We all know there is more than one way to skin a cat. Not that we’d want to. This is true of all things. I don’t care if you are just a caregiver, homeschooler, parent, or even working from home, there are a million ways or more to do just about anything you desire.
So today I want to share a few tips as well as show you an average day in my work at home experience.
It’s just a matter of finding what works for you. What feeds your family and their needs. What makes life manageable. This is going to be different for everyone. And a part of the process is realizing what you need to thrive.
The first thing you need to do is sit down and determine what those needs are. Mine are as follows:
- Freedom– Being able to do what I want to do (within reason). This is a big compent as to why I am pursuing financial independence.
- Time for myself– Making sure that I take care of myself and my personal needs for space, time, and relaxation.
- Family Time– Making sure to make connections with my little one and my parents. Family events and activities.
- Spirituality– Ensuring that our family life is enriched. This includes getting my mother to bible study, exposing Freya to all sorts of religions as well as my own…and discussing questions we have in regards to spirituality.
- Clearing of Old Projects– Over the years, we all end up with projects we haven’t finished. My big goal this year is to clear those projects off my list before starting any new ones. From sewing to woodworking, I have a number of projects to finish. Getting those done will make my life easier.
- Organization– I have been working hard since the end of last year to declutter and make sure that everything has a place. I would say that I’m about 60% of the way there. I would still like to get rid of some more stuff and refine where it is organized.
- Cleanliness– I don’t expect to have a perfectly clean house. I gave up on that a long time ago, between all my other duties and the little one. However, I cannot tolerate a dirty kitchen and I hate it when coats get dropped on the floor.
We all try to save time. I won’t try to put an exhaustive list here, but I will list a few things that help me save time and money.
- Bulk cooking – When I make a meal I make enough to freeze for at least another if not two or three more meals. This way we can eat the same thing for dinner each week and I only have to cook it once or twice a month. I save so much time cooking and its especially great for busy weeks and weekends. It also leaves me time to make more fun treats throughout the week.
- Life Skills – When I say this, I mean that I have miss Freya help me with everything I believe she can do. It does take a bit of time for a new task, but she loves helping and its teaching her valuable skills. It also gives me more time later as she can help take on those tasks. Currently, she gathers all the things I need for cooking and can grab her own plates, among other tasks.
- Meal Planning – It takes the guesswork out of what we’re eating and it’s still adjustable. It also saves you on groceries.
- Making my own cleaning supplies– Saves me both time and money. I can make one batch on laundry concentrate over the course of a day (there’s some waiting involved), with a hands-on time of about 30-60 minutes. For that time I have 5 gallons of concentrate that will last me at least six months if not longer. Other supplies are multi-purpose which allows me to take them from spot to spot and get my cleaning done more quickly.
- Finding a flow to your schedule that works for you. -Probably the most important thing you can do.
#3 Be gentle with yourself
Some days you just aren’t going to get everything done. Things will go wrong. The important thing to remember is that you haven’t failed, you’ve just had a rough day. There’s no reason to be harsh with yourself. Or put yourself down.
I hear so many women, no people who are harsh to themselves. We should never call ourselves failures and we should recognize that even we need days to recharge. So next time a day doesn’t go as planned remember that you’re only human.
#4: Task Master vs Servant De List
It’s great to have a plan and a to-do list, but remember that you cannot be a slave to it. Again things can go wrong. It is fine to have a plan, but if you don’t get everything done you need to take a look. You may have planned more than you could get done or unforeseen events could have prevented you from reaching your goals.
Again be gentle with yourself. These things happen and its okay. Being harsh with yourself is not going to make it any better. And stressing yourself out with more than you can manage in a day will only leave you more frazzled, less focused, and unable to accomplish more.
#5: What you do matters
It’s great to want to do everything but remember your priorities. What use is it to clean or work all day, if you don’t make time to enjoy your family or even yourself. I often find on busier days that I’ll drop homeschool for the day or cut out something that needed to be done so that I can spend time with my family.
I know its tempting to just keep trucking along, but it will only lead to burn out and an unhealthy lifestyle. It will leave your children, spouse, and other family members missing something they need as well. Your attention.
#6: Have a Schedule
Even if you work at home have a schedule. Having a schedule gives you and everyone in the house a framework for what should happen over the course of a day. Whether you have little ones or family members with dementia/memory issues, having a framework will help them function within your home.
I’ve also found that having a schedule keeps me grounded and reminds me of my priorities throughout the day.
The Daily To Do List
Every day I have a to-do list. Here’s what it looks like. I prioritized the list by what I tend to do first, however, I always remain flexible and move things about as I need to.
- Dinner Prep
- Chores (3-5 cleaning items aside from daily maintenance)
Then I have a list of things I try to do for myself each day
- Some work on one of my unfinished projects
- Udemy class
- 9 AM- Wake up, reiki, meditation, organize for the day, get dressed, etc.
- 10 AM- Breakfast and Dinner prep. Valkyrie Cartoons
- 11 AM- Cleaning and Chores, Family Showers. Valkyrie plays time.
- 1 PM- Homeschool
- 3 PM- Play with the Valkyrie
- 4 PM -Udemy Class for me, Tablet time for the Valkyrie
- 5 PM- Dinner at the table
- 7 PM Project Time
- 9 PM The Valkyrie and I do something together (Usually a show and read)
- 10 PM Finish getting ready for bed and put the Valkyrie to sleep.
- 11 PM My time to unwind.
- 12 AM My bedtime (not always great at following this).
#7: Be Flexible
This is what works for us. No one in my house is an early riser, my parents, even less so than I. I get most of my work done in the morning and the Valkyrie helps a bit between playing her own games and depending on her mood. Once my parents are up things tend to be more unpredictable in terms of what I might get interrupted with.
Some days they wake up early and I have to put off my chores until they are otherwise preoccupied. It can make for an unpredictable day sometimes, but for the most part, we all know what should happen and when.
#8: Relax your parenting
Everyone is terrified that they will not do good enough for their child. We rush everyone to everywhere and over schedule ourselves. We helicopter parent not even letting them play outside by themselves. Our world isn’t so scary that our children can’t play without our constant watchful eyes.
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I suggest two books I recently finished.
#9: Find Joy In Everything You Do
If you can find joy in any task you will enjoy doing it. While I know this is far more complicated than easy, it is true. And its something that I often have to work on.
It also calls us to bring balance into our lives. If you hate cleaning, then maybe you don’t need to focus on cleaning quite as much. Maybe it’s okay for you to have a messier house. I gave up on keeping the sink clear at all times because my parents simply are not capable of it and I can’t seem to manage it on my own. It still bothers me some days, but I’m less stressed by not trying to focus on it all the time.
#10 Find Magic In Everything You Do
In addition to balance, there is magic all around us. Our very breaths are magical. So don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy things. You don’t have to rush about. You can take your time and do it near perfect and find joy in that as well.
Find joy in having your little on help where they can. It’s magical to see them acomplish and learn right before your eyes.
Find magic in how much simpler your life is. When you look at a loaf of bread you find joy and magic in the fact that you don’t have to bake it in a kiln over a fire. Or that you have a mixer when three generations or so ago that would have been a novelty. You can slow cook things without constantly tending a fire. We have heaters and water at our fingertips.
All of these things should make us feel blessed. They should help us to realize that we have far more time to do things than our forebearers did in the past.