A few weeks ago, we shared some of our best tips for creating a stylish and functional home office. Because it seemed to be a topic that struck a chord with our readers, we decided to delve a little deeper into the topic. We tapped work-from-home mother and mom-preneurship expert Holly Hurd, founder of VentureMom.com, to share with us some of her best tips for balancing business and family while working from home. Here’s what she had to say.
Why is it important to have a dedicated office space as a work from home mom?
Working from home with children under foot can be a balancing act. If at all possible having a dedicated space is imperative. This allows you to set up and stay set up. Your to-do files can stay where you can find them and your desk is always at the ready. And if you have a door that can be closed, that’s even better. If you are home alone during the day when your kids are at school, having a space that say “this is for my work” keeps you on task.
What are your home-office essentials?
There are so many stylish and creative ways to set up your home office. Here are the VentureMom home office I have very cool file boxes that sit by my desk. These provide easy access to papers and files. I like my large desk so I can lay things out as I work. When I’m writing my Featured VentureMom Stories, it helps to have my interview notes next to me as I write. I also love my large comfortable keyboard, great for all the writing I do. And I have a stone Buddha just in view to my left on a table next to the couch to keep me centered when I get overwhelmed.
What can you do if you don’t have a spare room to dedicate to an office at home?
If you don’t have a spare room, set up a desk in a quiet place away from the kids. This might be upstairs in your bedroom. Although that might affect your sleep if you’re seeing your work at night when you are trying to decompress. If you have a closet in your dining room or that barely-used living room, open the door and install a pull down desk. Add shelving to hold file boxes and baskets of office supplies and you’re set. Open the office by opening the door. I love an attic office. Even if the space is unfinished, it’s so easy to carve out a place to throw down a rug and put a desk on it. Make sure you hide all the storage items that need to be sorted and given away otherwise you’ll be distracted. (Better yet, set aside some time to Feng Shui your attic.)
What are your best tips for creating a home office that’s both stylish and functional?
What are you top tips for staying on task when you’re working from home?
To stay on task, you must compartmentalize your time. In my book, Venture Mom: From Idea to Income in Just 12 Weeks I talk about setting aside chunks of time just for work. During this time, don’t answer friends’ emails, shop for shoes, order dog food or do any of the other things that the internet can suck you into. Just work. And if your home office is for running the house and family, make sure you focus on that before checking Gilt. After work, there is plenty of time for all the other fun stuff. You’ll be much more productive if you set up your time this way. We want to keep our to-do lists shrinking and our work moving forward.