How to Manage Housework and Work from Home

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People often dream about how blissful it would be to work from home, and don’t get me wrong, I think there are many of advantages to having this flexibility. However, with a new environment comes new challenges and new stresses. Housework is one of them.

I’m sure that there are plenty of you out there who are like me. You sit down to work, but the lounge room needs vacuuming or there are a few dishes on the sink. You think to yourself, why don’t I just do them? I’m at home, how much time can it take? It builds up in the back of your mind. If you have other people in the house who go to work, school, or university, you feel like it should be your job to do housework because you’re home.

Sometimes feeling guilty about not doing housework can goad you into doing it, but sometimes it can be an obstructive block to the work that you have in front of you. If your mind keeps slipping to the housework that needs doing instead of being focused on the job at hand, your work is probably not going to be as top quality as you would like it.

How do you manage it?

1. Tell yourself ‘I am at work’

Working from home blurs the line between home and work environments. If you can manage it, have a separate room or space that is specifically for work. It can just be a corner of the lounge room, but while you’re there, you are ‘at work’ and not ‘at home’.

2. Use breaks to do some housework

If you’re like me, you enjoy taking frequent, but very short breaks. I sometimes use these breaks to wash a few dishes or put a load of laundry on. I don’t let these activities dominate my work. I use them to get up and move away from my computer screen and switch modes. It can help make your day more productive than taking a ten minute break and spending it browsing Facebook (unless that is your job).

3. Delegate a time to do some housework

If you prefer not to take short breaks, allocate a portion of the day where you can do housework. One of the great things about working from home is that you cut your commute time down to zero. Use the time you would be commuting to get some of that housework done.

4. Don’t feel guilty and explain to others

Sometimes I look over and see that the carpet could do with a vacuum. I’ve learned to just ignore it and not feel guilty. This follows on from point 1. I’m at work. Vacuuming is not what I do for work, so I stop feeling guilty. Seriously, don’t beat yourself up about it. Also, if those that you live are trying to make you feel guilty, sit them down and explain to them: I may be in the house, but I am at work. Negotiate with them on fair housework arrangements.

5. Housework isn’t everything – learn to relax

Sure, having a clean environment is wonderful, but there’s a line between clean and obsessive. Learn to relax a little. Even if you don’t get to that carpet this afternoon, no one is going to die. Probably. I haven’t seen your carpet.

Image from © Lime Lane Photography

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