Working from Home with Kids | by: Rachel Morris
My blog focuses on how to build an online business from home, especially aimed at shift workers and mums (just like me).
I’m going to get started.
Working from Home with Kids
Being a ‘work from home mum’ sounds ideal. You can have the best of both worlds.
No daily commute and you can always be around for the kids.
Starting an Online Business has many advantages but balancing business demands and home life can be challenging.
We need to become more conscious when setting priorities each day when it comes to working from home.
We all talk about a lack of time. You haven’t got time for this or that. You haven’t got time to start your own business, work from home and spend time with your kids.
There are ways to get more time. Yes I know we all have 24 hours in a day, but it is definitely true that some get more out of their 24 hours than others.
One main way to have more productive time is to get your priorities straight and to have a minimum baseline. More about setting your Minimum Baseline.
We can all get in the habit of watching box set after boxset and then complain that we haven’t got time to earn any more money or start a business.
We all need to prioritise what we are doing each day.
What is a priority?
A priority is what you make number one in your life, the most important thing in your day, week, month or year.
Consider your life. What is the most important thing to you? What is your list of priorities in your life? Are you giving each of your priorities enough time?
What about balance?
If you try and balance everything in your life, where everything gets equal attention, then, yes everything may run smoothly but will any area of your life be AMAZING?
The great thing about prioritizing, is that you can choose to prioritize certain things over others at different times.
For example, when we were studying in school or college, that was our priority. We attended lectures, we put our effort into coursework, we make sure we studied and we wrote our assignments. If we had an exam scheduled on the same date as a party, it would have been an easy choice. It’s not as though the exam would have been even a fraction of the fun of a party but we knew what that exam would do for us long term.
My priority when my kids have grown up is to travel. I plan to go away for a few months at a time and enjoy different experiences. This is a priority for the future, so I’m not planning any itineraries, or applying for visas at the moment. It’s not a priority to me now.
Having certain priorities at certain times of your life is so much more effective than trying to balance absolutely everything at once.
It can become overwhelming when people decide they want to start their own business when they are balancing everything else in their life. In order for this priority to become a reality, you need to make it your number one priority for enough time as it’s going to take to get (and keep) the momentum going.
If you try and fit it in after everything else and it’s not a priority then you will not get the results you want. So make sure you tip the balance and focus on why you want this so much.
Do you want to be able to work from home?
Do you want Christmas and other important holidays off work?
Do you want to work from anywhere in the world?
Do you want to be able to treat those close to you without worrying about money?
Do you want to be able to do the school run every day?
For this to become something you will work towards, you need to get out of your life and focus on your main priority.
Don’t worry, I’m not saying let everything else in your life go to crap! You won’t stop looking after your kids and you won’t stop looking after your health.
But your main priority is making sure you focus on the area you want change and are committed to getting results.
Often, planning is the key to making sure you are making this new area a priority. If you know that the kids school holidays are coming up then prioritise them that week. Then the week after you really focus on moving your business forward.
Are you willing to move the priority of working from home to the top of your list to get your momentum going?
Pick a certain amount of time that you are willing to focus 100% in that area. Know that it’s OK to put other things on hold while you focus on that one area.
If your main priority for the time being is working from home, that may mean spending less time taking the children to extracurricular activities or spending less time taking the kids on day trips. You may want to do this for a period of time, for the greater goal. If you do make working from home your priority for a certain period of time, that could mean a thriving home business where you can be around for the kids long term, or taking them on a luxury holiday a bit further down the line.
Urgent or Important
Stephen Covey writes in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, about things being urgent and things being important.
Most people get confused. We tend to think that urgent things should be done before things that are important. However, in this day and age, it seems as though everything is urgent! A good example is when your phone rings. It’s requiring an urgent reaction but is it important?
You could be right in the middle of something important, building your website, completing admin for a client, even in the middle of a conversation, and yet we stop what we are doing to react to the phone. You may not answer it but it’s taken you away from what you were doing.
Social media and the use of mobile phones compound this. Your phone is at your fingertips and it’s tempting to see what someone has posted on Facebook, or what the latest Instagram story is or what that email is about. It feels urgent but it is not important.
It’s the same with your family life, with your career, everything.
Often, if you seem to have lots of urgent things in your life, it’s more of a planning issue. It often means you haven’t been giving the attention needed to what is important.
For example, you’re out of food to make a school packed lunch and you have to run to the shop or you have to rush back from somewhere because you haven’t got any childcare arranged.
When you plan, you focus on what is important and reduce the amount of things that are urgent.
I schedule a period of time in my day to respond to emails. I’m not constantly going back and to, responding as they come in and taking my time and attention away from something else.
Top 5 Priorities
Think about what you want most in life now. Think about your top 5 priorities.
For me, although having a home business is a priority, my number one priority is my physical and mental health. My rationale for this is that without my health, feeling good and having energy, earning money is not going to come easy.
So health is my number one priority, but I have some momentum on this so I can focus on another priority; my home business.
But I can’t let my home business become my number one though, because if that becomes more important than taking care of myself physically or mentally, I’m going to fail at everything.
So my number one is my health, my number two (at the moment) is building my home business. So if my number two is building my home business, for a certain period of time I may be willing to spend less time with my family, less time watching box sets, less time going out, so I can get the momentum going.
Then at other times I may switch those priorities. I may decide that my priority is to focus on spending time with my family and I will completely flip the balance.
You may feel that you want to balance everything, but you may find that by trying to keep everything balanced, you are never able to build any momentum, progress or results.
When you deliberately consider what is important to you, you make the shift to get results.
I want to live on purpose, I want to decide what I want and make it a priority.
What do you want?
Practical tips for making your business and family work together
Embrace a flexible schedule
One of the advantages of running a home-based business is that your schedule can be a lot more flexible. You can pick the kids up from school and do the laundry during a break in the day.
However, a flexible schedule can sometimes be your downfall.
The key is to plan distraction-free blocks of time. Schedule your most demanding tasks when the kids aren’t around and leave simple admin tasks for when the kids are at home.
Most home working mums prefer to work during the school day and then finish off their day after their kids have gone to bed.
A flexible schedule needs to be balanced between your family and business goals and your main priorities
2. Get out of bed early
Set your alarm a few hours before the kids are due up. Peak productivity is proven to be highest in the morning. You tend to be more clear thinking and productive early in the morning and you don’t have to deal with distractions or fatigue.
3. “Go to work”
Dress as you would for a day at the office and keep your workspace tidy and organised. Set rules for yourself and your family when you are ‘at work’ and make sure you are not disturbed during your work hours.
4. Delegate chores
Consider hiring someone to clean your house and do the mundane tasks so you can enjoy your family time.
Make sure you shop online, cook in bulk and plan meals ahead of time. Being organised saves you time in the long run.
Sometimes you may need to arrange childcare if you have an important deadline coming up or need to attend a meeting. That’s ok! It’s good for kids to spend time with others occasionally.
5. Get your kids involved
If your kids are old enough, get them to help you out with simple tasks, such as stuffing envelopes or sorting marketing materials.
Kids love to help out and it means you can sneak in a bit of extra time with them.
6. Take care of yourself
It is easy to get into the habit of working a lot more than you planned to when you work from home. Try and keep to your set hours and put restrictions in place so you’re not working all weekend as well as the time you have set yourself in the week. Looking after yourself and your family is crucial and can prevent burnout. Health should always be your number one priority.
7. Stay ahead of the game
Plan and make sure you are always ahead a few steps. Set out the school uniform for the morning, make sure the lunches are packed and you have a clear desk.
A few minutes spent organising and preparing will mean a less chaotic morning.
8. Don’t put pressure on yourself
Kids get sick sometimes and sometimes your routine gets messed up. Take the pressure off and try and priorities your child for that time. You could try and work more efficiently the next day or wait for nap time to catch up.
9. Stay focused
This is one of the hardest things for work from home mums. Is is so easy to get sidetracked by children, laundry, cleaning and preparing meals.
It’s a good idea to make a list each month of your tasks. Then break your tasks down week by week and day by day. Remember importance over urgency.
When you have a plan of what needs doing it is easier to see what you have left to do for that day. Do you need to knuckle down for a few hours or can you take some time out?
10. Effectively manage stress
Stress isn’t something you can eliminate but it can be managed. Take time out to manage it and recognize the signs of burnout.
Being a ‘work from home’ mum can be so rewarding when you get it right and these are just a few tips I implement.
When the kids are in school, I’m at work. As soon as they come home, I am mum, until bedtime….. Then I may finish off any outstanding tasks.
I have clear boundaries for each area which helps me stay on top of my work and be the best mum I can be.
A positive mindset is key when working from home.
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I hope some of these tips help if you’re trying to start your home business.