{Handmade Husband >> Work From Home Survival Guide}

THE MOLD OF THE AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN BROKEN. Many SAHW’s {stay at home wives} I know have found their way into a business of one sort or another, or are running their household in new, more productive ways. I think to myself, people have not suddenly needed less sleep over the last 50 years, so how are people hammering through more and more all the time, especially when they still are relying solely on themselves for their motivation?

Now, I don’t personally work from home, but my wife and best friend does. And she texts me a lot. ;) I haven’t done extensive research, but I think the more regular needs that she comes across, and how we figure them out together, might be pretty common. Let me just list off a few of the things I text back to her that she tends to benefit from when the day is trying to get the best of her.



“Do your hair” — When you wake up, get totally ready to your expectations. Of course it’s your house, and you can do what you want, but often if you don’t feel pretty, you can easily feel sluggish and sleepy. I know that if you-know-who’s having a bad hair day, I say “get back in the shower and try again”. If she doesn’t feel like she’s looking her best, it’s on her mind all day. As cute as that is, this mind-occupant can actually hurt her efficiency and creativity.  

“Make a list.” — Are you overwhelmed with all the things you need to do? I tell Maggie all the time that those tasks take a lot less space on paper than they do in her head. And the same applies to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a memory champion… If you occupy all your brainpower trying to remember tasks, you never have your full thinking capacity at your disposal. Try this for four days, and try to tell me I’m not right :)

“A motivation snag! Run away!” — Certain things will take you by surprise. “Oh no, someone is copying my product or blog posts.” Send a quick cease and desist, realize how flattered you should be, and start the next item on your list. Yep, bad things happen. Those things, however, do ten times more damage to your business if your stress grinds your productivity to a halt.  

“Get out” — Get some fresh air, and do something for yourself. The whole world gets a lunch break; so do you. You don’t necessarily have to go buy an eight dollar mocha, but you do need to see people, and breathe outdoor air. This starves off depression, fuels inspiration, and gets your body feeling good. Maggie’s way to do this? Walk with Bauer to the corner store and buy a can of Coke. $1, fresh air, a satisfied (and less needy) pup, rejuvenated inspiration. But ZACK, you tell me, I have kids! Take them for a walk, too. They will get exercise, they will learn, they will get time to talk to mom, they will feel loved, and they will feel satisfied when you get home.

“Clock out” — The workday is long enough. When you have no time-card to stamp, it’s easy to find one more thing to accomplish before the day is done. Especially when you’re very passionate about your craft. While starting a business necessitates long hours, your family and your body need to recharge before diving in again. Maggie loves to sew, and loves to write, but if she writes too much today, her body will have a harder time writing tomorrow. Make sure to pick a time of day to call it quits, and stick to it. For Maggs, that means 6pm ~ once she starts dinner.


* * *

Do you use any of these strategies? I would love to hear your thoughts on these in the comments.

If you’d like this column to continue, please send me questions. Write me at zack@gussysews.com with “DEAR ZACK” in the subject, and your question could be featured, helping others.

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  1. 3

    Claire says

    Thank you for such an inspirational post. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and put off of home crafting business today, after seeing how cheaply a local (and very nice) department store was selling cushions and other things for. But you have totally cheered me up. Thank you!

  2. 5



    Thank you so very much for sharing this! At 47 I still struggle with this…. especially in the past few months! No, I don’t work from home full time (piece meal work) but we moved over 4000 miles into a much smaller home & it overwhelmed me. There was so much I wanted to do, so much work to fit our family comfortably into much smaller quarters, etc. You have made some of the same recommendations my husband makes…. and they do help immensely! Thank you for the reminder!!

    • 6


      Oh gosh, moving on top of everything. Keep it up.

      See? If *Zack* says the same thing your husband says, there *must* be some truth to it! ;)

      Thank you for commenting.

  3. 8


    Such great advice! I totally agree with all of this. Another thing that helps me to be productive working from home is to schedule in specific times for chores. It drives me crazy if I can’t get some of the housework done during the day while I’m here, but that can be a huge distraction from my other work. But if I start a load of laundry before my day begins and switch it to the dryer on my lunch break, I feel much better. Or I’ll plan to clean bathrooms while I’m making phone calls with my headset on- nothing makes me feel better and more productive than multi-tasking!

    • 9


      Good call. I’ll pass that one on to Maggie too. A hard part of having your own business is just “being the boss”. Maggie and I joke about this, but with no “supervision” during the day, it’s hard to give yourself boundaries and force yourself to stick to them.

      Practice makes perfect. Thank you for the comment.

  4. 10


    I don’t work at home {yet}, but I still regularly practice the “get out” suggestion. There is just something about fresh air and sunshine that clears my head and make me feel refreshed. Love seeing Zach’s perspective!

  5. 11


    Love this! You two are such a power couple and so sweet to each other. Zack I love how much you support Maggie in this journey. And I know she does in yours as well. It’s awesome to hear a guy’s perspective too!

  6. 13

    Chelsea says

    GREAT advice! I recently decided to start sitting outside with the pups for lunch instead of working through it and it definitely makes a HUGE difference. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you it’s ok to take a break. Thanks Zach!

  7. 14


    Great post zack!

    I have my hobby turn biz plus working at my kids schools and subbing so balancing is always a priority.

    I find that waking up at 6am on Saturdays and sewing for 4 hours I get a lot done before the family starts moving around. Then during the day I weave in what is planned such as sports games and chores sprinkled with some sewing.

    During the week I look at my work schedule and sub schedule and weave sewing orders into my time available.

    It all seems to work well.

  8. 17

    katie s says

    Love it! I don’t run a business from home, but these are great tips for me as a stay at home mom…I better go hit the shower and do my hair!! :)

  9. 18


    I’ve been bad about the last one…ending my day! Lately, when I noticed it’s 9:30 and I’m still working, my priorities shifted. My family needs me and the work will still be there tomorrow. Thanks for the much needed reminder :)

  10. 22


    Yay, Zack! That was super fun and helpful. I’m not a SAHW yet but am working on getting things going for when our first baby comes (in 3 months!). These tips will help me get started on the right track! I’d love for you to continue “Handmade Husband” and will come up with some fancy questions soon. Thanks again!

  11. 25


    I agree with the first commenter: it IS great to hear a husband’s perspective on his wife’s home business. And even though these things all seem like they’d be the obvious answer for our every day work-at-home dilemmas, it’s very nice to be reminded. It’s certainly helped me to refocus. Thanks for sharing, Zack!

  12. 26


    What a great, encouraging post by your husband!

    I may not have a business that I do at home, but I definitely think these things apply to being a stay-at-home mama too! So good!


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