Are you an entrepreneur working from home? Do you feel like you should join the circus because all you do is juggle?
Welcome to the world of work-at-home-humans who are trying to raise a family and make a living. The good news is, your work is now in your home. The bad news is, your work is now in your home… and so it begins.
Whether you are work at home because you now telecommute or you work at home because you have started your own business, the situation is the same. You have to get stuff done while your kids happily get their stuff done by interrupting you and getting you involved with their activities. In truth, you should be involved in their activities and having fun with the kids, but there is a time and place for it all, so that everyone completes their day in a successful way.
Here are some tips to make life a bit easier as you become a world class juggler of work, kids and play.
It could be a separate area of a room or an entirely separate room, if you’re able.
Details of your office:
Your area… desk, computer, phone, printer, files and whatever else you need readily available to you.
Your child’s area… depending on the age of your child, set up the appropriate size desk or table, complete with crayons, pens, pencils, markers, paper, glue, etc.
Door: TRAFFIC LIGHT
RED: Stop, do not enter. Mom/Dad may be on an important call or cannot be disturbed for whatever reason.
YELLOW: Knock first, before coming in.
GREEN: Door can be open as well and kids are free to enter and leave as needed.
(Always teach your children respect for whatever you are in the middle of, even if Green is displayed on the door). Manners are always encouraged.
Play a game together, color, read books, help them with their homework, etc.
Work when they sleep, in the evening after kids are in bed and at naptimes.
Kindy respond with… “I look forward to listening to what you have to tell me, just as soon as I am off the phone or finished this paper.”
Then when you are finished, give your child, your complete undivided attention and do not interrupt with phone calls or other distractions.
Schedule your time to respond to emails and phone calls. Emails and phone calls are the leading cause of daily operation, regardless of where you work. Do not allow the world to take over your day and your time. Inform your clients that you will be responding to emails and calls at a certain time that you choose, so that they know when to expect to hear from you.
Schedule your complete day. It will make life easier for all of you.
Include everything in your schedule: Work time, Email time, Phone call time, Meals, Kid time, Afterschool programs or events, Shopping when needed, Church, Bath and hygiene time, bedtimes, etc. Whatever it is that you do, it should be included in your daily schedules.
Multi-tasking is not all it’s cracked up to be. Home office life can get very hectic, with a lot of interruptions if you allow it. Train yourself to stay focused and get the job at hand, finished. You will save yourself the feeling of, “I work all the time and get nothing done.”
Be sure to always give plenty of attention to your children, during your day. They need you too. As they become more independent and self-sufficient, they still need their parents unconditional love and attention. If enough good, positive attention is not awarded them, you will spend a lot of your time trying to control out-of-control situations, due to them trying to get your attention at any time they want it.
Your meals have been scheduled into your day, but are you prepared to whip them up?
Get the family involved in the planning of the meals, so it all does not weigh on your shoulders:
Have everyone choose their favorite dinner, so that you pre-plan for each day of the week.
Create your shopping list based on these choices, so you do not over buy.
Take the kids with you when you shop so that they can learn about good food and healthy eating. Play the color game and have your kids pick out one new fruit or vegetable based on your “color of the week”.
Have your kids help cook. Kids love to be appreciated and helpful and this will add more positive attention for your kids into your day. Bonus: kids are more likely to eat what they create.
Crock Pots are a great way to prepare a healthy, quick meal that can cook all day while you work and enjoy your time with the kids.
Register you and your child for a Parent/Child Exercise or Art class that you can both benefit from and be rewarded through bonding and relaxation.
Communication is key in families and eating meals together allows for everyone to share in their experiences of the day.
Early enough so that you have time to get ready and you have time to get your kids ready,
Allow your kids to be creative, avoid constantly using electronics and TV to “babysit” them. Make sure their ‘work’ area is full of games, paint, crayons, markers, stamps, stickers, books, paper, kitchen utensils, maybe a tent area to hide and play in and all kinds of fun things that uses their imagination, creativity and stimulates their mind.
Do not feel guilty about showing your kids that work and play is part of everyone’s day and balance is the key to life. You are teaching life lessons that they will be using forever and becoming a great role model!
There you go, you are all set to make life work while you work. It can be done, and everyone can love it in the process.
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