When I quit my job to stay home with my oldest I still had to find a way to bring in some extra income. I started out as an in home child care provider, and now work as a freelancer. Working from home is a blessing, and something that most in the previous generations didn’t have the opportunity to do. However, it also brings with it challenges. When you work from home, you never leave your “work”. It is with you all the time. With today’s technology people can get a hold of you 24/7. This is a blessing and a curse….
Here are some tips for balancing working from home:
- Set limits: Don’t expect too much from yourself! When I ran an in home daycare there were days and weeks when I had kids in my home over 60 hours in a week. We never had a break! I didn’t know how to say “no” and set limits for my home, and my business. I felt myself falling in the same trap when I started freelancing. I ended up having to set a limit to the number of hours I work from home. Find a limit that works for you and set it!
- Have work “hours”: This is something I never did with my daycare, I tried, but again I had a problem saying “no” and I would end up with kids sleeping on my couch. This led to burn out, and I eventually just quit all together. Now that I am freelancing from home I have found it is a HUGE help to set hours when I “work”. My kids know these times, and give me space. Find a time that works best for you and write it down as your work hours.
- Have a set work space: Wouldn’t this be great if we all had the extra space! Personally, I don’t, but I do think it is important. Instead of having a room set up for my work, I have a small work cubby. This is where I put all my work related paperwork, my notebooks with my outlines, and writing plans, and anything else related to my job. Find a space or area that works for you and make it your own!
- Enlist help: An important thing to remember is that if you are working from home, you are working! This is hard, especially for moms of little ones. Don’t be afraid to enlist help when you need it! You can’t do everything yourself. This may be having a mother’s helper come in one day a week to help with the kids or housework while you work. It could be just asking your spouse for a little time in the evening when you have to meet a deadline, or asking your mother in-law to take the kids to the park so you can get caught up. Trying to do it all without help will lead to burn out very quickly, so go ahead and make plans to get help if you need it!
- Utilize technology: Again, technology is a blessing and a curse! When you have set those work hours in #2 remember to keep them! Don’t respond to emails, or answer calls when you are busy with your family. Work can wait! Set a timer on your computer or cell phone and when it goes off STOP! Turn your phone on silent, or set your email up to respond when you are “out of the office”. Utilize technology to fit your life and job.
Do you work from home? If so, what tips do you have for balancing working from home?
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