This post was first published on June 15, 2009. I thought it a good one to republish for newer Simple Mom readers, though it’s ironically for the opposite reason I mention in the post — I’m incredibly busy getting ready for the baby to arrive and making other life decisions this week. Nonetheless, I hope it’s a good reminder for us all…
I‘ve got several emails with a “to be answered in a post” tag that all ask this question–“How do I find the motivation to work at home when I just don’t feel like it?”
I’m responding to this question today because it’s a good one to address in my own life. It’s getting hot, life isn’t quite as hectic as last month, and there’s not much on the calendar for the next few weeks. It’s easy to get lazy at home.
Here are a few ideas to fight off the apathy, the lack of interest, or the plain ol’ annoyance at the cyclical nature of your job as home manager.
1. Remember that it’s a job.
When someone asks where you work, don’t answer, “I don’t work; I stay at home.” Instead, answer, “I work at home.” When you manage your home, plan the meals, handle the finances, juggle the calendar, and make sure that family members enter the world relatively groomed and sanitized, you work a lot. Think of yourself as the COO of the home. If your home was Home, Inc., how would you rate your performance in a quarterly review?
2. Start your day with a realistic morning routine.
Photo by Bill Israel
Seasons in life call for flexibility, change, and not doing what you want all the time — but do your best to write down a weekday morning routine for starting your day. Whether it be working out, reading your Bible and journaling, going on a walk, or simply showering and getting dressed before the family wakes up, do what you can to prepare yourself for a day of work.
3. Eat your frog.
After your morning routine, attack that one thing you dread the most. Is it laundry? Start a load of wash right away, and make it your goal to get clean clothes in their closets by lunchtime. Do you need to pay the bills but can’t stand the work involved? Jump on it right away — the weight will be off your shoulders for the rest of the day once they’re paid.
4. Find inspiration…
Spend a few minutes reading blogs that encourage you in your job as home manager. Flip through some home magazines you enjoy to motivate you to clean up the clutter. Set a timer as you do this, so that you know when it’s time to actually put your found inspiration to work.
5. …But, don’t let those blogs and magazines discourage you.
It’s easy to throw in the towel before you even start your work when you read about other moms that seem to do everything, or look at glossy pages with gorgeous, stain-free furniture. If you’re a perfectionist, like me, you might especially be prone to not doing anything at all if you think you can’t do it expertly. If this is you, make a point to not open your laptop or a magazine until a certain chunk of your checklist is crossed off.
6. Leave the house.
Photo by Rob
Are you frozen with discouragement as you trip over the carpeting of Lego and stare at the pile of lunch dishes? Are your kids restless with energy, full of wiggles needing release? Get a change of scenery. Go to the park. Go on a walk. Go to a friend’s house. Sometimes fresh air will do all of you a world of good.
7. Evaluate what you’re about.
Perhaps you feel lazy about starting your work because you feel like you have so much to do, with no sign of completion. Are you trying to do too much? Is the goal of your job to have a sparkling house, spotless kids, and a three-course meal every evening? Are you losing the love of your game? Maybe it’s time to sit down and create a family mission statement. Decide who you are as a family. Let that be your guide for what you prioritize during your working hours.
8. End your work day.
It’s hard to see the end in sight, and there are sleepless nights peppered in our work weeks because of sick kiddos, nursing infants, or willful toddlers. But do what you can to end your work at a reasonable hour in order to spend time with your spouse, recharge your batteries with some adult (or alone) time, and get adequate rest for tomorrow.
Everyone has valleys in life, when your spark has waned a bit, and you’ve forgotten what it’s like to love your calling. Your love is probably still there, somewhere. Do what you can to find it, instead of running your batteries on obligation. Everyone in your family will thank you.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling blase about your home management work?