I’ve been a work from home mom for 14 years and the most important thing I have learned is that working from home is not easy as people think. When I meet someone and I tell them that I run my business from home, most of them suggest that suggest that working from home must make life as a parent so much easier. That’s not always the case; it certainly hasn’t been for me. I feel very lucky that I have been able to run my business from home but it takes a lot of discipline, consistency and structure.
While working from home makes it easier for me to be available for my kids and I don’t have to spend money on gas, work clothes or child care, I have also learned that it’s easy to be sidetracked by the needs and wants of my kids as well as dishes piling up in the sink, laundry that needs to be done, and the dog needing to go out.
In the beginning when I first started working from home 14 years ago, I worked at the kitchen table and I allowed myself to be interrupted during work hours, and got easily distracted. I didn’t set ground rules for my husband or son but over time I figured out some things to do that made working from home much easier.
Here are 4 tips that have helped me stay sane while working from home
1. Choose & De-clutter Your Home Office Space
It’s important you have a designated area to call your home office. Choose a room or area in your home where you can be free of distractions. Make sure the room you pick has a door you can shut and isn’t near where the television may be set at top volume in the next room. Clean your chosen room until it is spotless and clutter free. You don’t want to look around your office and see laundry that needs folding or toys that your kids should have put away.
2. Personalize Your Home Office
When you choose to work from home, it’s important that you feel you are actually going to work when you step into your home office. If you don’t provide yourself with a relaxing atmosphere that is conducive to your work, then you may find yourself constantly finding reasons to leave your office instead of getting your work done. Consider giving the room a nice new paint job, adding nice pictures to the wall and finding something that will encourage you to work while masking any noise your family may be making in other areas of the home. If you enjoy music, consider listening to Internet music such as Pandora’s Spa station on channel 77. You might also enjoy one of those little waterfall machines for some soothing background sounds. I have a tiny waterfall in my office and love it!
3. Keep Regular Work Hours
You are much more likely to have a successful work day if you keep to a regular schedule. If possible, you should do your work when your children are away at school. Even when your children are home, you shouldn’t feel bad about posting your work hours on your closed door and explaining to your children you are not to be bothered during those hours unless there is an emergency. You can make it easier on them by doing something special for them on occasion. Consider adding a bistro table with chairs near the window in your home office and invite the family in to have lunch with you once a week. Stick to that once a week schedule though and don’t let the kids color or play games on the table… or you’ll have them knocking on your office door with a cup of tea every chance they get. Speaking from experience. 🙂
4. Take Scheduled Breaks
Remember, part of the reason you have decided to work from home is to spend more time with your children. Be sure to take normal breaks during your work day when you can visit with your children. Make breakfast with them before your work day begins, and try to do special outings once a week such as a picnic at the park or roller skating. Enjoy your children as much as you can because they grow up fast. If your kids are in school, considering scheduling a visit to your child’s lunch one day a week. That always makes my daughter’s day!
You never know, maybe you’ll be surprised by what your child does for you while you ‘re taking a break such as showing off how her brother taught her to ride a longboard (middle photo)!
These are just a few ways you can thrive as a work from home parent.
Everyone is dealing with a different situation, and you will have to work with a little trial and error until you find exactly what works best for you and your family. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work out well at first. Just try to remember that eventually everything will click into a new routine that works out great for everyone.
Do you have a work from home tip? Please share it below!