I have a couple of friends who work from home either freelancing and selling products online. Before they became parents, working from home meant they could sleep in, have long lunches with friends as they pleased, and work at their own pace.
As a parent, any mom or parent reading this will know that none of the above is possible when children are part of the equation. I know a lot of SaleHoo readers are parents so using some advice offered by friends, and my own research, I’ve put together a quick list of tips to help you get through your day working at home and attempting to run a business!
1. Have a separate work space.
This will be a no brainer to WAHPs (work at home parents). If you are going to get some work done, you will need a space outside of the area where children play. It also gives you the head space you need to feel as though you are at work, rather than at home.
2. Once you have your office setup, child proof it.
If you plan on having your child in your home office, make sure your child proof it so that you are not constantly checking on them. You should also setup a space for them to play or do an activity while you work. If you are short on ideas, this website might help.
3. Don’t treat your home office like it’s a home office.
When you work at home, you need to get used to walking past the dirty dishes, the laundry and the other households chores that can potentially distract you. Just like your significant other can leave the house, go to work and not think about those things, so can you! When you are ‘at work’ at home, you’re not responsible for those things: You’re responsible for getting work done on your business. (Keep reading for more tips on balancing household chores with running a business).
4. Work when your child or children are sleeping.
While your children re-charge, take the opportunity to get stuck into some serious work. If you have more than one child, you will benefit by synchronising their nap times so that you can get full use out of the time when they are asleep. A friend of mine offers the advice of putting your newborn into a front pack or sling while you work away at your computer.
5. Get help with household chores.
If you are anything like me, you will find it hard to sit down and focus on some work if there is laundry that needs doing, or clutter that needs seeing to. However, sometimes cleanliness standards can just be counter-productive for your business! In some cases, it can work out cost-effective to pay a cleaner to come in for even just 2 hours a week and deal with the cleaning of the bathroom and the vacuuming which will free up at least 2 hours of your time to get some solid work done. Whether or not this is going to benefit your business depends on how much money your business is making.
For me personally, 2 hours of my productivity equals more than what I need to pay a cleaner and therefore, it’s worth getting some help. If you’re not making a lot of money yet, talk with your spouse about helping out more. Failing that, sometimes you just have to let the mess get messier, and get some work done! Ask yourself what is more important: Growing a business or having a less-than spick and span house?
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WAHPs, how do you balance working from home and looking after your children? Share any tips you have below with other SaleHoo readers.