you feel better about yourself during the day and in turn, get more done.

And, please, share any additional tips you have in the comments below.

***More resources on productivity I’ve saved on delicious***

I’m providing these Tips for Working from Home in a printable format for you to download and share with others. Feel free to share liberally by pointing back to this original post.

Photo credit: supershoppertoo

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emee November 19, 2009 at 8:08 pm

These are great tips! My addition would be: DO NOT get tempted to do housework during your business time. This is a hard temptation for me to resist: “Oh, just one load of laundry I’ll throw in” or “I’ll feel much better if I just get the dishwasher running”. It quickly adds up and eats into the time you need for your work and clients.

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2 Melanie (ModernMami) November 19, 2009 at 11:39 pm

@Emee, That’s a great reminder! It’s important to separate the two.

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3 Neena November 20, 2009 at 12:10 am

Your tip about getting dressed for work is priceless. It is so tempting to wake up, quickly check email, get the kids off to school, and start working. Before I blink, the day is gone and the kids are home – and yep I am still in my pj’s. If I get ready – I get so much more accomplished!

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4 Melanie (ModernMami) November 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm

@Neena, Don’t you just hate that moment in the day when you realize the day IS gone and you didn’t do jack? LOL I feel you on that.

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5 Erin Pyle (@erinjeany) November 20, 2009 at 12:21 am

Great tips! I don’t think people understand how difficult it actually is to work at home. They think we have it easy because we can be home with our kids all day and still earn a paycheck. What they don’t understand is that it requires HUGE dedication and willpower. It isn’t easy. It’s harder than working outside the home. Even my husband doesn’t understand. He just blows my complaints off saying how because I work at home it’s not real work. So it doesn’t have to be taken as serious. Or that I shouldn’t complain since I get to be home all day. Balancing work at home, plus children, plus house work, cooking, etc is more work than most people do at their normal 9 – 5 jobs.

Thank you for writing this article and helping other WAHM’s to make their jobs a tiny bit easier!

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6 Melanie (ModernMami) November 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm

@Erin Pyle (@erinjeany), I’m not sure it’s harder than working outside the home. But, it’s definitely different. I now see both sides even though I’ve only been home 2 weeks. And, I’m so sorry that your hubby doesn’t understand!!! Totally not fair. :(

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7 Mary@Everyday Baby Steps November 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Great tips, Melanie. It is hard for others to understand what it’s like to work at home and the productivity issues that exist for us. Will you check with me on that whole shower/get dressed every day thing when you see me on Twitter? I could use a little nudge on that one some days!

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8 Melanie (ModernMami) November 22, 2009 at 8:02 pm

@Mary@Everyday Baby Steps, I’ll definitely do that! We can start a whole group to keep each other in check. hahaha

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9 Lulu November 22, 2009 at 11:48 am

Excellent points! Although the TV one seems obvious I often try to do both thinking I’ll just it as background noise. It doesn’t often work. Music works best for me too. I do soft jazz mostly. Few words and mostly instrumental.

Working at a desk would probably be best but I am on my couch most of the time and doing fairly ok with that.

Great Post!!!

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10 Melanie (ModernMami) November 22, 2009 at 8:04 pm

@Lulu, Isn’t it funny how the most simple and obvious things make such a difference? I was so used to working with the TV on but now that it’s a long-term thing, I can see it gets in the way. Glad you liked the tips!

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11 Philippa November 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for the great tips. Even though I am not technically a WAHM yet, I am at home with my little one each day and have loads to do around the house. I tend to get distracted by the TV a lot and eat way too many unhealthy snacks.

If I am going to actually write this book I am think about I need to come up with some steps to help me focus while taking care of my son.

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12 Melanie (ModernMami) November 24, 2009 at 10:25 am

@Philippa, Glad you find them useful! I think these tips are good for anyone, not just WAHMs.

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13 rachel January 2, 2010 at 1:01 am

so true … especially 5. feels nice to be dressed in a casual clothes. comfy .. but feeling good.

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14 Melanie (ModernMami) January 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm

@rachel, That’s me. I’m not dressed like I used to for the office and don’t do makeup either, but at least I’m not in my PJs.

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15 Kathy January 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Neena…This is what I feel is my downfall:( If I start working in my PJ's, all of a sudden its 330 and I am jumping in the shower, putting my makeup on, and getting dressed!!! I still can't seem to get a groove on this working from home thing…but I'm trying!!!

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16 Kathy January 29, 2010 at 5:48 am

Neena…This is what I feel is my downfall:( If I start working in my PJ’s, all of a sudden its 330 and I am jumping in the shower, putting my makeup on, and getting dressed!!! I still can’t seem to get a groove on this working from home thing…but I’m trying!!!

Reply

17 Kathy January 29, 2010 at 5:48 am

Neena…This is what I feel is my downfall:( If I start working in my PJ’s, all of a sudden its 330 and I am jumping in the shower, putting my makeup on, and getting dressed!!! I still can’t seem to get a groove on this working from home thing…but I’m trying!!!

Reply

18 Kathy January 29, 2010 at 12:48 am

Neena…This is what I feel is my downfall:( If I start working in my PJ's, all of a sudden its 330 and I am jumping in the shower, putting my makeup on, and getting dressed!!! I still can't seem to get a groove on this working from home thing…but I'm trying!!!

Reply

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