Working from home can seem like a dream job. But while the dream never included clutter in the background and dirty dishes piled in the sink, the reality is that houses don’t magically clean themselves just because you’re home more often.
In fact, juggling a demanding work schedule from home can lead to significant frustration when your boss is happy but your family is left searching for clean socks.
Here are a few keys to developing a routine that will allow you to stay on top of housework while working from home:
Think in terms of tasks, not time.
Instead of saying you’re going to clean the house for thirty minutes each day, determine which tasks need to be done daily and which need to be done weekly. Then prioritize those tasks, putting the ones that absolutely have to be done at the top of the list.
If you say you’re going to do housework for thirty minutes a day, you may find it is easy to justify skipping housework altogether when a looming deadline means you truly don’t have those minutes to spare. By prioritizing tasks, you can concentrate on getting the most important things done in the time you do have. Even if you are only able to empty and re-load the dishwasher, you’ll be far better off than if you ditched all attempts at home management.
Create a list of daily tasks and a list of weekly tasks. A daily checklist will help you stay on top of the things that will keep your home running smoothly. Weekly tasks are the bigger cleaning jobs such as bathrooms, dusting, etc. Your work schedule may dictate whether you need to designate one day of the week to these large tasks, or assign each task to a specific day.
Take advantage of the time you save by working from home.
Part of the dream of working from home was that you wouldn’t have to spend your evenings and weekends taking care of home tasks. But eight hours of work at home is still eight hours of work, and you may end up discouraged to find that housekeeping tasks are being pushed to those after-work hours.
Look for and take advantage of the time that you truly do save by working at home. If you had a twenty-minute commute to the office, use those twenty minutes to tackle your daily checklist. If you used to spend forty minutes dressing for success, but now only need fifteen minutes to throw your hair in a ponytail and apply basic make-up, use that saved time to tackle one of your larger cleaning tasks. The thought of watching a little morning television while leisurely drinking a cup of coffee is appealing, but resisting this will allow you to truly relax in the evening with your family.
Like most things in life, the reality of working from home is rarely as ideal as the dream was. But with a little thought and planning, it’s possible to experience the advantages of this way of life.