Working from home can seem like the perfect solution to you, if you’re a parent. You get to spend more time with the kids and you don’t have to worry about the daily commute to an office etc.
But then reality kicks in – and juggling being a parent and working from home can be stressful and hard! You can find yourself getting constantly interrupted, your working hours reducing or increasing and it can all leave you feeling frazzled, guilty, frustrated and crying in a heap on the floor.
So how can you effectively juggle being a parent and working from home?
#1: Set clear boundaries
Decide how many hours and days you’ll be dedicating to work and family – and stick to it. This can mean changing your work time to later or earlier in the day, so it doesn’t impact at all on your family, but let everyone know your routine and explain what it means for them and you, as well as the importance of everyone adhering to it.
#2: Be organised
Working from home can mean you inadvertently relax your standards – especially when it comes to organisation! Keep a diary and religiously use it, in order to organise yourself and, when it comes to paperwork, folders etc., have a dedicated place for EVERYTHING – and dedicated stationery etc. for work. Organise family time in advance too, as this will help encourage family members to stick to your boundaries – especially as they know what they’ve got to look forward to.
Use your diary to prioritise your workload. Spend 5-10 minutes each morning, planning your day and organising the tasks you need to complete. Include both work and family commitments, so you get a clear picture of your day. If it helps, prioritise your to-do list, so you can ensure you’re starting the most important tasks first.
#4: Learn to delegate
Drop the Superwoman act and learn to delegate. Whether you need to delegate out work tasks, such as social media, blog writing or graphic design, or family-related tasks, such as cleaning, cooking and school runs, learn to ask for help and delegate out.
#5: Keep your focus
When you’re with the family or in work mode, be totally there. Give that area of your life 100% of your focus and attention, enabling you to do the best job you can – whether it’s being a parent or an entrepreneur.
#6: Stop looking for perfect
When it comes to juggling working from home and parenting, there’s no such thing as perfect balance. You WILL feel like you’re letting something slide and you’ll always need to sacrifice something – the secret is to make the decision as to what that those things will be for yourself. It could be letting go of the idea of a perfectly clean and tidy home, it could be how often you go out with the family and it could be cooking fresh from scratch on a daily basis. Make the decision and let that thing go.
#7: Give yourself a break!
Finally, learn to stop being so hard on yourself. There will be days where deadlines are just too short or your kids are home with a sickness bug and wanting your attention 24/7, meaning your best-laid plans are in ruins. Things will get easier, as you get into a routine and as the children are older but in the meantime, just give yourself a break, take a breath and remind yourself there’s always tomorrow.
Do you have any tips on how to juggle being a parent and working from home? Have you got an effective strategy in place and what works best for you? Why not share your comments and advice in the comments box below?
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