I’ve learned there’s working from home, and then there’s working from home with kids. I wasn’t yet a mom when I began working for myself. I had no distractions and no time restraints – not counting client deadlines, of course. Fast-forward five years and two kids later and my work-at-home life had to change. The big chunk of time I used to dedicate to my business had to be segmented to accommodate my new life – a life that doesn’t recognize what it means to work “9-5.”
We hear the word “juggle” a lot when it comes to work-life balance, but my years working from home with kids has made me realize that the word “balance” makes the most sense.
It’s not easy to focus on work and the kids simultaneously. You might be called to fix a broken toy when you’re on the phone with a client. Or you might feel guilty about being on your computer while your baby coos in her crib. If you’re not prepared, working at home with kids won’t feel like the lifestyle you dreamed about when you worked in an office. But if you acclimate your work to your home life, you will feel a lot more relaxed and a lot more ready to welcome success both professionally and personally.
So, how can you create a more balanced work-home life? I aptly named my daily routine the “slow and steady strategy” and I know it will make sense to you, too.
Keep these four different words in mind each and every day:
1. BATCHING your work together wherever and however you can makes your life a lot easier.
Divide your responsibilities into categories and then batch them if possible. Take social media, for example. If you have an Instagram account, a Facebook account, and a Twitter account, pick one day of the week to plan out your activity on each and then go one step further and schedule out some posts. Use a scheduling program like SocialBee to schedule Facebook and Twitter posts. You can also use Facebook’s scheduling tool. It’s very simple. If you’re looking for a great tool to schedule Instagram posts, try Tailwind.
2. When you have kids at home, BLENDING your work and home life makes sense.
Bring your kids into your workspace and allow them to “work like mommy”! Give them coloring books and crayons to work on their projects as you work on yours. Take lunch breaks together. Go out for lunch together! Make the kids feel included in your day rather than juggle each task separately. Doing this offers a great opportunity for you to bond while allowing you to grow your business.
3. Don’t be afraid to DELEGATE tasks because, the reality is, no one can physically or emotionally “do it all”.
It can be easy to feel pressure to clean the house, put away the dishes, and do laundry when you work from home. But these are tasks you wouldn’t be doing if you weren’t working from home. Consider hiring a housekeeper to lessen the burden of another task you feel you must do. If you’re having trouble balancing having your kids at home with you during work hours, consider hiring a nanny or looking into daycare.
Create a strategy around times of the day that you can focus on work.
4. These are the times to “POWER” through so you can enjoy quality, uninterrupted, time to yourself and with your family.
Use nap times, daycare time, nanny time, or grandparent time to get work done.
Working from home with kids doesn’t have to mean working less. Implementing a strategy that allows you to work smarter, not necessarily harder, will help you enjoy the work-at-home balance you always envisioned.
Caroline Pigott is an entrepreneur, work-from-home woman, and is the founder of Labour to Launch, a blog that helps entrepreneurs handle the mental roadblocks holding them back from success. A resident of Toronto, Ontario, Canada she holds a B.A. from the University of Waterloo and a postgraduate certificate in communications and public relations. She lives and works from home with her two boys, her husband, and a newly. For more information, visit her at Labour to Launch.