Ryan Howard runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.
Working from home can be a dream come true. Say goodbye to commuting, traffic and rigid schedules. Say hello to flexibility and freedom. I’ve been working from home for a few years, and it really is a wonderful thing.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t have any drawbacks though. Like just about anything in life, there are pluses and minuses. For example, working from home actually requires quite a bit of discipline since there are distractions lurking around every corner.
If you have kids, things can be even more challenging. Still though, in my opinion, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. In this article, I’m offering up a few tips on working from home when you’ve got kids.
It’s always a good idea to plan ahead. But, when kids are in the picture, it’s even more important. If there are times when they are going to be at school, daycare, napping, or out of the house, these are prime working hours.
Make sure to plan on tackling large jobs that require concentration when you have blocks of time. Other smaller tasks can be squeezed in throughout the day. In my work, I do a fair amount of writing, and to do this well, I need large blocks of time to concentrate. So, I tend to write when the kids are sleeping or out of the house. Other tasks, like email correspondence, for example, require much less concentration and can be done even when the kids are running around and playing.
Sometimes, you might need to concentrate on some work while your kids are home. If this is the case, try and make sure they’re occupied.
Maybe your spouse can take the kids outside to run around or push them on the swings so you can have some quiet time. If you’re home alone, you might set your little ones up with some crayons and a coloring book, a puzzle or some other project that will keep them entertained for a little while.
If you like to work in the morning, wake up early, put on some coffee and get a few things done before anyone wakes up. This has been my modus operandi for the past few years, because I tend to be most productive in the morning. This may or may not be directly related to the amount of coffee I drink immediately after waking up.
If you’re more of a night owl, get to work after the kids hit the sack. One advantage of doing this is that you can stay up as late as you need to when you’re on a roll and being productive.
If you’re home allows for it, set up a work area. Then, let your kids know that when you’re in your work area, you prefer not to be interrupted.
It’s much easier for kids to understand that you’re working if you physically go to the same place whenever you want to work. In contrast, if you’re sitting around working in the living room or the kitchen, you might find that they come and distract you a little more often.
I hope that these tips help you to be a little more productive working from home. For me, these have made a big difference, and allowed me to live the dream!
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