Ep 55 | My Tips When Working From Home

My kids eat all day long. So I like to again, like I said, number one, communicate with them on here's where the snacks are. I don't need you coming in and talking to me all day. So having healthy snacks that are available, having fruit that's already washed and ready for them to just grab out of the fridge, having, you know setting things out on the counter to say, okay, here's the snacks that you can eat today. Go for it. That way, they're not bothering you all day long about food and they can be self-sufficient, you know, they're eating healthy things or whatever you feel comfortable with them having and you can move on. Some of those similar, like simple distractions right, are unnecessary and snacks and eating and I just I can't even begin to tell you how much my kids eat all day.

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We're all finding ourselves in a new situation.  Whether you currently work from or not, you are probably working from home with more people in your household than normal.

I'm sharing my 8 tips for how you can set up your day and work from home with less stress, even if you have spouses and kiddos in the home.

In this episode you'll learn:

→ Tip #1 – Communication
→ Tip #2 – Structure
→ Tip #3 – Plan ahead
→ Tip #4 – Schedule breaks
→ Tip #5 – Control your schedule
→ Tip #6 – Snacks!
→ Tip #7 – Set boundaries
→ Tip #8 – Shower

Want to skip ahead?  Here are some key takeaways:

[3:19] Communication is so important. We need to understand what's going on during the week in my schedule, kiddos schedule, spouse's schedule.  And now it's important to know what important meetings are on the schedule so we can coordinate time with the kiddos.
[5:04] Creating structure.  Create a regular routine and set expectations.  This also helps me not get distracted from typical household tasks. Now that we're all home it helps the kids know what's coming next and feel supported.
[6:25] Plan ahead!  I like to know what the rough schedule looks like and the deadlines so we can get everything done.
[8:06] Plan breaks so you're not sitting at your desk all day.  This includes lunch and some time for you to take a break and rest your brain.
[10:13] Control your schedule. It's ok to schedule things out a few days.  Remember that you scheduled tasks and don't have to make everyone's emergencies your emergencies.  Pay attention to your kids' normal schedule as you set up the tasks you need to work on for your business.
[11:53] Snacks!!! Get snacks out and organized so your kids can be self-sufficient and don't have to come to interrupt you.  
[12:53] Set boundaries.  This is important because it's harder to separate work and home life when it's all in one space.  Turn off notifications when you're not working and communicate with your clients and customers when your available hours are.
[15:29] Shower!  I know it might seem simple but it can help you get in the right frame of mind to jump into your business.

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Full Transcript

[INTRO] Hey guys, Sami here with another episode of the Digital Marketing Therapy podcast. And today I want to share some tips with you on working from home. Now I have been working from home for the last three-plus years and trust me it's not without its challenges. And now that we're all kind of self quarantining, staying in our home offices or shutting down, we can't go out to eat at restaurants or go meet friends for drinks or whatever, kids aren't in school. It definitely presents a different challenge in the working from home structure.

So I first off, I'm very blessed to have a job where I can continue to operate as normal-ish in my business. And I know a lot of folks can't, but I just wanted to share some tips that I've found helpful in general and working from home and how we're kind of setting things up for success for myself, for my kids, for my husband, so that everything goes as smoothly as possible, understanding that there will be hiccups along the way. But I just you know, this is what we're doing in order to work through this whole time of uncertainty.

But before we get to that, I wanted to tell you that this episode is brought to you by Your Business Giftbasket giveaway. So I'm participating in a giveaway, that is all freebies, from people that are in the digital marketing online space. So things from email marketing, to social media help, and I'm putting in my Website (re)Design Workbook for free, which is a $47 value. And I'm super excited about it. And so as you're at home, working on your business, kind of figuring out what your next steps are, this is a great opportunity for you to get some free resources all bundled together so that you don't have to go looking all over for them. Pick and choose the things that are going to make the most sense for your business. But head on over to thefirstclick.net/podcast hit up the show notes for the link and check it out. There's lots of great stuff in there, you can register starting today, I believe and then get access to all the freebies starting April 1. So I hope you'll check it out again, thefirstclick.net/podcast , check out the show notes and get all the goodies. And yeah, download that workbook and maybe spend some time during this downtime to work on your website, make sure it has what it needs and continue to generate sales. But for now, let's get to it.

[CANNED INTRODUCTION] You're listening to the digital Marketing Therapy Podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.

[BODY] Okay, so working from home, it has major pluses and major negatives, more positives than negatives in my humble opinion, but I wanted to share with you kind of the eight things that have helped me manage this on a day to day basis. And like I said, I'm not perfect by any means some days are better than others. Some days my patience is better than others. But these are definitely things that help me out during the week. Okay, so let's jump right into it.

Tip #1

So number one is communication. My husband works out of the house typically. He is home now because of COVID-19. But still, it's all about communication. So we tend to chat on Sundays about things that are in my schedule, things that are in his schedule. Usually, he takes the kids to school, and then I'm part of a carpool as far as what days I bring my kids home from school.

That being said, there are always things that change. Sometimes I have a meeting at the school and so I can help take the kids to school or we have doctor's appointments or whatever. There's all sorts of things that can happen. So communication is key so that we can keep track of our schedules and keep things moving forward calmly.

So, like I said, on Sundays, we go through our schedules, we figure out what's going on who has what, and we kind of put together that rough schedule. I am a huge fan and we're going to talk a little bit more about this later, but a huge fan of Google Calendar and having multiple calendars. So my kids have a calendar, I have a calendar, you know, so we can really see the big picture of what's going on and it's easy to schedule things, etc. So, communication is big.

And this is also communication with my kiddos. So now that we are all home, it's very clear, like right now I before I started recording this conversation to say, hey, mommy's getting ready to record a podcast episode, my door is shut. I think I've shared on previous podcast episodes that I do have a sign that lights up outside my door that says recording in progress. So it's a very easy visual for them to know, okay, we can't go in and interrupt her right now. So just making sure that everybody knows what's going on communicating throughout the day communicating weekly schedules. I just can't stress enough that communication is so super important and key. So that's number one.

Tip #2

Number two is structure. So as much as you can try to have some sort of regular routine or things that your family members can expect, and this happens when I'm home alone, this also happens with not getting distracted by household tasks that might need to be done like the dishes like the laundry, yada, yada yada. So in a typical week, I get all my laundry done on the weekends, and I usually shut down around 430 and go downstairs, unload the dishwasher, load the dishwasher and do some dishes so that I can cook dinner and all that good stuff. So that's our typical routine. It's all changing now a little bit but it is what it is. And so having now our structure is a little bit like hey, the kids get a certain amount of screen time and then at around nine o'clock in the morning, they then have to do a certain amount of homework.

So my structure is changing a little bit in order to help support them in what they're going to need for the next unforeseeable future. Few weeks for sure. And so they have routine and I can plan my chunks of work time, my husband can plan now that he's working from home his chunks of work time. So that structure might change. But it's super important to kind of have that rough, that rough plan.

Tip #3

Number three is to plan ahead. So it's great for me to know kind of the next couple of days roughly, this is what our schedule is going to look like. These are my deadlines, or they're my husband's deadlines so that we can plan accordingly so that we could both get our chunks of time together or individually to get our work done. We can still get the things done around the house and that we can still make sure that we're passing off the kids back and forth in order to support each other in this process.

And when I am, when we're just in a normal situation, planning ahead, you know, I always plan on Sundays, I pull my entire schedule together, I know what meetings I have, I start to map out when I'm going to get some tasks completed. And that's more important now than ever so that I can clear my brain and know that I only have to worry about what I have to worry about right now.

Like, for example, recording podcasts, and then I have time dedicated later in the week for specific things. And then also really sticking to that schedule to say, okay, well, I have given myself two hours to write this blog post, I have to get it done in these two hours and then just leaving it at that, which sometimes means things aren't always 100% perfect, but really, perfection is perfection. It's never perfect anyway, so doing the best you can, getting things done.

And I think right now a lot about prioritization and doing the things that have to get done and kind of letting go of the things that aren't really going to move the needle or don't really make the biggest impact but planning ahead helps with all of that. And so I really think that that's super important.

Tip #4

So number four for me is to plan breaks. I don't know about you, but sitting at my desk for hours upon hours upon hours at a time is not really the most exciting thing for me. So just depending on my day, like I've said in previous episodes, when I'm on a phone call, I'll walk around to get away from my desk, but I also like to schedule in lunch or a couple of breaks during the day, excuses for me to get away from my desk. And, and to kind of clear my brain.

So now it's definitely kind of different timing. So, my kids, we kind of set up a structure where they can earn screen time by doing different things. So that's doing homework and doing a little bit of cleanup work. So when we're doing those types of activities, we try to do those in clumps. So I'm down with them, helping them with their homework or helping them set up you know hatever it is that they're working on making sure they're reading a book and just kind of helping them through that.

And then while they have their screen time, that's kind of a moment where I can really sit down and focus and get things done. I feel good knowing that they've done some work that they've had a break that they've really spent some time working their brains and learning and reading and, and whatnot. And so then I can be more focused when I am at my desk, getting things done. So plan your breaks.

And even during normal time, when I'm planning breaks, it might be like, okay, well, I know I need to change the laundry. So even if the buzzer goes off, I'm just gonna wait I have this dedicated time I'm going to go do that then. Or even just something stupid is I'm going to sit down on the couch for 15 minutes and watch a TV show and just decompress for a few minutes. Like give yourself that break. Because the hard part when you work from home, it's really separating, work home and you can always find more work to do. You could always find more things to get done. And so when I schedule in those breaks, it helps me to kind of make that clear break, not feel guilty about it just like you would at a regular job. Okay, so number four is plan breaks.

Tip #5

Number five is control your schedule. And I've kind of talked about this a little bit in these other tips that I've got. But this also comes into play with things like the tasks that you're doing. So I'm a big fan of batching. And I kind of set my schedule up accordingly. So the biggest thing for me that has been a struggle has been you know, when somebody says, “Hey, can we chat, can you talk, can you talk can you get on the phone?” I feel the need to respond and get back to them immediately or to call and answer them immediately. Well, that can be super disruptive because maybe I scheduled these next two hours to batch podcast episodes, and I can't do that if all of a sudden I'm taking all of these phone calls or doing other tasks that weren't planned. So take control of your schedule.

It's okay to schedule something out a couple days or a week depending on the priority, but you control your schedule. And so you need to make sure that the tasks that you must get done, get done. So if your kids still nap, or you know that there are certain times of day while they're home that they're the most self-sufficient, then schedule the things that you can't get interrupted with during those times so that you can get those things done, knocked off your plate, yada, yada, yada, right?

I'm not going to schedule tedious tasks in late afternoon because that's when I know that my kids are most likely hitting the wall, they're bored, they need a little bit more attention. So I might schedule things then that are easier for me to kind of multitask with if that makes sense. So control your schedule.

Tip #6

Number five, and this is most or I'm sorry, I think we're on number six, number six. And this is really mostly just because my kids are home but snack, snacks, snacks, and more snacks. My kids eat all day long. So I like to again, like I said, number one, communicate with them on here's where the snacks are, I don't need you coming in and talking to me all day. So having healthy snacks that are available, having fruit that's already washed and ready for them to just grab out of the fridge, having, you know setting things out on the counter to say, okay, here's the snacks that you can eat today. Like, go for it. That way, they're not bothering you all day long about food and they can be self-sufficient, you know, they're eating healthy things or whatever you feel comfortable with them having and you can move on.

Some of those similar, like simple distractions right, are unnecessary and snacks and eating and I just I can't even begin to tell you how much my kids eat all day.

Tip #7

Okay, so number seven is setting boundaries. So like I said earlier, when we work from home, it can be hard to really separate work from home life, and I make it a very clear decision on shutting down, unless there's an emergency, I pretty much am shut down during certain times. So it's okay to still have basic office hours. Even on the weekends when I get emails and text messages from clients, is this an emergency? I have family time right now I can get back to this on Monday.

So setting those expectations with people in your business world are going to be really important. And especially if you're new to working from home, it can feel awkward because yes, I'm at home, I can get this done, but I'm on the couch or playing a board game with my family. I'm not going to do that. And there's a couple of ways that I have done this.

So number one is I've turned off my email notifications on my phone. So I don't automatically get pinged every time I have a new email, because even when I'm doing stuff with my family, whenever you get those notifications, it's just human nature. Like you just want to check it out. You want to see what it is you want to know what's going on. And then if it's something that requires your attention, I feel this twinge of guilt of like not taking care of it right away. So it's just better if I don't look at night. It can wait until tomorrow. And so that's one way that I can control it. And then I only check, I only get email notifications when I check my email.

Same goes with just turning Do Not Disturb on on your phone. So I have set up all of my family members as favorites on my iPhone. And so if they call me it will ring even if I have my phone on Do Not Disturb. So if there's an emergency or there's something going on, I can still get information from them. But at the same token if it's not, I'm not going to get dinged and pinged by everybody else in their dog during certain times of the day. And again, just goes back to number one which is communication and letting the people in your business world know like I'm shutting down at this time I will not be available. I will get back to you as soon as I can in the morning. And I've seen people put this in their email signature. I checked my email at this time and this time or I shut down at this time and I will get back to you right away the next day. And that's okay.

And it doesn't matter what your business industry is. I've had several people say, “Well, if I don't do this, blah, blah, blah, you know, like, I'll lose all this business .” And it's all about communication and controlling your boundaries. So I will get back to you at this point. You know, if they understand what that looks like, and they feel like they've been heard and they're not getting ignored. They'll wait they'll be just fine.

Tip #8

Okay, so number eight, no. Yes, Number eight, sorry, shower!

And I know this is a simple thing. But it's, we're at home and we're working from home. Now granted, I typically shower and put on sweats but there's just something about getting up in the morning and still cleaning up getting in the shower, refreshing yourself and starting your workday. To me, it just puts me in that mindset and washes kind of the sleep off my face and just gets me going. Now don't get me wrong, I don't get up and shower right away. I typically get up and work around 5:30-6:00 but I like to get in the shower between 7:30-8:00 after I've kind of done my initial morning stuff. You know, just to kind of be ready for the day ready to go.

And, and when we're working from home all the time, sometimes it's hard to really just do that not hard, but you know, we just get going, we're just around the house, we're not going to see anybody, and especially right now where we're really not seeing a whole lot of people. It's an easy thing to do so still shower, and I feel weird that that's my last one because that seems kind of silly, but, you know, you could even do it to the point of getting dressed and doing your hair and makeup still because, you know, we tend to psychologically sit with where we are. And if you're just sitting in sweats and you're not showering and you're just kind of feeling frumpy, you know you don't have that same energy that goes into your business. So get up, get ready, you can do this and it will definitely help change your mindset and get you ready to go.

Okay, so let me run through these eight steps or eight tips again, real quick. So number one, communicate, communicate, communicate. Number two set structure for yourself and your family. Number three, plan ahead. Number four, plan breaks. Number five, control your schedule. Number six snacks, snacks ,and more snacks. Number seven, set your boundaries. And number eight, get in the shower or take a bath, whatever.

Okay, so I hope that this helps and I hope that it gets you through this whole kind of working from home situation especially with multiple people in the house and your kids in the house. I would love it if you have any tips to share with me I'm always looking for recommendations especially with how to keep my kiddos busy.

[CLOSING] But if you liked this episode, please make sure you subscribe wherever you listen so you don't miss out on a single one. And I just want to say a big thank you for listening in. If you have any topics that you would love for us to talk about in this podcast, please head up at on Facebook, Instagram @thefirstclickmarketing. I would love to have a conversation with you about it. And thank you so much. I will catch you in the next one.

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