Working at home can be hard work. The realities of what many think is the dream existence are challenging…
Maintaining the discipline to meet deadlines, time management, keeping the work/life balance at equilibrium and so on. As a work-at-home Mom, those challenges can be multiplied by every child you have!
Children are more demanding than any employer – but by setting some ground rules and keeping everyone in the picture, you can keep both your boss and your family happy.
Here’s how…Essential Tips for Being a Productive Work-At-Home Mom:
1) Have a set routine
The first step to keeping everyone happy is to establish a daily routine. With a framework in place, you can allocate enough time to complete your tasks within deadline. Once you have a daily routine, tell your kids about it and keep reminding them until they understand your routine as well as you do.
Plan around deadlines and if necessary, organise play dates, day care or granny visits so that neither your work nor your children suffer.
2) Plan your workload around the kids
To help you establish your routine, plan your day around your kids. You may choose to spend their wake time with them, and then work in the evenings, during nap time, day care time or when others can take care of them.
You’ll obviously be more productive when you devote more energy to your work, so ensure your professional schedule and your childcare responsibilities intersect as little as possible.
3) Get the most out of both periods
When it’s time to work, work! By clearing your in-tray promptly and meeting your deadlines, you won’t cut into quality family time later in the day. Don’t turn on the TV or continually update your Facebook status…
‘Jane should be working’…’Jane must get off Facebook’… ‘Jane just missed a deadline’.
Similarly, when it’s ‘kid time’, give them your undivided attention and keep them occupied with lots of activities. By stimulating their young minds, you’ll save yourself all those ‘I’m bored’ complaints.
That brilliant routine you planned as your very first step will help you draw very clear boundaries between your work obligations and your motherly duties.
4) Know your place
For optimum productivity and peace, make your office a 100% child-free zone. Not even the tidiest, best organised office is immune to a kiddy tempest!
5) Keep your kids in the loop
The more your children know about your work, the more they’ll understand your need to stick to a work routine. Show them what you do, and explain to them that your work brings in money for the whole family.
Make your children feel important by bringing them into the loop, so they can play their part in helping you meet deadlines.
6) When TV is your friend
Even the best routine can be thrown into disarray when a last minute job comes up. When this happens, treat the kids to a special TV session or a DVD movie. While they’re watching, you can meet that unexpected deadline.
As long as these TV and DVD sessions remain a rare treat, and don’t become regular babysitters, everyone will win.
7) No kids, no work, just you
One last piece of advice. Plan kid-free and work-free time. Being a work-at-home Mom can be a trap where you never get any time at all to yourself. For the sake of everyone’s sanity, it is essential you make time for yourself.
(Last Updated: April 22nd, 2017)