Homemakers and Mr. Mom both struggle with this unconventional “career” transition. The “in-box” is always full, there is never anything interesting going on at the water-cooler, and Casual Friday never ends – although we wish it would.
The good news is that your boss is awesome. Read the memo to get your groove back at “the office”. Follow this simple guide to getting productive and creating the best job you’ve ever had.
Use a planner or calendar. As a previous elementary school teacher and economic development executive, I indisputably endorse the value of this organization tool for any career. I recommend going to a teacher supply store and purchasing a “teacher plan book”.
These planners are designed to have plenty of space to write and are outlined for changes and modifications each week. They also encourage you to take the weekends off, like you should be doing. Homemakers are hard-workers, too. Don’t believe me? Let’s break down what you do every week.
Prioritize your daily chores into phases. When I first became a homemaker, I didn’t know where to start. I was overwhelmed. Begin by listing how often things need to be done and break them into phases. For example; I have to wash the dishes, feed the pets, and run laundry, etc. – every day. I call these daily requirements Phase One Chores. Write out what needs to be done each day without fail. This is your job. If nothing else gets done, you will not get fired.
Phase Two Chores are the chores that you only have to do once a week. For example, On Mondays, I steam clean the floors. On Tuesdays, I groom the pets. On Wednesdays, I clean the outdoor furniture. As a type A personality, I had to give myself permission to clean these things once a week or I would never get anything done. If you are a type B personality, writing these daily goals will help you focus. Reaching a little higher means you are starting to get the praise of your boss. Pat yourself on the back!
Phase Three Chores are the errands that I need to run around town. These chores are ever-changing and I feel better doing them after the daily requirements are met. This is the items in the in-box that can get away from you. They are often the culprit that steals your time and peace from having a load of laundry actually folded or not having to stare at dishes perpetually in the sink.
Tame these errand beasts by limiting the time you are allowed to work on them. Remember to always take a list to any store you have to go in to keep your mind (and finances) on track. In fact, setting time limits on all phases of daily chores focuses energy on success. I don’t want to make promises, but efficient scheduling may even put you in the running for Employee of the Month with your impressive productivity levels.
Decide when the best time is for you to do each of these phases. Is it before making the kids’ lunches or after running to the gym? The best schedule for me is: Complete Phase One chores in my robe while I am still waking up and drinking coffee. Then, I go to the gym.
When I return, I complete Phase Two Chores and prepare dinner to be reheated when everyone gets home. Phase Three Chores are my reason to get dressed up and out of sweatpants. It is also the chance to have “water-cooler” conversations with anyone I run into. After everyone eats dinner, it’s “Me Time” – and I earned it.
Take a couple of weeks to find what works for your personality. If you find yourself in a rut, reorganize your schedule. Write encouraging slogans in your planner. Cross off chores as you complete them. Just because you are working at home does not mean that you are working any less than anyone else. Remember to schedule your Boss Appreciation Day – as often as you deserve it.