By Jill Koziol and Elizabeth Tenety
As co-founders of Motherly, a new digital community and essential parenting resource for modern mothers, we’ve had to be very purposeful about our work/life integration practices, leading by example as we set the tone for Motherly and our growth. As a journalist (Liz) and consultant and entrepreneur (Jill) we’ve both worked from home before but nothing compares to the intensity of starting a new business. We’ve identified a few tips to save some sanity and successfully work from home ensuring we integrate our lives in a way that optimizes for time with our real bosses, our adorable (and demanding!) children.
- Wake up early: We say this as women who long hated mornings, and spent most of our 20s avoiding our alarm clock. But getting up early, earlier than we even want to most mornings, has truly changed the course of our days, and ultimately our lives. We’re able to get some time for clear thinking in the morning, and are able to finish some high priority tasks even before our kids wake up.
- Wait to check email: Liz recently began noticing an increasing number of people she admired talking about why they don’t check their email first thing in the morning. We’ve given it a try and by not setting ourselves into reaction mode while we’re still in bed, we’ve given ourselves the ability to start our day with more intentionality, which has had great consequences on our mood, as well as our efficacy at Motherly.
- Get out of the house: We make a point of getting out of the house as much as possible. Mostly, we work at Starbucks, our other “office”. By changing the scenery, we’re able to mentally force ourselves to realize that we’re in work mode, and that we need to achieve as much as possible during that time frame.
- Stay connected: While the solitude of working from home can mean fewer distractions, it can also lead to a feeling of isolation. We’ve found it important to manufacture interactions as much as possible like purposefully scheduling breakfast, coffee, and lunch meetings, using real-time communications like phone and video calls instead of email, and getting involved with local networking groups or meet-ups. A little human interaction goes a long way to fuel creativity and spark innovation.
- Establish boundaries: The reality of working from home is that there is literally no separation between work and home, frequently leading to longer work hours. Without a natural stopping point, the days get longer and it can be hard to put work aside. Self-regulation and being disciplined about setting boundaries is critical to avoid a feeling of burn-out. Scheduling work free time every day and establishing a clear end to the work-day has been critical for us. We’ve also found setting up a routine for “closing up shop”, including putting our laptops out of sight, is really helpful.
The benefits of working from home, especially as a mother, are immense and we love the flexibility (and extra toddler kisses!) it affords us. Give these tips a try and let us know if they work for you, helping you better integrate work and life so you can feel a bit more Motherly.
Motherly is a new digital community platform and parenting resource for digitally-native millennial moms to get news, information, inspiration, products and services curated to their evolving lives.
About Jill Koziol
Jill is a high-energy, passionate entrepreneur who is eager to solve problems big and small. She has experience marketing to mothers through HoneyBee Child and a background in both strategy consulting and career coaching. Jill resides in New York City with her husband and two beautiful daughters.
About Elizabeth Tenety
Liz is a dynamic, inspiring, and award-winning journalist and editor. She’s an innovative, big thinker on digital media strategy and determined to create a community for moms to learn, grow, share and evolve. Liz resides in Palo Alto with her husband and two adorable and “energetic” sons.