How to work from home and Actually get Stuff Done

For the past couple of weeks many people around the world have been thrown into a life of working at home, alongside their kids who are not in school right now, and maybe a spouse who is also working from home or maybe not working at all.

work from home

As someone who has worked at home for the past two years as well as homeschooled my kids at the same time I can say it does present it’s challenges.

Working from home is amazing for me. I love that I have the opportunity to be at home with my kids But it’s not an easy balancing act. And in full disclosure, I often feel like my balance is off.

I don’t get as much done as I would like in basically all areas of my life – homeschooling, homesteading, and working from home. While I can get easily frustrated at this, I’ve learned to accept that I am only one person and need to accept that I can only do so much.

When I plan my day I try to use the “rock” method. Have you heard of this? Basically, think of your life as rocks in a jar. The first rocks you put in are the big rocks – the most important ones. So for me, this generally is homeschooling. I want to make sure my kids are getting done what they need to. Some homesteading would fall into this category too. When I wake up the first order of business is making sure the animals are fed.

After your first rocks are in, you add some pebbles. You see, the pebbles fill in a bunch of holes the rocks left in the jar. For me this is primarily my work. I really need to get a fair amount of work done most days and so once the kids are taught and the animals are fed it’s necessary that I get stuff done for my job.

After your pebbles are in the jar you add sand. The sand will fill in the rest of the spaces. The sand would be anything in your life that would be okay if you didn’t get to that day. So for me this may be some homesteading projects I have on my list, or let’s be honest, some deep cleaning of the house.

I know, I know – some people are going to cringe when they see the deep cleaning is at the end, but it’s something I’ve had to accept. Like I said above, I just CAN’T do everything all the time and so I have to accept that my house will not be perfectly clean a lot of the time.

On a totally unrelated note, does anyone know how much it costs for a house cleaning service?

But, back to the point of the post….

There are things you can do to make your day more productive when working at home, especially when your kids are home.


Schedule out your day.

Decide what time of day you are going to put in some hours for your work. Depending on your job this may be already decided for you, but if not, pick which hours make the most sense to get more done. If you have small babies and toddlers who still nap you’ll want to take advantage of that time to get some work done (I don’t care what they say, ain’t no mama got time to “sleep when they sleep”;) ).

Get up before the family and put in some hours.

Even if you can get in a couple hours before your kids wake up, that can help you get ahead. Now, this is something that has never worked for me because my children have this uncanny ability to hear when I take a single footstep outside of my bedroom and they will get up too. But, if you have more luck than me in this department, take advantage of it.

Put in some hours after they go to bed.

This will fully depend on what time they go to bed and if you are a night hawk or not. I generally take advantage of this time and work till about 10 clock many nights, but anything past 10 and my brain stops functioning. You also want to make sure you don’t stay up to the point that you are not getting adequate sleep. You can not burn the candle at both ends and you will not be as productive if you are exhausted.

Sometimes screen time is necessary.

Look, I’m like many moms out there – I don’t want my kids to have an excessive amount of screen time. But sometimes I just need to get some work done and I’ve run out of options to keep them happily distracted. There are times the tv goes on so I can get a bit of work done. Especially when it’s colder weather and it isn’t as easy to send them outside for an extended period of time. If you want to feel better about it you can always put on an educational documentary, but a little bit of screen time isn’t going to ruin your kids.

If your kids are older, lay down the rules.

If you have older kids you can just let them know that between “such-and-such time” they are not to bug you unless it is an absolute emergency (you know, if there’s blood or your Amazon delivery arrived). Older kids are more than capable of leaving their parents alone for a few hours if need be.

Work in a quiet space.

You aren’t going to get work done in the middle of the living room. If you have an office use that, but if you don’t you can retreat to a bedroom or another quiet space. Heck, I’d set up shop in the bathroom if I was desperate.

Give your kids snacks and toys.

If you have younger kids grab some snacks and maybe some toys you have stored away in a closet that they haven’t seen in a while. Pull those out when you need to get some work done. Snacks have an uncanny ability to quiet down kids. It’s like magic. 🙂

Rotate toys and activities.

Going off the above paragraph, put some toys and activities on a rotation schedule. Put them away and only pull them out during your work time. Make sure you rotate a few so they don’t get bored quickly. This will keep them quiet for longer allowing you to get some much needed work done.

Do the most important tasks first.

Expect that you may not get done everything you want to in a day (I think that’s most days for moms, am I right?) Do the most important tasks first, the ones that absolutely need to be done, and then do the ones that will be okay if they take a little longer than you had hoped to complete.

Put social media on lockdown.

It’s so easy to get distracted from what you need to be doing. You get up, you are set to put in some good work hours, yet before you know it you’ve watched 30 minutes of old Glee music videos on Youtube and no work to show for it.

No? Just me?

Decide that you can’t use Youtube, Facebook, or any other site that distracts you until you get your work done. If you don’t have enough self control there are programs you can download to your computer and cell phone to literally lock these sites for a set amount of hours so you can get work done without falling into temptation.


Even if you have a full, active house, working from home can be successful. It just requires a little bit of tweaking and learning what works for you.

The biggest thing to understand if you have children at home is that you may not get done what you want to every day. That’s something I’ve had to accept but I remind myself that the kids are only young once. Eventually they will not be here anymore and I’ll have all the quiet hours I need to get my work done at home. For now, I do what I can and accept that I can only control so much.

There are times I plan for a super productive day and a child gets hurt and needs some extra TLC, or another child is dealing with some big emotions and needs to talk things out for hours, or our math homeschooling takes WAY longer than I had hoped because we get stuck on some stuff. Or sometimes the animals require more of me. It’s just the way it goes when your life is a crazy zoo. 🙂 But I love the craziness that comes with it.

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