Your office is also a playroom. Your water cooler is also full of apple sauce pouches. You work for yourself and you have kids. Welcome to the hurt locker! On the one hand, working from home allows you flexibility, freedom, and perhaps savings in childcare costs, but on the other, you need to work hard to preserve that paper thin divider (which you probably bought at IKEA) between "work" and "home life."
Periods of career opportunity often collide with childrearing, so it's a tough time, but if you can manage it all, you might just spring ahead. To that end, here are 100 tips from those who have been there, done that — entrepreneurs, influencers, and people generally getting. it. done. on the daily, who can offer no-nonsense tips in less time than it takes to assemble your new IKEA desk.
1. Pop it into the schedule.
Exercise, desk time, grocery shopping — it all gets popped onto the schedule for Lauren Halpern, a PR consultant with two kids based in Austin, Texas. “If it’s in there, I remember to do it in the assigned hour,” she says. “Even scheduling grocery shopping helps me think through the best time to accomplish it during a busy day.”
2. Wake up early.
Before the kids wake up, before the emails start flooding in, Halpern makes sure she’s awake. By 5 a.m., she’s at her desk and is able to scratch a few items off her to-do list. “Sitting down for the first time at 10 a.m. would leave me an anxious mess,” she says.
3. Do coffee, not lunch.
Early on in her career, Halpern scheduled tons of lunches. But as a consultant, that got pricey — and the lunches took up huge chunks of her day. No one has time for that!
Now, she sticks to coffee meetings, which are less expensive and more time-efficient.
4. Allow for downtime.
Block out the calendar, say "no" to extra work and events, and take some time to rest and to play together, says Missy Stevens, a freelance marketing and communications writer with two sons in Austin. “It’s so easy to fill every minute, and suddenly find yourself packing lunches and waving goodbye to the school bus without having acknowledged the new season in your family’s life,” Stevens says. “Same goes for new jobs or new volunteer activities: take a beat before you launch.”
5. Involve kids in planning and prepping.
This seems obvious, but many parents have control issues, says Stevens, admitting that she’s one of those parents. This may leave kids feeling like they’re just thrown into the new schedule or activity. “Getting everyone involved in the discussions about, for example, the new back-to-school morning routine, means everyone is thinking about it and is on board.”
Bonus: it gives them the feeling of control over the day, regardless of whether or not they make that final call.
6. Accept that things rarely or never go exactly according to plan.
“I am the queen of writing out a new schedule at every transition, and then realizing, usually by day two, that I was overzealous and unrealistic,” Stevens says. “We all have to be kind to each other and ourselves when we can’t possibly maintain whatever absurd schedule we tried to follow.”
7. Meet weekly with your partner.
Review the upcoming schedule and all the to-do list items. Stevens says her family reviews the menu, any unusual schedule changes, travel, important meetings and more. Lately, they’ve added extra time once a month to review finances as well. “That’s not always fun, but it’s been a positive change for us, because both of us are more aware and it facilitates better conversations when we have to make financial decisions,” she says.
8. Be prepared to be interrupted.
9. Work in mini-bursts.
Close all social media and distracting items that can cause you to be off-task, and focus solely on the task at hand, Rickerson says. “Do not move on until that task is completed,” she says.
10. Prioritize items that are correlated directly with making a profit.
This is what allows you to work from home in the first place, Rickerson says.
11. Do three things per day.
“Each morning, I write down three things in my calendar that I absolutely need to accomplish that day, and I prioritize them,” says Crystal Duffy, an author, a teacher, and a Houston-based mother of three. “I feel accomplished and productive when I’ve checked off all three — anything else I accomplish that day is a gift.”
12. Stop spending energy on things that don’t matter.
We spend so much time scrolling through stranger’s Instagram feeds and assembling a Pinterest-worthy bento box for your child’s lunch,” Duffy says. “You only have so much energy and time every day, so concentrate yourself on what really matters.”
13. Set boundaries.
And be clear when you need help, Duffy says.
14. Have regular work hours.
There’s always going to be a reason to change your work schedule: school, a doctor’s appointment, a teacher conference, the list goes on, says Siobhán Kratovil, mother of four, a lawyer and a Dallas-based blogger who discusses parenting and legal questions on her blog, Lex Mater. “Don’t make it a habit,” she says. “A regular work schedule makes it easier for you to focus and to get things done.”
15. Ignore home management tasks.
“Moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer, running the dishwasher, chit chatting with the mailman? Save those for when you are done with work,” Kratovil says. Home management tasks break up your workflow with constant interruptions.
16. Have a set end to your work day.
“Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should always be working,” Kratovil says. “Pick a time when your work day ends, and stick to it.”
17. Schedule in-person meetings.
“I know we are all connected by technology, but if you really want to grow your business, you are going to have to meet people in person at least occasionally,” Kratovil says.
18. Call people on the phone once in a while.
See tip 17, Kratovil says, and get out of the abstract world of email.
19. Always have childcare options.
This is a big one, Kratovil says. “I don’t care how sweet your toddler is,” she says. “No one is going to take you seriously if they can hear her requests for juice in the background. Your boss and your clients are paying for — and deserve — your full attention.”
20. Get a co-working space.
Being at home and working for yourself is isolating, and you end up doing more chores than work, says Sophia Bender-Koning, founder and CEO of Oma, an app that functions as a digital grandparent, and parent of one with one on the way.
21. Shop for groceries online.
Get as much delivered as you can comfortably afford, says Aileen Kelly, COO and co-founder of Persistiny, and mother of two children in Los Angeles. She gets everything from toilet paper to toothpaste to pet food delivered.
22. Stake out times for conference calls and work calls.
“Know those times and be ready to defend them: you will need them,” Kelly says. “Being flexible with your time as both a parent and as your own boss might drive you insane.”
23. Two words: Meal prep.
Or at least create your dinner menu once a week so you only have to do one trip to the grocery store, says Michelle Glogovac, podcast manager, producer and coach, and mom of two who are one year apart.
“I plan out my week every Sunday night, and that includes kids’ activities, phone calls, client work,” Glogovac says. “We also have our iPhones synced so my husband and I both know who is doing what and when.”
25. Set limits within your house.
At times, kids may feel that since you are technically at home, you are available for minor problems or questions, says Viktoria Altman, mother of two, homeschool blogger and entrepreneur with Get Brainy Box, based in New York. “It’s important to explain that you shouldn’t be interrupted while you are working unless there is an emergency,” she says.
26. Set a work/life schedule.
Set a specific schedule for when you work and when you’re doing life, says Heidi McBain, the Flower Mound, Texas,-based owner of an online video counseling business. She sees clients when her two children are in school. “My late afternoons are spent helping with homework and bringing kids to activities,” McBain says. “Evenings are reserved for family time.”
27. Take time to exercise.
And most importantly, don’t stop exercising during the cold, dark winter months; seasonal affective disorder is real, and it’s critical to take time to keep yourself healthy and strong, says Amanda Ponzar, chief communications and strategy officer with Community Health Charities in Alexandria, Virginia, and mother of two.
28. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
“The older I get, the older my body gets,” Ponzar says. “I’m not going to look like I’m 20 anymore — that ship has sailed. But, I’m pursuing a healthy lifestyle — eating well and exercising, drinking water, and getting plenty of sleep, plus enjoying my family and work, plus volunteering to support my kids, church, and community.”
29. Take a vacation.
When she got pregnant with her first child in 2007, Ponzar stopped going on big vacations. Instead, she and her family barely go a few hours away from the house — and almost always to a water park with the kids. “Plus, I usually use my vacation days to clean, catch up, and run errands or to manage the kids when school is closed for holiday breaks or teacher work days,” Ponzar says. “It’s time to plan a big trip — something to really look forward to — even if the kids come with us.”
30. Find time for friends.
Working, volunteering, caring for a family – there’s not much time after that, so Ponzar cut out friendships with other women. Now, she realizes what a mistake this was: “It’s important to find time to build and maintain real friendships,” she says. “We do a pretty good job of hosting families at our home, but I’ve definitely lost one-to-one girl time and it’s been years since I’ve gotten together with my girlfriends.”
It’s OK to take a nap, read a book, paint, journal, or do nothing, Ponzar says. In today’s fast-paced, frenzied, stressed world, we feel always on and pressured to keep working, but we need time to recover and let our souls catch up. “I find I do my best work when I’m restored and recharged, after exercising or taking time to think,” she says.
32. Make a five-year plan.
“Most of my life, I’ve been very driven to achieve the next milestone,” Ponzar says. “Right now, I don’t have an answer to ‘where do you want to be in five years?’ We all need to keep a goals list, of both short- and long-term goals that are personal and professional, and then work toward achieving those.”
33. Plan ahead.
Whether it’s preparing school lunches for kids the night before or laying out clothes for the entire week, the only way to get anything done is to ensure that things are planned and mapped out way in advance, says Kipp Jarecke-Cheng, chief communications officer at Publicis Health, a global healthcare communications network based in New York City, a blogger and contributing writer at Red Tricycle, and New Jersey-based father of two kids. “When I used to travel a lot of work, I would lay out school clothes for my son a week at a time, with instructions on Post-It notes for my partner and our son’s nanny,” Jarecke-Cheng says. “I’d also pre-make and freeze food for my family for the days or weeks that I was out of town.”
34. Be cheap.
With his first kid, Jarecke-Cheng felt like he spared no expense when it came to disposable things like clothes and toys. “When my son was 2 years old, I bought him a $300 handmade wool coat from France that he wore twice,” he says. “With our second kid, we’ve been much more conscientious about waste. Her clothes and toys are typically inexpensive or hand-me-downs. She doesn’t seem to be missing anything and she’s still the most stylish kid on our block.”
35. Set clear limits.
The hardest part of juggling parenthood and work is finding balance between the two. “At work, be clear with managers and colleagues about what your needs are,” Jarecke-Cheng says. “At home, be clear with your spouse and children about when you need to focus on work obligations.”He tries to block out dinner time every evening with my family as a no-mobile device hour, so that at least he can spend some uninterrupted time with his kids at least once a day.
36. Listen to podcasts.
Changing hats after being at work all day, or being with the kids all day, can be jarring. “I have a couple of podcasts I enjoy, all of which are unrelated to parenting and my work,” says Alena Gerst, integrative therapist and yoga instructor. “I listen to them while getting dressed in the morning, on my commute, or during cleanup after bedtime, which helps me transition to work or parenting,” Gerst says.
37. Save the housework for one day
“We usually spend Saturday mornings doing the groceries, laundry, and more detailed housework,” Gerst says. “That way, as the week progresses and my house gets messier, I know we have a designated day that it will all get taken care of, and we can start the new week off relatively put together.”
38. Make a big meal.
Gerst makes a large pot of food on Sunday evening full of veggies, protein and delicious spices. “We eat it throughout the week as a main dish, side dish, taco filling, I pack it for lunch or dinner on work days, or even on toast for breakfast,” she says. “It’s not for every meal, but it cuts way down on meal planning.”
39. Set expectations.
You can’t be all things to all people, says Alison Bernstein, Suburban Jungle founder and president and mother of four. “Setting realistic expectations and limits, and putting systems in place to aid you in striking this balance is key,” she says.
40. Cluster meetings back-to-back
Bernstein clusters her meetings back-to-back and works longer hours a few days a week to allow for more free time with her kids, Bernstein says. “Being a part of my kids’ day-to-day activities is so important and fulfilling,” she says.
41. Set office hours
“The biggest challenge I found was that it became hard to put work down,” says Charissa West, a teacher and parenting blogger and mom of four. “I was always checking my emails and trying to tackle various projects throughout the day while I was also supposed to be playing with my kids or preparing meals.” So setting designated office hours, so to speak, when she focused only on work, allowed her to be more deliberate about putting the work down during the other times.
42. Set a limit
You are far more productive during your set work times when you know there is a limit to the amount of time you have, says Holly Connors, mother of two daughters from Australia, psychologist and blogger at Simplify Create Inspire. “And it is so important to be present with your children as well, without work entering that time,” Connors says. “You will likely find that you get interrupted less with older kids as well, with this system, as they know their dedicated time with you is soon.”
43. Stay organized.
Using a project management tool is a no-brainer for work projects, but I also use it to set due dates, reminders and recurring events for my family, says Raquel Wilson, founder and CEO of Peachtree VA, biological mother of two and foster mother of more children. “A shared family calendar — I use Google -— has been a game-changer. My husband and I both know to consult the Google cal before committing to anything as it gives an overview of what's going on for our family and for both of us professionally.”
44. Work smart.
Mornings can be a bit chaotic for Wilson, especially when school is in session. “I pack lunches and backpacks the night before and always make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed,” she says. “It takes a lot of pressure off of me (and my kids) in the morning when we are getting ready for the day. I've found that putting in the effort at night (even though I'm tired) pays off in the best way — I am calmer and can actually enjoy the morning with my kids.”
45. Invest in a co-working space.
This has been huge for Wilson. “I am the founder and CEO of a virtual assistant company, so my work is 100% remote,” she says. “My husband started working from home three days a week a couple of years ago and between the both of us and the kid's mess, I found it difficult to work here.”
In January 2018, Wilson purchased a monthly pass to a co-working space near her home. “Having a dedicated workspace that I do not have to clean, and that has all the amenities I need to be productive (conference room for meetings, a phone booth for calls, printer, et cetera) has been worth the nominal investment,” she says. “Plus, it gets me out in the community networking and selling my business.”
46. Establish rituals.
These should help you shift between your workday and your home life, says Kristen Brunner, an Austin-based licensed professional counselor specializing in maternal mental health and relationship counseling, and mom of two. “When I get home from work, I immediately go to the bathroom and exchange my work clothes for comfy clothes and cotton socks,” Brunner says. “I also take a few minutes to breathe and use the restroom.”
47. Break your day into two-hour chunks.
It can be overwhelming to look at both your work and home to-do lists, Brunner says. You can end up getting lost or distracted in your day. Break your day into bite-sized chunks with measurable outcomes attached to each chunk.
48. Give yourself occasional sanity days.
One of the perks of working for yourself is that you can take vacation and breaks whenever you want. “Don’t neglect to give yourself some rest and relaxation,” Brunner says. “Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean that your work should never end.”
49. Be clear about how soon you return calls or emails.
Again, just because you run your own show doesn’t mean that you need to be available around the clock. “Tell your customers, clients or colleagues that you will return calls within 24 hours, or within two business days, or never on the weekends, or between the hours of 9 and 3. You get the picture,” Brunner says.
50. On the topic of phones, consider investing in a work cell phone.
This will help you to keep the boundaries clear between work and personal communication. You can quite literally turn off the work phone off when it is quitting time. And you can write it off on your taxes, Brunner says.
51. Consider finding some form of regular child care.
Even if it is a four-hour, three-day-a-week Mom’s Day Out program or an occasional babysitter. “I see plenty of stay-at-home parents trying to get their businesses up and running during nap times,” Brunner says. “This is usually not enough time to get much accomplished, and the parent ends up feeling burned out pretty quickly. Parenting is a full-time job with unlimited overtime included. If you’re also running a business, you are going to need help with caring for your children.”
52. Give yourself grace and patience – you’re working two jobs.
If you have super young children, you might be feeling frustrated that your business is not building as quickly as you hoped or that your career is not taking off in the way that you would like. Keep in mind that as your children grow, and go to school for longer hours, you will have more time to take your career in multiple directions. In the meantime, be easy on yourself because you are juggling a lot, Brunner says.
53. Use a paper planner or daytimer
Everyone is using their phone calendars, and they are great. “I find that a paper day timer gives me the space and freedom to make lists, jot down special notes and reminders, add in cute stickers, and cross items off — the most cathartic activity of all. Plus, you won't be distracted by social media on your phone,” Brunner says.
54. Create a home office space, even if it is the dining room table.
Or consider going to an office-sharing space or a coffee shop. “The key is to not be distracted by the unfinished laundry or the dusty baseboards in your house,” Brunner says. “Settle yourself into your workspace, and tune out everything that needs doing in your home life.”
55. Delegate where possible.
Again, you’re working two jobs. So you shouldn’t have to do all of the housework and childcare duties, Brunner says. If you can budget for it, hire a cleaning service, a yard service and even a laundry service.
56. Find a buddy or friend who is also a parent working for themself
Schedule regular coffees or lunches so you don't feel professionally isolated, and you can pick up tips, hacks, pointers from them, Brunner says.
57. Combine calendars.
As soon as you get your child's school calendar, input their schedule into your master calendar, says Heather Osgood, California-based founder of True Native Media and mom of three. “Make sure to include teacher workdays, minimum days and holiday breaks,” she says. “If you have your child's schedule in your calendar you will be able to plan for the time off accordingly.”
58. Delegate home and work tasks.
Have your children do their own laundry. Kids can easily fold clothes and put them away, Osgood says. “Ask for help from your spouse for dinner preparation or other household chores,” she says. “Hire a virtual assistant to help with tasks in your business. Even five to 10 hours per week of support from a virtual assistant can make a big difference.”
59. Identify your 80/20.
What things are you doing in both your family and business that are only taking 20 percent of your time or effort, but producing 80 percent of your results? Osgood asks. By identifying these items you can double down on what is working.
60. Let go of needing regular uninterrupted work hours.
As a work-at-home-parent, there will be constant interruptions and work times may only be available in chunks — like nap times, says Alexia Carillo, former STEM outreach educator and mom of one.
61. Create work boundaries
When you work from home, people envision you sitting around with tons of free time on your hands, Carillo says. “If you’re not careful, people will eat up your work time with phone calls, texts, and errand requests,” she says.
62. Shift from thinking like an employee to thinking like an entrepreneur.
As an employee, you got paid for showing up to work regardless of the quality of your work. “You traded time for money,” Carillo says. “If you keep this thinking as an entrepreneur, you’ll struggle. Instead, the entrepreneur has to focus on products/tasks complete regardless of the time it took.”
63. Learn to ignore household tasks during work hours.
Working at home is amazing but it also means you have the ability to look at any messes that need cleaned, Carillo says. In order to be productive, you have to learn to ignore those dishes in the sink or that laundry pile until after your designated work time.
64. Recognize that independent play is actually good for your kids.
As a work-at-home parent, you aren’t expected to, and shouldn’t, entertain your kid(s) all day every day. Not only will you get very little done, but your child will miss out on the chance to develop imagination, independence and creativity, Carillo says.
65. Don’t feel guilty.
We need to re-think how we think about working from home, says Lisa Duerre, CEO and founder of RLD Group, based in Silicon Valley, and mother of one. “You don’t have to feel guilty working from home when other people don’t have that luxury,” she says. “You also don’t have to be shamed by anyone, including yourself.”
66. Plan ahead.
For days to spend with your kid and not on work or anything else, Duerre says. “Your child will know that’s their time with mama,” she says.
67. Use an out-of-office message.
A lot of people don’t do this, and they catch a lot of grief because they don’t plan ahead with communicating. “It’s liberating when other people know when you’ll be back online, and they can adjust their expectations accordingly.”
68. Drink water.
“Dude, hydration is everything,” Duerre says.
69. Make sure important files are accessible from all your computers.
“I have mobile versions of the apps I use in my office: content calendar, social media schedulings, file storage, time tracking, email marketing — so I can access them when I’m not in the office,” says Lidia Varesco, brand strategist and creative marketer with Lidia Varesco Design in Chicago, and mom of two.
70. Set up room to play near you.
“My daughter is 13 months and just learning to play by herself for short periods of time,” says Sierra Robertson, founder and content creator for Madison and Vine Consulting in eastern Washington state, and mom of one. “My office is one half desk and one half baby playroom — she is able to play for much longer when I am nearby and if she needs me, I am right at hand.”
71. Throw out the old 9-to-5 schedule.
If you have kids, you already know that a regular work schedule just won't cut it anymore, Robertson says. “I use timeblocking to section out my day and break up long periods of work so I can play with my daughter, have lunch with her, and get household chores done too,” she says.
72. Use your village.
The modern village can be a combination of humans and technology, says Elizabeth Harz, mom of two and CEO of Sittercity. “Having shared Google family calendars to ease stress and reduce unnecessary texts, emails about what is happening when,” she says. “Lean on support where you find it, and use the gift of technology to make it all easier.”
“Building in time to think, go to the gym and creating a to-do list are a few ways that you can make sure you’re not only giving yourself time to accomplish your work and household responsibilities, but also time to recharge,” says Georgene Huang, Fairygodboss CEO and co-founder, and New York City-based mother of three.
74. Manage your time wisely.
“You will definitely need to purchase a calendar/daily planner of some sort to be able to work effectively,” says Tamara South, a New York-based mother of three, of Simply T Nicole. “Every day, write down what you are supposed to be getting done and execute that plan.”
South works best when she puts what she’s supposed to be doing every hour of the day.
75. Stop multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking is the ultimate killer of productivity, says McKinzie Bean, creator, entrepreneur and Utah-based mother of two. “I’ve found that when I have set work hours, I can be much more productive, and then the times that I am with my children, I am much more patient because I am not worried about getting behind on work.”
76. Be clear about your priorities.
Once you have those outlined, allow yourself the flexibility to achieve them at times that work best for your professional and personal life, says Alexandra Fung, mother of three and CEO of Upparent.
77. Don’t be rigid.
“Trying to stick too rigidly to a particular schedule will only lead to unnecessary stress, and is ultimately less productive,” Fung says.
78. Understand how you work best.
Then, carve out the necessary space and time to work at those times and in that place. “Whether that means working first thing in the morning or in the wee hours of the night, or whether you are invigorated by working alongside others in a co-working space or prefer the quiet of your own space at home or local library, find what works for you and make it happen,” Fung says.
79. Be intentional about the cross over between work and home life .
Though it will be hard to avoid, making deliberate choices about when you choose to look at work emails on the weekend or attend school functions during the week will make it easier to be fully present to your work or family when you need to be the most, Fung says.
80. Take email off your phone.
Heather Vreeland, mother of one in St. Augustine, and creator of The Hope Planner, says she did this in January, and it helped her batch her tasks so she’s not temped to think about the needs streaming into her inbox when she’s away from her desk. “When I’m at my desk, I’m focused on work, and when I’m off, I’m off,” she says.
81. Define what your idea of success looks like.
“I have found that I can silence my inner critic by simply not measuring myself against the women I perceive as doing life better than me on Instagram," Vreeland says. “I used to hustle so hard to work more, do more, sell more and win because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do as an entrepreneur or mom boss, but it left me exhausted, unfulfilled and missing my kid,” she says. “One day, I was like, ‘Ya know what, I don’t want to be Sara Blakely from Spanx, and that’s OK.’”
82. Take ownership of your gifts.
And set a plan to use them. Once you do this, you’ll start appreciating other women for their gifts, instead of trying to be like them, Vreeland says.
83. Put your child on a schedule.
“I was advised early on that I should do this, and it allows for my life to be a bit more predictable,” says Essence Hayes, president and founder of The Savvy VA, and New York-based mother of one. “I know when I need to bang out all my important work, and other times when I know my child will want my attention — so I plan accordingly,” she says.
84. Let your child get busy.
“Get them toys or something to keep them occupied for a good amount of time,” Hayes says. “This will also allow for phone breaks, snack breaks and even getting a meal in if you get it right.”
85. Get a glass door for your home office.
That way, your kids can see if you’re on an important call, but you can also lock them out and still spy on them, says Marnie Nathanson, founder and chief creative officer with The Social Status Co. in New Jersey.
86. Lean out of the guilt.
You don’t have to be at every single pick up and drop off, Nathanson says. “It does not make you a terrible mom — it makes you a strong boss mom,” she says.
87. Put your kids to work.
Nathanson’s 5-year-old has a desk at her office, and she and her brother come to work with her when alternative plans fall through. “They are package stuffers, in-house artists, snack organizers, paper stackers,” Nathanson says. “You’re keeping them busy, and also teaching them how to be hard workers.”
88. Find a balance.
“I am still working on finding a good balance of setting my own hours and getting everything I need to do done as a mom,” says Brittany Kline, a personal finance expert and CEO of The Savvy Couple and mother of one in Rochester, New York. “You need to create a schedule in your life to help with keeping you focused every day,” Kline says.
89. Wake up early.
There is no substitute for quiet time in the early hours without children awake, says Meredith Atwood, mom of two tweens in Boston, host of "The Same 24 Hours" podcast and author of The Triathlon for the Every Woman. “I hear a lot of times that, ‘I am not a morning person, so this is impossible,’” Atwood says. “The sooner you can become a morning person, the sooner you will find that you have all the time in the world to accomplish what you need.”
90. Accept that you will be interrupted.
Expecting the interruptions to your flow allows you to go with the flow more easily as the challenges to working from home with children constantly underfoot, Atwood says.
91. Work during nap times.
And don’t forget to get a workout in somewhere, Atwood says.
92. Start low and go slow.
When transitioning back to work after a sabbatical, start by returning only one or two days per week, says Edna Ma, an anesthesiologist, entrepreneur and mother of two. “From there, gradually increase the number of days you’re away from the home and children,” Ma says. “This gives the children and your co-workers time to re-adjust to their new circumstances.”
93. Have a back-up plan.
By creating redundancy in your household, you’ll reduce the potential emergency situations, Ma says. “This includes everything from childcare pick-up and dinner planning,” she says.
94. Create go-to dinner recipes.
And ingredients you know the kids will eat and are easy to prepare. “In our house, this is a pasta noodle soup with all the ingredients in my pantry or freezer,” Ma says. “This meal can be thrown together in about 20 minutes.”
95. Make a to-do list.
“I write down everything that I need to get done in the week, and break things down as necessary by the day for my work and home,” says Bev Feldman, a blogger and jewelry designer, and mother of two in Boston.
96. Save the chores for the weekend.
That way, Feldman maximizes her work time when her kids aren’t around so she can focus, and her attention isn’t diverted as much.
97. Do thought-intensive work when your brain is most functional.
For Feldman, this is first thing in the morning. “When my daughters wake up for the day, I usually stop working and my husband generally gets them started so that I can have a bit of time to myself to read a book and enjoy my cup of coffee before it gets cold,” she says.
98. Allow TV time.
While Feldman avoids doing work as much as she can when her younger child is up for her nap and her older child is home from school, if she’s on a roll or is really motivated, she allows them to watch something together.
99. Treat your body like a temple.
If you get sick, it’s disastrous. “It is never too late to try to live your best life,” says Michelina Windham, master esthetician with Be Luminous Skin Studio & Acne Clinic.
100. Get selfish.
“I say ‘no’ to social nights out when I really want to be practicing self-care,” says Kaya Marriott, the lifestyle blogger behind Comfy Girl with Curls. “I’ll say ‘no’ to collaborations when I know my personal goals will suffer.”