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Working From Home: What's Important

I have been working from home for a little over a year now. Managing a career and CF, on top of everything else that an adult has to juggle, can be difficult. The hardest part about working outside the home was working while in pain or not feeling well and it can be hard trying to keep steady paychecks when hospitalized.

Taking work into my own hands

So last year I decided I wanted to control how much I work and when I work. This way I could be flexible if I was sick or struggling.  I discussed my decision to step away from my career and work from home: “Can I Keep Working? When It’s Time To Take A Step Back”.

Looking back, I’m not sure how I got everything done when I worked outside the home (real estate). I guess I just made it work. Since changing career paths, I have been able to balance working from home, CF, and family life. How? That’s the real question.

Here are some of the things that helped me with the balance of work and home. Whether working remotely or looking to work from home permanently, I hope these lessons I learned can help you.

Tips for working from home with CF

Some things I thought I needed, but didn’t:

  1. An office or dedicated workspace. We have a spare bedroom/office in our home. But, guess what? I don’t use it. I tend to do my work at our dining room table. It helps me multi-task with watching our kid and getting my computer work done. I also sit on the couch quite often. Heck, I can take my laptop outside if I need a change in scenery. I like the flexibility and working in different spots. Changing my work environment can help me re-focus and helps with my emotional health.
  2. A fancy planner. You may use them and love them. I agree, they are fun and nothing is better than checking an item off a list. However, I noticed I spent a lot of time filling out the pages and less time working. I was losing extra time I could spend on my family. Instead, I have all my important lists on my phone, as well as my calendar and schedule.
  3. Other supplies: notebooks, highlighters, post-its, etc. Some jobs may require supplies, but I found I can do almost everything on my laptop. This helps me to keep my workspace clean and home less cluttered. Which helps me feel more positive (less anxious) and helps to keep me focused.

Working from home "Do's"

The one thing I have found I need the most was finding time for ME! I do this by creating a schedule (or loose routine). One example: I try to find productive ways to multi-task so I can have a little free time for myself. I do 1.5 hours of computer work (blogging) while doing my nebulizers, while my kid eats breakfast. My work is put away before dinner and I try to finish my evening medical treatments before then too. This way my husband and I have time to watch a show or read after our kid is in bed (his bedtime is 7:30-8 pm).

Personal time and space

“You time” can involve a hobby, naps, reading, or watching a favorite show. Lately, I have really needed to get out of the house (after being cooped up for 6 months), so I take walks around the block while listening to music or podcasts. Sometimes I go for a quick drive or run to grab a coffee.

Prioritizing mental health

Simple things like a drive can really help my emotional and mental health. Some days I have more free time than others, but making sure I have at least an hour a day to do something I love has been crucial for my mental health. When I lose my free time, I become more anxious, and struggle focusing, this also affects my work.

Rules, schedules, and preparation

Rules (like “No interrupting Mom on a phone call”), schedules and dedicated work hours, and meal planning has also helped our family keep on top of our work schedules. These all help us to stay organized so that we have family time too.

Out of all the advice I could give, my biggest help has been reminding myself to take some “Me time.” My best advice is not to lose the “YOU time” to day-to-day tasks. Find the time--it is important in so many ways. It not only helps to keep me focused on work, but keeps me calm, energized, and positive.

Are you working from home and managing CF (and maybe a family, too)? Share your experience with us!

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