1) Shower every day. Preferably first thing in the morning. Or before you have to pick up the kid from the bus stop. Or before your significant other gets home. Or the UPS truck comes through the neighborhood.
1a) You know what? Just put it on your to-do list. Preferably right after “finish great American novel.”
2) Resist the urge to wear pajamas. Getting dressed in actual for-real clothes will help with your mood and productivity and ultimately, boost your own confidence in yourself as a professional. Plus, the baby barfed on your pajama pants and it smells bad. Please go change. God.
2a) However, if you wear yoga pants and sneakers when you pick up your kid at preschool, everyone will think that you went to the gym! This is also relevant to Tip #1. Your hair isn’t slicked with the oily grease of sleep and slovenation; that’s sweat from working out and all…the ass kicking and…stuff.
3) Have a home office or other designated work space. A work-at-home arrangement really blurs the work-life/family-life boundaries, and it’s important to find ways to “leave” your work behind at some point. Having a physical space — even if it’s just a tiny laptop desk or a specific part of the kitchen counter — that you use only for work-related tasks and can avoid at night and on weekends, if hugely helpful.
3a) In other words, working in your bedroom, on your bed, with your laptop and bags of potato chips strewn around you is probably the worst thing I could be doing right now and hey, whoa, how’d this sentence suddenly get all first person and shit?
3b) I like to bring the coffee carafe up from the kitchen and keep it on my nightstand. It’s a real timesaver! And a small Dustbuster handheld gets rid of all the potato chip crumbs before my husband comes home.
4) Get thee some part-time childcare. No doubt, one of the perks of my work-at-home arrangement was getting the baby out of full-time daycare and saving that considerable expense. But I was very, very wrong about my ability to work *only* during naps and a few minutes here and there while my kid — and then kids, plural — was distracted. Either deadlines were missed or late…or my child watched entirely too much television. There rarely seemed to be much middle ground. When I finally caved and admitted that I needed to hire a part-time nanny to make things work, it was the best decision ever for me AND my kids, because now there’s someone who can give them undivided attention and all the hours at the playground they can handle. And the TV stays solidly off all day.
4a) However, expect to get attitude over having the gall to have a “nanny.” Ohhhh, laaaa dee daaaa rich fancy lady, must be so nice to outsource your childraising while you lie around in bed eating potato chips all day.
4b) BITE ME.
5) No TV. No soaps or talk shows or The Price Is Right. You are working.
5a) Plus that’s what the Internet is for. Any daytime TV worth watching’ll get put on YouTube in a couple hours anyway. Duh.
6) Set working hours and stick to them. Close the computer and walk away at 5 pm, or when the sitter leaves, or the school bus arrives, or whatever. Just be done.
6a) And put the iPhone down. Go play with your kids.
6b) I know you get email on that iPad. That counts. Put it away and take a walk.
6c) No, there is no app that will let you post to Twitter via smoke signals in the front yard.
6d) Dude. I think you might have a problem.
7) Consider maybe working out of a coffee shop tomorrow, and the next day. You even can wear yoga pants!