Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat
What It Actually Looks Like to Work From Home
Grab your dark roast + join us as we disspell the common misconceptions surrounding the elusive idea of working from home. We will cover how to become more productive with your time and how to avoid getting sucked into the household chores during work hours!
Episode 27 Coffee Chat Replay
Episode 27 Podcast
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Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning! How are we all doing? I hope you are all doing very well on this lovely Tuesday morning.
Thank you for tuning in with me today. It means the world to me that you choose to spend even a half hour, hour of your time with me every week. I feel there are so may options out there and so many things we need to be doing, so it really does mean the world to me. Thank you for that.
Two quick things before we get started that I want to make mention of. First and foremost I am going to pull some cards for you guys after this live, it will be a separate live that I’ll do right after this one because there is some crazy shit happening right now as far as shifting and energies and stuff.
The second piece is I have to tell you what happened yesterday. OH MY GOD. I will be chatting more about that in the live I’ll do right after this episode. Yeah, talk about manifestation!
Lauren’s Journey Working at Home
Without further ado… I am here to chat with you guys about the struggle and the bliss of what it looks like to work from home. I would love to know if you work full time from home, if you are balancing a full time job and your side hustle, if you do work from home how many years have you been an entrepreneur playing the game? I would love to know. Is this a goal you want to achieve and start working from home? Let me know.
A little back story about my stay from home journey. I have been working form home now for almost a decade. That makes me feel real friggin old! It is true. Since 2009 and it has been one hell of a wild ride. From being engaged and working from home to then being married to then popping out children and juggling that. It has been crazy. I’ve seen the ebbs and flows of what it can look like when you work from home.
I am going to share with you a few little trinkets I have picked up along the way that have really helped me in staying focused while working from home. Some elements that you really just need to give yourself grace with. As creatives, as entrepreneurs, we are out own boss. We are in charge of our business. We are in charge of our own hours. We are in charge of how many hours and work we are doing.
I think that we all go into the transition, if we do choose to work from home, where we think we have to be hustling 24/7. We have to be friggin pumping out… go go go go go! Working into the wee hours of the morning. I cannot tell you how many all-nighters’ have pulled in the past and then woken up to take care of kids and work the next day.
Often times, its like “holy shit is this worth it!?” I am working more hours working form home than I ever was working for someone else. For me I had that ah-ha moment I think about 3 years ago. That’s when things started to change for me anyway. I felt like this shit was for the birds, I needed to change it. Pinterest was huge, it was great for brides and all of these things… BUT this was also before a whole lot of the articles about “how to work from home and be productive” started to be published from bloggers and creative leaders. Its not like I had this roadmap of how to work from home.
I am going to try to give you what my road map looks like. You can take what you want form this. You can leave the rest. You don’t have to take a damn thing. You know how this works with me. What I would suggest is if something resonates with you then jot it down.
Fighting Structure vs Embracing It
Here we go! One note that I wanted to point out before I did start giving you the tips and the tricks... there has to be a happy medium between fighting structure as a creative (because I don’t know about you but if someone tells me you have to work 9-5 and only have a 20 minute break, I’m gonna be a big old eff you!). I want to be in charge of what it looks like for me to work from home. I do not need it to be dictated by anyone else. So there has to be a happy medium between fighting structure and then on the flip side treating out business like a full on corporation. So this is what I have found works for me.
You have to do what feels best for you. There is no set rule for working from home. Is every single day going to be the same? I can almost guarantee you, absolutely not. It just isn’t.
Some things that have begun to work for me, that I’ve noticed through the years…
- Get Up and Get Going: I am not a morning person whatsoever. I would much rather have calls with someone at 11pm than I would at 8am. Just how I operate. BUT I find that I am most productive when I get up and start working in the morning. Now I’m not saying I’ll wake up at 6am, nope that’s not happening. Nope. BUT instead of feeling like a momma bear and stirring from my slumber, I will just get up and get at it. Something that has helped me to do that, I know that in the back of my head when the kids are gone and when the husband is gone I can go back to bed if I want. I know I can. Do I ever? I would say maybe 10% of the time. Very rarely do I actually go back to bed. But it helps to get me up! Get up and get going in the morning, even if you are not a morning person.
- Make Yourself Feel Good: (Disclaimer: If you know me at all, you know me I love me some lulu lemon pants. I love my yoga pants and my comfies.) HOWEVER, I feel like I can take on the day no matter what the day decides to throw at me when I make myself feel good. What do I mean by that? I mean get up, take a shower, get dressed, put some makeup on. You don’t have to go to the nines. Make yourself feel good. If you are not a make up person (I am not) I just throw on some mascara, do my brows, and call it a day. Another thing I always do every single morning is I eat breakfast. I have to. If I try to take all the medication I need to in the morning on an empty stomach… girl that shit ain’t gonna be pretty. I have tried to cut out all the boxed stuff, but eat stuff that fuels you and will get you ready for the day.
- Schedule time throughout your day to move: Give yourself breaks. If you are like me, I will just work work work work work, then my alarm will go off to get my first kiddo from school and I’m like “shit I haven’t even eaten today”. And then what ends up happening? “Well maybe I’ll eat when I get home”. And then I don’t eat and then I have a glass of wine while I’m cooking dinner for everyone and then I feel like I’m down for the count because I haven’t eaten all day! Some days that is okay right? But not everyday! Schedule time to get up out of your seat. If you have to set an alarm to eat lunch, do it! During that time, throw a load of laundry into the washer. You shouldn’t be basing your work day based off of what has to get done around the house. That is key. If you are looking at your load of dirty laundry or the dishes in your sink, right now during the work day is not the time to be doing that stuff. There are exceptions. Yesterday was a major exception for me. Because I recently just bought “Unleash Your Inner Money Babe”, it is by Manifestation Babe. I just started reading this and the first exercise in this book was to clear out the clutter in your wallet, where you pay your bills, where you store paperwork. So I had to have the excuse and be given a reason to do that. I am not kidding you, it took me almost 4 hours to clear through all of the paperwork that had just created little piles all around my office and kitchen counter and spare junk room. Everywhere! Long story short I ended up throwing away an entire trash bags of papers. FULL! So if you are giving yourself the time and space to clean up your office, that is okay! It is not necessarily doing the dishes or the laundry, right? If you feel you have to get that other stuff done, do it during your breaks. You’re given breaks if you work a 9-5, right?
- Setting Boundaries: Set work hours for yourself! This was a very heated debate I had with a group of individuals on The Rising Tide Society recently. One of the business owners said “If I were just not to respond to an email and just let it go, they will hire someone else”. Okay, well do you really just want them as a client anyways if they are just going to pick the first person that responds to them? I don’t know. You have to set boundaries for yourself. If you see an email come in at 6pm at night and your office hours that you have set right from the gate and people know you will be “out of the office”… you don’t respond to the next day. If you use Dubsado you can schedule out an email to go out with your business hours. Go into your email signature and add your office hours. When I was giving too much of myself and always on, I was getting the most burnt out. If you know me even a little bit, you know I’m a people pleaser. That’s just how I am. I want people to be happy all the time. However if it comes at the expense of my own health, sanity, and well being, that is a problem. When I noticed that was happening I had to set up boundaries. And I have to tell you guys, when you say “I’m going to take every Tuesday off and never work a Tuesday those will be my personal days” you’ve already built in time into your schedule to get your hair done and run those errands, get a massage. That way it won’t interfere with the rest of the stuff you have going on. If I schedule an appointment to get my haircut at 9:30am, and the by the time I get back to my desk and I’m able to start working, I’ve got all of maybe 2-3 hours before I have pick up a child or run there or run here. That is not enough time to really dive into a project. For me 2-3 hours I maintenance. That is the quick stuff, responding to emails, creating graphics for the next coffee chat… but it is not enough time for me to sit down and plan out my content strategy. I need to feel like I have enough time and unconstrained. When you put limitations on creativity, what happens? Nothing. For me I have to have an entire day where “this is the day OI will schedule my shit and everything else will fall into place”.
- Boost Blocks of Time: Some people will call it setting a priority list or have one to-do you have to get done. For me, I don’t like to put such rigid constraints and boxing it in like that. For me, again, I am a creative by nature. I would much rather know “Okay I have the morning to get my stuff done and whatever it is you need to actually get done today, but the rest of the afternoon (after lunch) is for you to work on whatever comes to you”. I feel a big thing that comes up for me recently, especially in dreams, is really just going more with the flow or where my creativity takes me. Of where I feel inspired to work. When you continue to try to go, go, go and do, do, do that is masculine energy. Feminine energy is creativity. It is the nurturing and listening and all of that. So what happens if you just go, go, go all the time? You burn out! You have no creativity left. It is tough, but it is a balancing act. I would suggest maybe just for a week try this and see how it goes. I can almost guarantee you, you will be way more productive when you do work on the stuff that has to get done than if you just go like the little engine that could. Listen to yourself! If I am not in the mood and not feeling it, but I continue to push it what happens? For me at least I get zero accomplished. Just listen to yourself, you know when you are going to be productive or not. Now sometimes you can’t always give yourself that grace, but if there isn’t something looming overhead, give yourself that grace. Be kind to yourself.
- Have water/snacks at your desk: If you are like me and get so entrenched in what you are doing, bring the whole water pitcher. That way you don’t have to go up and down to refill. Also store snacks. I will always have raw cashews and stuff I can nibble on. That way if I am in the middle of something and I don’t want to break my concentration, I can still eat something.
Did those points resonate with you? Any ah-ha moments? Was it something you just sort of needed to hear today? Sometimes that is all we need. We need to know what we have been thinking or have been doing.
I’d love to hear what your favorite tip or reminder that you just heard was.
I also use an app called “Wunderlist”. I have a running to-do list of stuff I have to get done for the week. And if I get to it… great! If I don’t… that’s okay. That way I can go back and forth between my creative elements and what I really need to get done for the day.
I am going to hop off and come back to pull some cards for you and tell you about my manifestation story. Thank you so much!
I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.