I have been working from home for nearly ten years now and I have been working from home along with kids nearly for the past three years.
Many have told me that it must be very easy for me to work along with kids as I don’t have to travel to and fro to office. Also I don’t have to follow a strict schedule like office going moms. Their opinion is that I don’t have to wake up early morning to cook or I don’t have to come home late evening to see a mess of home.
But, Working from Home along with Kids is easy?
Definitely, a big no!!!
Working with kids has its own sets of challenges. In fact, I have found this more difficult to handle compared to the times when I went to office leaving kids at home.
Working with kids is like sending an important client email with two kids literally choking your neck. It is very pressurizing and stressful. Unless, you have someone to help at home, it is very difficult to sustain. But there are few simple tricks you can follow to keep your sanity intact and be productive.
Working with kids means you will never get a distraction free time. You need to work in the middle of chaos. It is the first challenge that was very hard for me to overcome. So you need to know how to manage your time.
My first advice is to read few time management books and write down different methods that can work for you and save time.
Believe me, you are going to get only very few hours on a day with no disturbance. Early mornings and late nights when kids are asleep are the only hours you will get to work without any inconvenience. You need to know what to do on that time to make your day productive.
Many don’t believe on multitasking. Our mind can simply focus on only one thing at a time. However, for me, I could do certain tasks in parallel. That is the only way to handle everything at once.
When I travel, I try to catch up all my reading. It is impossible to read with my kids. When I exercise I simply plan my day. I will record in my mobile on what I am planning to do on that day. When I feed kids I try to catch up few TV shows.
Can you see my way of multitasking?
I club two tasks, where one doesn’t require any mind work, with other which needs the attention of mind.
Hence, multitasking is another skill that a working from home mom can find it beneficial.
Planning is very crucial if you want to meet deadlines while working in a chaotic ambience like home with kids. I have weekly plans, monthly plans ..etc to meet my goals and deadlines.
If I need to finish a work on a deadline, then I will make a plan like below.
- What is the work?
- How long is to going to take?
- Can I work on it with kids (means less focus and attention) or does it needs my complete attention (means I can work only when kids are put to sleep)
- Do I need help from others to finish it?
- Can I outsource the work to others?
Then I would allocate fixed amount of time each day to do the actual work. I will also include this task in daily to-do list to make sure I don’t forget it.
It is very easy for me to forget everything because of my demanding kids. So I always write down my plans on a notebook. This has helped me to reach most of my deadline on time.
With kids it is impossible to work without distractions. As I mentioned earlier I do many crucial work either at early mornings or late nights when my kids are in deep sleep. However, that doesn’t mean the work I do on daytime don’t need my focus and dedication.
During day time, to focus on important tasks, I use timers. I mean I work on short bursts of time with full focus, and then I relax to do other stuffs.
If I need to send an email, I will give something to my kids to occupy them for ten minutes. During that time I will write the draft of the email.
Based on the amount of time my kids can be engaged, I chose to work on the tasks. I complete all my short (5 to 15 minutes) tasks by this way.
Nevertheless, even on those short burst, my kids have the tendency to break my thoughts and make me to run behind them. But that’s the reality of working from home mom.
Initially, I struggled to work like that. And I often get headache. But years of experience has thought me to work on short burst and not get discouraged even if that doesn’t work out.
One universal fact that every working from home will agree is that, kids have a special talent to toss over all our plans.
No matter how wisely you plan everything, sometimes all will go in the drain. With kids, there is no scarcity for surprise.
Hence, as a working from home mom, you need to be flexible and adaptable to any situation.
You should not only plan, you should also have a backup plan for every day.
Someday I finish off my tasks with an ease, but most of the days I will have to face unplanned events. In those cases, I will cut down all nice-to-have tasks from my to-do list and concentrate only on the tasks that are essential for the survival of my business.
Learn to Say ‘No’
As a busy mom, you should know which task to accept and which work to avoid.
You should learn to say ‘No’ to the work that is not going to be beneficial for you. If you keep accepting work because you are afraid to say ‘No’, then it will be very difficult later.
Be wise. Learn to say ‘No’. Outsource work that you are not capable of handling. Don’t hesitate to seek help. All these will save you from pain and plenty of wasted hours which you can use for other work.
These are some of the tips which I follow while working from home. This is definitely not the complete list.
Working from home with kids is difficult. It is not an easier job as many think. Those who have an experience on it know the real pain a mother has to endure to live a lifestyle like that.
Of course, you get the pleasure to watch your kids growing up before your eyes. But the effort a mother has to take to work from home is huge. I really take this post to appreciate all mothers who work along with kids at home. Now please do share your secrets that have made you to be a successful working from home mom.