how to style office book shelves

// full office reveal + details here //

I can’t believe it has been almost four years since I actually went in to a corporate office.  (For those of you who are new around here, my background is in buying for companies such as Neiman Marcus and Gilt Groupe.  After having Knox, I became a full-time blogger and mamma!)  The older the boys get, the harder it gets to stay productive when our home doubles as my office, but here are a few tried a true tips I have picked up along the way…

-Shop The Post-

1. Treat each work day as if you were going into an office: By this I simply mean, get up at the same time every morning to start your work day as if you had to report to an office.  For me, my work day starts at 9am.  We wake up around 7am, snuggle in bed with some cartoons on (I obviously have two little children), eat breakfast, walk Rosie and then get showered and dressed before closing the doors to my office at 9am.  (We have a nanny that comes and helps me with the boys in the mornings on days they aren’t in school.)

2. Get ready every morning: I spent many a days working from home with a dirty ponytail wearing my pajamas in the months after the boys were born.  Lack of sleep and nursing every few hours were my excuse, but in the end I think it would have been more productive to take the time to shower and get ready.  When I feel like myself, I am more inspired to create inspiring content, get in a work mindset and knock out the task at hand.  Staying in pajamas or not getting dressed to feel your best often means not performing at your best level either.

3. Use a block schedule or the Pomodoro Technique: This one took me the longest to master, four years to be exact.  For the first year after having each of the boys I would catch a few hours of work between nursing, naps and any moment they seemed content with a snack or on a play mat.  This typically meant I was (very) scattered, constantly starting and stopping projects and typing emails that would get lost in my drafts without ever actually getting sent.  This is obviously no way to run a business, but I was too afraid to delegate any blog responsibilities (it is my face and name I am putting out there after all) or any parenting responsibilities (because no one could do it like I did #amiright?).  Now that I have (finally) realized this isn’t good for anyone, I have started to focus 100% at the task at hand.  My mornings are devoted to work and my afternoons are devoted to the boys.  During my working hours I am using the Pomodoro Technique and I have found it super helpful!  If this isn’t conducive to your work environment, simply create a block schedule to tackle specific task at a time.  This is particularly helpful to make sure that you don’t get distracted by social media and an always dinging inbox!

4. Create an Inspiring place to work: It’s so important, no matter how small the space, to create an actual work environment.  You don’t have to have a proper home office with walls, but it is important to have a proper desk with everything you need in one place.  When we lived in New York City, I had a small, affordable desk in the corner of our living room.  Everything was always set up for a productive work environment when I sat down.  I didn’t waste time getting my computer out or finding my to-do list.  It was right there waiting on me.

5. Invest in everything you need: This may seem obvious, but when I started working from our apartment in NYC, I didn’t have a printer / scanner and I would have to walk down the street to a Fed Ex every time I needed to sign a contract or print something.  Although taking a planned walk for a break is always welcome.  Interrupting a good work flow is not. I quickly realized there were some office supplies that were worth the investment (this is the printer I still use and love).

6. Schedule breaks to get out: Working from home can become really uninspiring, if you let it.  Because I only have a limited amount of time to knock out my work (when our nanny is here in the morning), I find myself huddled up in my office, turning down invitations for lunch and events.  Yes this may mean have more time to work, but over the course of years of doing this, I have noticed that I became stuck in a rut.  The monotony of working alone became redundant and after 6 years of blogging alone, I struggled to pump out content and find inspiration.  I am now making it a priority to get out for a lunch or a coffee date at least once a week.  I have several friends who are also in the creative industry and I particularly enjoy meeting up with them.  I find inspiration talking to other entrepreneurs and learning from them.  On days that I don’t venture out for a date, even a quick walk around the block with Rosie can give me the reset I need to come back to my desk and power through the last hour.

7. Set boundaries: This is an important  one, especially for working moms.  When we first decided it was time to hire a nanny to help me accomplish some work around here Knox was 18 months old.  I was so excited by the idea that I could go to the grocery store alone or actually get a load of laundry done that I found myself doing these types of chores during the nanny’s hours instead of working on HoH.  Yes, this was great for my personal to-do list, but it didn’t help me when it came to running my business. After several late nights of working and realizing that I wasn’t actually creating more content with the new-found help, I had to put some limits on myself and the boys.  I no longer allow myself to complete household chores during ‘work hours’ (unless it is necessary, like we are out of coffee).  But I also had to set boundaries with the family, as well.  Since getting to see the boys while I work is one of the best benefits of working from home, they often wander in and out of my office as they please; requesting mommy do this or get that, and I obliged because I could.  But again, this was putting a hindrance on my productivity and I started wondering what the point of having help was if I was still tending to the boys.  After talking to other mom friends I realized it was best for everyone for me to focus on the task at hand 100%.  Now, when I am working in the mornings I focus 100% on work.  And when the afternoon comes around and it is time to be with the boys, I focus 100% on the boys.

I would love to hear your tips, as well!  Do you work from home?  Share what help keeps you focused in the comments below.

-Shop The Post-