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10 Work from Home Tips for the Empty Nester

by | May 1, 2024 | Living in the Next Phase, Empty Nesting

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10 Work from Home Tips for the Empty Nester

10 Work from Home Tips for the Empty Nester is a guest post by Miranda Lamb of The Reluctant Cowgirl.

Your teens are starting to leave home. A time that you could barely even imagine, when your kids were young, is turning into your new reality. And maybe you are wanting to dip your toe back into the work world by working from home. Here are 10 work from home tips for the empty nester that have helped me carve out hours in my day to do what I love.

In 2017, I started a blog upon the heels of our second son moving off to college. Partly, I wanted to try to cope with the loneliness of having only one kid still at home. And partly, I wanted to start creating a life for myself beside being a homeschool/ stay-at-home mom. Up to that point, I only worked one evening a week. So working more hours from home was an adjustment for everyone.

Here are the best work from home tips for the new WAHM!

Empty Nest Ideas: Work from Home Tips with laptop and coffee cup
10 Work from Home Tips for the Empty Nester 12

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Work from Home Tips #1: Retrain Your Family that You Are Working

Surprise! Your family is used to having access to you all the time. So it takes a while to retrain everyone. First, start by just having an hour or two in the day where you are “unavailable” unless of emergencies. Coming in to ask what’s for dinner or where they left something is NOT an emergency.

For me, I found that I could get in a little work after my husband was out the door for work, but before my teen was up. Then in the later morning, while my teenager was tackling school subjects she did on her own, I would have office hours for myself.

Work from Home Tips #2: Make Your Work a Priority

No one is going to come along and give you permission to work more from home. You have to give it to yourself. Think through how much time you realistically can carve out in your day, and then just do it. Your husband and teens may immediately understand and help you make your work time a priority. Or it may be just you for a while, learning to let a few things go so you can focus on your work.

When I first started creating a work from home job, I felt a bit like Cinderella trying to finish all her work so she could go to the ball. Each day, I would run around trying to get everything “caught-up” around the house. It felt uncomfortable to sit down to work on my business knowing that there were dishes in the sink or phone calls I needed to make. But what ended up happening was that time would run out before I would get all my regular duties done.

Finally, I realized one of the best work from home tips. I had to be the one to make my new job a priority.

Work from Home Tips #3: Find a Work Space

In our current home, I have a beautiful pink office. I absolutely love it. But starting out, in 2017, I just had a couple places in the house that I found worked well for me. I enjoyed working in our school room area at home. And I found I actually got a fair amount of work done, working on my bed.

Every once in a while I would work at my desk, but my desk was where I would typically pay bills, so my head would always jump to thinking I should be working on household stuff.

Explore your home and discover what works best for you. Can you put a small desk in your bedroom? Do you actually like sitting at the kitchen table? What area in your home can be turned into an office nook or helps you mentally feel most creative?

Work from Home Tips #4: Discover Your Best Work Hours

Are you a morning person or more of an evening person? Do you like to have the whole day to work on a project? Or do you tend to find that after a few hours you need a break and so you need smaller chunks of time, multiple times a week. Everyone is so different. Experiment to see what times of the day you have the most energy and what chunks of time work the best for you.

Since a lot of what I do is content creating, I really enjoy the first hours in the day. So I like to get up early before the day starts creeping in and use the first few hours to write. My mind is clearer then.

By afternoon, my mind is toast. So I do tasks that are more automatic in the afternoon. If I still have work to do, I choose tasks like editing pictures that don’t take much creativity. Or I try a new recipe where I am in the kitchen moving. And I also save most of my household chores for the afternoon and evenings.

Work from Home Tips #5: Create Home Systems That Support You

One thing that I learned from my business coach is to create household systems that work for me. Your house should support you and your family goals, not just be something you have to keep up with! This is a must do of the work from home tips.

I used to do all my own grocery shopping. That way I could pick and find all the best deals. Nowadays, I have a little more money than time, so I choose to use the grocery service and just pick-up my groceries.

Another way I have changed my household system is utilizing my teen’s approach to cleaning. My daughter likes to have set days to do certain chores. I have always resisted set days feeling like it restricted me. But last year, I started to use set days for specific chores.  And I love it! It takes out all the guesswork, and it is one less thing that I have to use brain power to think about. And if I do a chore a day, I can keep up with my household way better.

What can you drop, delegate, or do differently to keep up with your household?

Work from Home Tips #6: Get Up and Get Dressed as a WAHM

One of the benefits of working from home is that you don’t have to rush to get out the door. You can ease into the day or stay in your pajamas. But after being home for years, I know I function best if I get up at a regular time and get dressed.

Create a work from home wardrobe that makes you feel dressed and put together, but still functions well for your life. In your new job, are you going to be on Zoom calls? Will you be making videos? Do you need to be dressed in more casual clothes to go check cows, like me? Tweak your wardrobe so that it flows with your life.

You can even make more dressed up days, for set days when you are going to be making videos or running errands.

Work from Home Tips #7: Find a Planning System That Works for You

Physical planners make me happy. I just love pen and paper and the feel of checking things off the list with one of my pretty pens. But that is what works for helping me plan out my day. If you are going to be working more hours at home, you will need a system to track not only household chores, your teen’s activities, but also your new business.

If you don’t already know what kind of planner you are, experiment with a couple systems. Try out an online platform or use a planner. Ask a couple friends what systems they use. And don’t think that just because one system doesn’t work for you that means you are not organized enough. It just means you have a unique way that your brain tackles tasks that you may not fully understand yet!

Work from Home Tips #8: Remain Creative About New Opportunities

Get started on whatever your first business idea is. It may be the small business idea that thrives and grows into something big. But also be flexible as new opportunities arise. Most people seem to develop a couple business ideas before one takes off. However, you are still learning and adding to your skills as you go!

In 2019, I created a Facebook page for my husband’s local freezer beef business he had started, since I knew way more about social media from blogging at The Reluctant Cowgirl since 2017. Five years later, I am still managing our Hickory Hollow Farm Facebook page…and Instagram, and the website! Due to all the time I put into learning the online world of blogging and content creating, I was able to use those skills to grow our cattle business to a thriving business that far exceeds my first business in sales.

Work from Home Tips #9: Leave the House

Working from home is so convenient. Your office is right there. But believe me when I say that you need to leave the house. Don’t let days go by and you haven’t left the house for something more than picking up and dropping off kids. My new thing is going to my local library one day a week for my work hours. It is so nice to get out of the house. The library is my happy place, so even though I am not sitting reading a book, I still get some of those wonderful feelings I get when browsing and picking out my next favorite book!

And though I spend time traveling to and from the library, I use that time to call my mom or a friend. And by the time I arrive at my library “office” I am ready to go. And I am able to really focus and get more work done than usual.

Work from Home Tips #10: Create a Playlist for Working at Home

Does your brain tend to bounce around with so many incoming thoughts? Do you pick up your phone, thinking you’ll just scroll for a minute and then realize you’ve been on your phone for 30 minutes? Then you’ll love this next tip!

Recently, I discovered a trick that was so helpful during my work hours. Focus music! Now you can google “focus music” to get an idea of the type of music that works for a lot of people. However, I discovered a certain genre of music that works for me. The music keeps reminding me that I am on “work hours” when my brain starts to wander. But I can listen to this type of music and still write.

Experiment to see what works for you. HINT: Your favorite 80’s and 90’s hits may not work as you will probably end up singing along and forget what you were supposed to be doing!

Work from Home Tips for the Empty Nester

Transitioning in life can be a bit bumpy at times. It is sad to see the end of a season. But I hope you find new opportunities and adventures as you step into the next season of your life.

Miranda Lamb headshot

Miranda Lamb

Miranda Lamb is the creator of The Reluctant Cowgirl. The Reluctant Cowgirl’s passion is to help moms, of tweens and teens, create an emotionally healthy home that is vibrant, full of respect, and laughter. Miranda Lamb is a city girl living on a 300 acre cattle farm with her cowboy. She is a wife, mom to a blended family, and content creator. Miranda is also the author of two books for parents of teen:  Responsible and Resilient Teens: 10 Secret Parenting Solutions That Work and When Teens Hate School: 10 Smart Strategies to Overcome School Refusal.

Still have a teen at home? Check out my super popular free printable Summer Contract for Teens here! Includes summer bucket list, summer goals, chores, and more!

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