5 Daytime Routine Tips for Work-at-Home Parents

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Oh boy, I’m living it right now. I am LIVING it.

routine

It’s the perfect storm of my three jobs, and I don’t regret a second of it. It’s so hard, though. I’m doing one of my annual or bi-annual data entry jobs that I’ve been doing for eight years now. Writing is ramping up too, although it always seems to be that way. It’s also my busiest time of year for photography, and if you’re a client reading this, I will work so hard on those photos! The foliage was far better than I expected, and the jobs came rolling in last minute. I couldn’t/wouldn’t ever say no.

I’m at this strange point of life in which I’m pretty much in love with defining and redefining myself. It goes with the territory of being in your 30’s, I think. I can piece together stories and instances from every aspect of my life and see what worked and what didn’t. And now that I have kids in preschool and elementary school and I sometimes work three jobs at once, boy do I have to look back and analyze everything that’s worked, and might work now, to keep me relatively rested and accomplished.

It’s not easy, but finding a work/life balance is something we all face at some point(s).

routine

Luckily we have things that help, and help quite a bit.

Are you a stay-at-home or work-at-home parent? Here are times for finding your groove, and having a morning/afternoon routine that makes you THRIVE!

I’m not a morning person or a night owl. My ideal night of sleep is 11:00-8:00 or 12:00-9:00. If left to my own devices, it works out that way. (in my dreams it’s with long and luxurious brunches too!) While I like to wake up early for flights or looking for moose, generally it’s hard for me every day. Every single day. It’s that time of morning before the sun rises above the tall trees in our backyard. And that’s if the sun is due to come out from any clouds at all. It’s the creak of the oil heat shutting on, and that warm and musty smell. It’s the hum of the pellet stove and the sound of Des’ pajamas-clad feet on the hardwood floor. These are dreamy sounds, but I’m generally not ready to love them. I drop the kids at school and then I come home.

Then I look at my notes and see what is planned for the day. Every day is a fresh sheet of paper. A clean slate. What to have for breakfast? How to time-manage my work. Scheduling Scarlet for after-school classes on Tuesdays, potential piano lessons, and play dates. Every day with Des is different. I can pick him up at 12:30 or at 3:30. I give him one day of daycare. Fridays are clean slates and I can send him to school AND to extended day too. A double whammy. Or I can keep him home!

So many choices, about so many things.

V8® Veggie Blends are always a no-brainer on our Sunday shopping trips to Walmart. I mean, how could you not? It’s so difficult during the week to squeeze in your daily servings of vegetables, and it’s harder for me during the cold months. That’s why I love to start right at the beginning of the day. I’m a V8® girl and I always have been. I remember drinking it at my grandparent’s house as a kid, and keeping it in my college mini-fridge in my first apartment. Now there are two new flavors: V8® Veggie Blends: Berry Bliss and V8® Veggie Blends: Caribbean Greens. It’s a perfect way to start my day.

Working at home can be tough. I find that my routines are similar to my stay-at-home parent friends, only when something is distracting in my home, or if I have to pick up the kids or keep one or both home for illness, my work suffers. I think we can get the best of both worlds in the work/life balance, but also the worst of both, because it can be hard to do everything we set out to accomplish. After a few years of working from home, here are my best tips for managing the daytime routine:

1 – Shower and get dressed. I had heard it so many times but still didn’t fully listen. When I don’t get ready, I have to come home and do it at some point, rather than focusing instantly on breakfast and work. It makes a difference in productivity.

2 – The power of habit. You know how it works so well with kids? It works for adults too. Once you start doing things a certain way, for a certain amount of time, it becomes second nature. You don’t have to check a list to see what’s next. You already know. A printable chore/task chart or organizer helps. Using a written organizer or an app might be right for you. I have my own system in place with checks and balances based on my strengths. I’m a visual learner and a creature of habit.

3 – Work when you’re most alert, and schedule breaks and downtime for when you’re not. We all have our powerful points of the day, and maybe our weaker ones too. For me, between 3:00-5:00pm is REALLY tough, and especially during the winter months. Those early sunsets do me in. I do hit other peaks later in the day, but generally I work best with the most light. That makes perfect sense with my photography career!

4 – Take breaks. This is good for your mind, body and soul. Sitting in the same place might seem more productive than not, but once you walk around and talk to people and enjoy your surroundings, you come back to your desk more refreshed.

5 – Know your secret weapons. Building a successful morning/afternoon routine won’t look the same for anyone. We all thrive at different times of the day and from different things. For me, it’s good music and good fuel. And that’s where V8® Veggie Blends come in. They are an easy and affordable way to help meet my recommended daily intake of vegetables. An 8oz. serving of V8® Veggie Blends contains 1 full serving (1/2 cup) of vegetables! They’re also an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C & E, and are 75% juice and 25% pure water. Each 8oz. serving is 60 calories or less with no sugar added and no artificial colors, flavors or added preservatives. Walmart is our awesome source, as always:

Which flavor will you try first? Go check out V8® – another great V8® Veggie drink!

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30 Comments

  1. Aw, our days sound so similar and also not a morning or late night owl (btw) either. So, I do my best work when the kids go off to school during the daylight morning/early afternoon hours, too. Definitely looks like we are twins on this, too 🙂

  2. That 3:00-5:00 p.m. slot is bad for me, too. I’m most productive after breakfast and right before bed (lol), but the afternoon is really tough for some reason.

    1. I’m happy that the solstice has passed because now we’ll get a little more light each day. It starts getting noticeable by the end of January and I love that.

  3. So funny – 11pm to 8am is my perfect sleep schedule. But it never happens. I need to work on a routine – with the boys out of the house I have fewer places I have to be, so I’m kind of floundering. Great tips!

  4. Oh man, you just had to remind me of the looking for moose thing, huh? I’m still trying to find my first moose! Hah! But I totally agree with you on these points. For me, it’s essential to schedule breaks into my day. If I don’t, then I find myself scatter-brained and on the verge of losing it by the end of the day. Thanks for sharing your tips! #client

    1. hah, the moose thing is so real! If you ever need tips on finding moose, I’ll totally tell you the best tips! I know places to go where there’s a 100% chance to find them, but even that isn’t always easy. Whyyyy??
      The extra light we get each day after December 21st helps me so much.

  5. I am more of a morning person and I agree committing to core set of habits will help in productivity. When I am less mindful of my regular habits, my day doesn’t feel right.

    1. May we all sleep from 11-8 in the new year! I’m really down to one job this time of year, with only occasional forays into two or three. Much more manageable!

  6. Yum, Caribbean greens! I need to check that out! I hear you. I have 3 jobs too right now, I guess living it is definitely a way to describe it!

  7. I haven’t tried these new ones as yet. I love the V8 splashes, I hate the actual V8, but these ones look delish! I always try and prepare the day before so the morning will go good.

  8. This is invaluable advice, Tamara–and I love your list because I work from home, too, so creating a rhythm based on how we best work helps been very helpful to me. Also going out and taking frequent breaks. It’s important to breathe fresh air and be a chatty Cathy every day! At least for me 🙂 I’m totally the same re: 3-5 slot… I start to feel the day winding down at 6pm and I freak because of the darkness. It feels like the day is over! Maybe I need to get up a bit earlier each day…

    XOXO

    1. There are days I don’t see another human until late in the day, and that’s weird! I guess another adult is the more appropriate thing that happens. It’s strange! Hey, I just found out my brother works in Montclair. So cool! Small world.

  9. The picture with the light through the trees is so BEAUTIFUL! I’m trying to get more work at home. I need it.
    And yes, routine and breaks are important.
    XO

    1. Thank you! That’s one of my favorite photos. It was right after we moved here and I was pregnant with Des, noticing our backyard with fresh eyes.
      I hope it’s been going well with work at home! XO

  10. That sounds nice! I’d probably love the berry bliss!
    Definitely shower and get dressed always work for me. I feel like I can’t do anything productive if I’m still on my bedtime clothes. Taking a break is also crucial and I really make sure to follow it. Just that sometimes I miss to keep track of the time then I’ll just realize that I have worked for 8 straight hours. Sheesh.

  11. On the rare day where I have the entire day to work, I definitely need breaks. Usually that includes an exercise break. I actually like the punctuated times I have to work now. Two-three hours of work at a time is the perfect amount! And yes to routines. I love my morning routines 🙂

  12. I really need to work on sticking to a schedule better when it comes to a lot to areas of my life. My days can be really inconsistent and it shows in my personal productivity. Right now I’m really trying to work on developing a better night time routine for myself.

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