February 21, 2013 - Ask Alison, Better You, Style

Ask Alison | Creating a WAHM Routine

Today’s Ask Alison is not a fashion post, but it just might help you get dressed!

I’m joining forces with Alissa, Natalia, Aimee and Hillary to share our best tips for work at home moms.  Be sure to pop by and check out their tips on work/life balance, organizing your workday, creating a workspace and more.

On to today’s question…

Hi Alison.  I’m a mom of two who works from home part-time.  I love your outfits and fashion advice but my problem is my days totally get away from me.  Most days I can’t even find time to get dressed.  Do you have any advice for that? – Chelsea W.

Oh Chelsea, can I ever relate.  If you’re not familiar with the reason why I started this blog, you can read more about that HERE.  But if you want the short version,  it’s because I got into a serious mom funk when I left my corporate office and became a WAHM.  Most days I wasn’t getting dressed either, let alone showering.  Eww.

What I desperately needed was a routine.

When I tell people that I work from home the first thing they say is “wow, must be nice!”, immediately followed by “so, do you stay in your PJ’s all day?”  I’ll admit that staying in my PJ’s (or rather, yoga pants) is something that I thoroughly enjoyed struggled with when I first started telecommuting.  While it is very tempting, if I stayed in my fluffy robe and bunny slippers all day, very little would get done.  My key to making working from home work for me is creating a daily schedule and sticking to it.

And yes, getting dressed in real clothes is part of that routine!

The key to organizing my day starts with what I call my “power hour”.  It’s my own personal staff meeting, a daily planning session just for me where I set my intentions for the day and get them down in my schedule.  I wake up an hour before everyone else and with my cup of coffee in hand, strategize how I can be most effective for that day.  I create an hourly schedule which, in addition to work, includes time for my workouts, personal errands and “pretty time” for getting dressed and ready for the day.

Here’s what a typical day looks like:

5:30-6:30  – Power Hour!  Planning session to determine the day’s activities and write out my daily schedule.  I also use this time for devotions, personal e-mail and blogging activities.

6:30-7:30 – Before school routine (make breakfast, wake the kids, get everyone off to school)

7:30 -10:30 – Work (3 hours)

10:30-11:00 – At home workout (3 days a week)

11:00-11:30 – Pretty time! (shower, get dressed, put on make-up)  I take a 10 minute shower, followed by 7 minutes of makeup and 7 minutes on hair, plus time to get dressed.  This is my quick ready routine, I shampoo my hair at night which saves me time.

11:30-12:00 – Lunch (run errands, do light housework, eat) I take a full hour on days that I don’t work out.

12:00-2:30 – Work (2.5 hours)

2:30 – 3:00 – Daughters arrive home from school (make them a snack, talk about their day, get homework started)

3:00 – 5:30 – Work (2.5 hours)

5:30 – 6:00 – Prepare dinner

6:00 – Hubby and son arrive home.

Most days I stick to my schedule pretty closely.  While flexibility has it’s place, discipline is really the key.  An hourly schedule helps me to be more efficient and effective.  It also allows me to spend some quality time with my kids during my work day, which is a huge perk of being a work at home mom.

You may prefer to get your pretty time scheduled at the very beginning of the day and that’s fine too.  The key is to set a schedule and stick to it.  You’ll be amazed at how much more in control of your day you suddenly become and how much more you can get done.

But if there are days that you don’t make it out of your yoga pants, that’s OK.  It happens to the best of us.  Just know that there’s always tomorrow.  🙂

It’s Your Turn:  Does your daily schedule include “pretty time”?  Share your tips in the comments.

For even more tips on time management, fashion and beauty, check out my book, Get Pretty, Kick Butt!

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  • Margaret Schrader

    How do you get that gorgeous hair in only thirty minutes??!! 🙂 I am so jealous! Most days I dread getting ready because of the tedious blow-dry, flatiron routine. 🙂 And then I’m usually still not happy with the result – ha ha! Maybe you could do a hair post because yours always looks amazing!

    Happy Thursday!

    • Alison

      Hi Margaret – This schedule has my quick ready routine. I have naturally curly hair so I only shampoo a few times a week and I do it at night. After the blow out/flat iron routine, it stays pretty straight for several days. That keeps my hair routine pretty low maintenance. But yes, I will do a hair post sometime, great idea! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • This is a great post. When my husband and I first started our business, we were both home a lot. It would have been so nice to stay in pjs all day and lay around, but that’s obviously not productive. One of the things that helped me when working from home was to put my shoes on. It sounds weird, but by having shoes on, I felt like I was able to face the day. Heather

    • Chrissy

      Funny, but you are SO right about the shoes! 😉

  • I like your scheduling idea. I wake up around 4:30 and get dressed for the day. I’m in gym clothes until about 12:30. By that time, I figure what is the point of getting dressed up if I’m not going anywhere so I take shower number 2 for the day and put on my jeans. That’s not a great way to think! I do make sure I have my hair fixed and my make-up on at all times though!! This is a silly question but how did you get your WAH job?

  • I work from home and also take care of our two year old daughter. I really only work when she is napping and then again after she goes to bed for the night. That being said, I don’t really have a lot of time to shower or get all dolled up while she is napping. I have become one of the people that leaves the house without making up and my hair in a bun on the top of my head. If you would have told me 10 years ago I’d be doing this I would have NEVER EVER believed you. But priorities change. I know once my daughter is in school it will be easier to get ready but getting ready for the day DEFINITELY puts me in the right mindset to be productive!

  • I love seeing what other people’s routines are! You have a great one set out for you! I usually spend an hour getting ready for the day…when that hour happens varies by day. I work out in the morning 3-4 weekday mornings a week so that time frame affects when my “pretty time” is. Some mornings I get up and run before the kids wake, others I go to spin at the gym. I don’t work so it’s more flexible. About 98% of the time though, I take that hour to get ready for the day. Even if it’s at 3pm sometimes! =)

  • POWER HOUR! That’s just perfect; I do it, I’ve just never named it. Successful people are people that set goals and plan their days (lives) out. When I had my first baby 14 years ago, I made it my goal to shower every day. I’ve pretty much stuck to that. When I get off track in my life I know it’s because I’ve been neglecting my Power Hour! (Love that term, and going to steal it!) During my hour I have my warm water with lemon, do my Bible Study, check email, plan my day, take out dinner fixins or throw them in the crock pot and take a quick shower. Then it’s time to wake up the troops… You continue to inspire me… keep posting these fabulous tidbits! xoxo jules

  • Thanks for this post! I work outside the house, but also have trouble getting all aspects of motherhood, housework, outside work completed. It’s so hard to find time to take care of yourself too! There are days when I can’t wait to crawl into bed and others when I am having a hard time getting out of bed! I think the only way to perfection is to get a magic wand! ha ha I appreciate a look at your schedule though to know that everyone is trying to “fit it all in”!

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  • Thanks for this glimpse into your days! I work outside the home, and struggle with my morning routine and its great to see how you do it! I am currently “tweaking” mine

  • Alison,

    That is an awesome way to schedule your day and be efficient as a Mom and entrepreneur.
    I hope you don’t mind if you share it with my teams. You are very helpful!


  • Chrissy

    Thanks for sharing your routine, Allison. My work at home job consists of taking care of my 2 and 4 year old girls but I still struggle daily with being productive as a parent, teacher, wife, housekeeper, etc. I love the “power hour” idea! I feel like that would really help me. I can’t seem to get anything done without a list.

  • These are great tips! I am going to try the power hour, but I think I’ll have to add in the pretty time with it because I have my priorities. 🙂

  • Thanks Alison, I so needed this right now and what I need to do is copy this schedule into my planner ASAP. I so easily get sidetracked and find myself working after everyone is in bed. Not using my time wisely.

  • I love this tip. I wished someone had told me this when Oliver was first born. I had to learn the hard way the importance of keeping up a routine for myself, especially having a power hour ( I love that you call it this). The way my day goes is usually a reflection of that hour before O is up. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jen

    Yes! I do have pretty time! It is so important! Really, I accomplish so much more and feel so much better when I get dressed and put some make-up on! For me its early in the morning before everyone gets up. Because I have a toddler who I am home with- if I don’t shower and dry my hair before she wakes up…it just doesn’t happen. If I’m lucky I get some “me” time in the morning to read and organize my day before she wakes up too. (Doesn’t always happen but I appreciate it when it does…)

  • i wish it involved a bit more pretty time. the kids & i hit the gym 3 mornings a week and we typically get home in time for some playtime, lunch time, story-reading/puzzle playing time, nap time– -which is when i work and then sometimes a shower before i make dinner. it seems our days are so jammed with work stuff during the week that i rarely have time for me. i love the idea of fitting this in mid-day! especially on those workout days!!

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