5 Work from Home Hacks (and a walk down memory lane of every single job I’ve had🤣🤭)

I love working from home…I have loved working from home for a long time, but it can have its own learning curve. I’m growing in this area and finding ways to help get actual work done instead of more “Sara decided to wallpaper another wall when she should be doing XYZ”

First of all a little recap of all the jobs I’ve had in my life …buckle up! Haha…it all started in high school when I worked at K-Mart. I adored this job…we would call each other on the intercom- “would employee 219 please report to the cafeteria” (for break time oatmeal muffins!)

My first 3 years at college I worked in the snack shop and bookstore. I loved these jobs too- the fun cash registers, seeing my friends, making microwave popcorn and Otis spunkmeier cookies.

My last year of college was the doozy and never before or since has there been a harder job for me. I worked as a registered nurses aid at a mental hospital. That is a whole ‘nother post for another day…but let’s just say it was eye opening, shocking, entertaining, smelly, and enlightening….but also lucrative!

After graduating from college, I moved to Guam to teach kindergarten. This was also a challenge. Mostly because I had the expectations of everything being joyful and magical all the time, just like it had been when I student taught under master teachers. It was all consuming and very rewarding. I loved the kids and learned more in the first month of teaching than in 4 years of college.

The second year of our marriage, Dave and I moved back to the states and anticipating starting a family soon, I opted not to dive back into teaching, but to get a more temporary job. I worked at hallmark until we found out I was pregnant with Wes! Hallmark was very lackluster and boring compared to teaching. I’m glad that was short lived.

This is where our journey gets relevant: this starts my career as a stay at home-work mom.

I always knew I wanted to stay at home if we had kids. Dave and I talked about this very early on in our dating days. I was inspired by my mom who mostly worked from home. She also enjoyed the homey pursuits; cooking, baking, sewing, decorating, entertaining, painting, gardening.

I’ve been thankful that God allowed me to stay home, and for the most part it was a magical time, especially when we got out of the continuous diaper changing days of babyhood and the tantrum stage of toddlers….preschool and elementary ages were wonderful. Then came the teenager stages; which I love, and the young adults are the best, even though we don’t get to see them as much.

When they were young I worked as their homeschool teacher, and part time on my art. I remember sitting at my kitchen counter painting canvases, while keeping one eye on them. Art classes were seamless since my kids could participate and help.

It has been a gradual shift to being able to have more time to work on my art and art classes, as the kids are growing up.

Allllllll that to say, I’m now working part time still as a mom, trying to be there for family in whatever capacity they need…talking, mailing them things, shopping, praying, making food…it’s all still really important, and that plus being a wife to Dave is the most important part. Making sure the fridge is stocked, cooking, cleaning, being available, it’s all my job, and I love it. Also being available to have people over and help out at church as much as possible.

Now we get down to the brass tacks of this whole dialogue (monologue 🙄)!!

It is such a privileged to work from home*, and I thank the Lord for this situation. But it can be tricky to get work done because there is always going to be housework and people who need something. These are the 5 things that have helped me:

ONE] make a lunch in the morning to eat later. This is a game changer!! especially since I’m already making Skye’s lunch, it’s a good time to do it. This has a twofold benefit. One, I don’t have to stop everything I’m doing to make lunch. I get so distracted while making lunch and usually end up spending too much time starting to bake something or just generally taking everything out of the fridge and wasting time. Secondly, it really helps to eat a more balanced lunch of a more modest size than I would if I went into the kitchen and decided to try 3 new recipes and eat them all!

TWO] go somewhere else to get a chunk of computer or writing work done. This can be the library or Starbucks, the car, or a park…it’s good to get out of the house every once in awhile when you work from home. This takes away the temptation to do laundry, cleaning, or decorating. That stuff will all get done. But getting out of the house gives you permission to work on the goal at hand.

Another note about getting out of the house; Wil told me he’s going to try and go to Starbucks regularly to do his homework so he can meet new people, this is possible when you go back to the same place and become a regular. I love this idea and will try and do it. It’s good to get some regular peeps who you see outside of your family, neighbors, and church friends.

OR…(still number two) go somewhere else to gain inspiration! This is HUGELY helpful to me when I get dry creatively. The library, museums, parks, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, thrift stores, and book stores are all so helpful in jumpstarting the creative juices.

THREE] make specific goals. This has helped me a TON! I’ve tried the batch work ideas and delineating time slots to work on specific things, but the thing that helps me most is a master list for the week of what I want to get accomplished.

I love lists, so this works well for me. I’m also not a type A personality who has a breakdown if I can’t get everything done. Plus, after you do this for awhile you know how much to put on the list. I always write down what I know I can get done, plus a little bit more to challenge and push towards excellence (cheesy!) 🤣 😉

But this list is not set in stone (again the flexibility of my work, I know I’m spoiled), if there is a family emergency or other needs that people have, I know I can shuffle things around and get my goals accomplished later on in the week.

FOUR] get dressed and completely ready even if you are staying home all day. This is important for me to feel good. I want to be ready, I feel more accomplished and professional – even though my professional clothes are all the same …a floral boho type shirt and jeans 🙂 I LOVE the occasional day when I can stay home and go nowhere!! I would say that happens about twice a week. But in order to feel like a decent human being, I get ready in the morning.

FLORAL !
OR PLAID….
OR A GOOD T-SHIRT!

FIVE] plan your week with equal alone times and with people times. This is a different fraction for everyone. I think I’m in the middle…needing time alone = time with people. Plan ahead, look at the calendar and schedule time with others. I like to schedule walks with friends, time with Dave and kids, time with my parents, church, having people over. It’s all necessary. But when you schedule yourself 100% of the time with people, you don’t get any work done! It’s all important. God created us to be creative and to have challenging work.

None of this is rocket science, and it’s all been said before, but there is definitely a fine balance in working from home: it can go from productive and organized, to chaos or despair in minutes. I think there’s help in taking note of how much you need to be with others, managing your goals, getting dressed for the day, getting out, and making your lunch ahead of time.

I would love to hear your tips and realities about working from home! I’ll post about this on instagram and would love your input and conversation over there 🧡💕

*my self imposed job specifications are preparing for art class and teaching art classes, working on art to sell at the shops and on Etsy, working on the iPad drawing stickers or wallpaper designs, blogging, and other random creative projects (not all at once 😉 )

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