I’m a stay-at-home-mom, but sometimes I’m a stay-at-home-mom with work that needs to be done…anywhere but home. Once I committed to creating content every Monday, Wednesday and Friday without exception, working at random hours after putting the kids to bed wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
Yes, it took me way too long to commit to actually looking for a babysitter. It took me even longer to schedule her to come every single week and when that finally happened, I still didn’t understand the power of working in an atmosphere where I couldn’t hear my kids crying, asking for something or doing something I don’t want them to. (Just me?) Working quarantined to my bedroom doesn’t quite produce my best work, so for the past few months aside from when we’re traveling, every Wednesday I pack up a bag and head to a cafe or coffee shop for my work day. I had a rough few weeks there, but now I have a fool-proof checklist for a stay-at-home-mom’s Work Day.
First things first, you have to maximize this time. I can be so tempted to scroll through Pinterest or catch up on emails, but this day is so precious and designating it for work-only will make all the difference. I try to turn off my wifi if it’s not needed and just hammer out whatever is on the list for that day. Sometimes it’s strictly content writing, but other times it’s finding lighting and fixtures for one of our renovation projects, researching for an illustration piece, editing photos or scheming an upcoming blog series. If I’m able to turn off my wifi, I will. And if I’m able to do a project quickly late in the evening or during nap-time, I won’t spend my work day doing it.
Credit card or Cash– This sounds ridiculous, but I forgot every form of money on my work day a few months ago. Worst work day EVER. Although I did get lunch for free which was wonderful, but that lunch also gave me food poisoning so I’ll just go ahead and conclude that yes. It was the worst work day. Don’t forget your pennies.
Headphones– I’ve forgotten these too. My dear, sweet bluetooth wireless headphones sitting on the countertop at home all alone while I sat in Starbucks for three hours listening to other people’s chewing and too-loud conversations. I love to listen to podcasts while I work and honestly, I’d rather listen to anything other than strangers chewing. These headphones have been one of my all-time best purchases. I dealt with the tangled chords and yanking earbuds out by accident far too long and can’t rave about them enough.
Laptop + Charger– Let’s just assume from here on out that everything I’m listing, I’ve forgotten at one point or another. Watching your computer battery drop in percentage is no way to be productive! Also, even if your battery is fully charged and you’re feeling all confident, find a seat next to an outlet. You’ll be thankful when you’re at 5% and every outlet is taken.
Notebook + pen– The majority of my work is done on a computer but I always think better on paper. I have a slight notebook addiction so I keep one for every task. Being able to scribble down ideas and things to remember for later is essential to staying on-task.
Snacks– this should clearly be number 1 on the list, because I can’t work when I’m hungry. Especially when I’m surrounded by people eating. I try to keep the snacks healthy, high in protein and easy to eat with one hand so I’m not wasting time eating a full on meal. Time is precious on work day! RX bars, nuts, chips, apples and protein shakes are some favorites.
Inspiration– This looks different every time, but sometimes magazine tear-sheets are all you need. Maybe for you this is Pinterest or saved photos from Instagram, but for me being able to spread out actual images and layouts gets creative juices flowing faster than looking at a screen. Paper wins for me, hands-down!
An Extra Layer– There are few things less predictable than weather. I’ve had sunshine turn to rain as soon as I sat down to work and let me tell you, that walk to the car isn’t pretty. I’ve also found most cafes and coffee shops to pump freezing air no matter what the temperature is outside, so a scarf that can double as a light layer or a sweater as a backup is always a good idea.
Water– I can do a pretty bad job of taking care of myself on a work day. Knowing I only have a few hours to get almost all my work done for the week makes me think a liiiiiitle bit irrationally and before I know it, it’s been three hours and I haven’t taken a sip of water. Keeping my own bottle of water in sight reminds me to hydrate so I’m not parched and snippy when I get back to my babes. I have an enormous 64oz.hydroflask I’ve raved about for years, but recently this water bottle has been the winner when I’m on-the-go. It keeps things freezing and is the perfect size to toss in my bag.
Alright mamas, which day of the week is your work day? Do you make it out of the house or do you prefer staying home? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!