Raising the children and doing the office grind can be a punishing task, one that challenges every ounce of ingenuity, and the task is in no way lightened if you happen to be working from home. Yes, even while you enjoy maximum “freedom”, working from home poses its own peculiar challenges. But if you put your head down and focus on the issues, there are ways and means to perfect the home – office regimen.
Make every break from work the family moment of the day
Experts, those that have been there and done it all, opine that the transition from working nine to five in an office atmosphere to the deadening quiet of the home can compel you to become self-sufficient, quietly efficient and more responsive to the challenges that work and clients pose, without compromising your personal life and family responsibilities.
It gives you the opportunity to junk fast food and the horrendous “munch while you think or work,” routine and replace it with a more filling and nutritiously real lunch. It generates the opportunity to spend quality time with the family gathered around the dinner table as you effectively step away from the virtual world into your real world, fulfilling your core responsibilities in the process. The immediate benefit of this epoch making transformation is that you become more efficient, and you will be wasting less time on those run a minute, rest a minute breaks that spoil the work tempo. Once you have an established routine, there is no guilt because you are devoting quality time to the family, caring for their needs, while you leisurely charge your mental and spiritual batteries for the challenges that lie ahead.
Prioritize goals in work and life segments so you avoid mutual conflict
People do fret a great deal about what constitutes the ideal work and office balance that makes way for you to enjoy the best of both worlds without compromising one for the other. Definitely, working from home gives you awesome flexibility, but you should also resist the temptation of doing too many things together at the same time. It is vitally important to plan things according to a fixed and hopefully unchanging schedule for the sake of adhering to the client work protocol. In other words, it is for you to prioritize your key responsibility areas and achieve a clear cut work life balance, and then ensure that you stick to the schedule week after week. Essentially, it ought to be a life where you devote time exclusively for one segment without feeling guilty that you are compromising the other.
Regardless of distractions, follow an established routine, and make others respect that routine
The working individual’s responsibilities and parental roles will present a mixed bag of surprises and demands, and you may realize sooner than later that 24 hours falls far short of expectations when it comes to fulfilling every demand. The best way to combat demands is to create a work schedule shaping each day of your life, and to adhere to that schedule come what may.
This is not to state that emergencies should be ignored, not at all, and the odd situation has to be handled appropriately. What we need to fear are time wasting incidents that pepper our life, like an obsession with social media or online purchasing or excessive talking that consumes our spare moments. The problem with such pastimes is that they tend to cut into quality work time, reducing our output and efficiency. Just repeat to yourself that in the period allocated for work, you are not permitting yourself to entertain any thought process or habit which militates against the work schedule.
One of the biggest mistakes work at home parents tend to make is to molly coddle their children into doing whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do, in the name of creative freedom, but this creates more problems and hits work time efficiency in a more insidious way than they think. The best solution is to fix a time and an occasion for everything so that children get their biological clocks adjusted to waking, eating, playing, learning, family moments and sleeping time. When children are older they must be sensitized to the urgency of not disturbing parents when they are in work mode, as otherwise there will be a tendency to take the parent for granted and as being available 24/7 to interact with as they please. Make them understand that there will be earmarked hours that will qualify as family togetherness moments when they can bond and make things happen.
Work or home affairs, adopt streamlined procedures to make things easier
If it is official work it might help matters to have a virtual assistant prioritizing your goals, meetings, client sessions and daily or hourly work output. This instantly frees you up and helps you qualitatively improve your core work area. Similarly, when handling home affairs it can be a great relief if you can adopt an established meal plan along with timely grocery purchases for the entire week in advance. That way, you get to coordinate single point purchasing, reducing the need for frequent outings, you cook at allotted times sticking to the schedule, and you can have the maid or local help pitching in with cleaning duties on say alternative days or weekends as convenient.
The need of the hour is to work smartly rather than to slog harder
It is an established fact that a freelancer working independently from home would not be expected to, and may not be successful in micromanaging every detail of work or home responsibilities. A time will come when the work load increases to the point it cannot be handled by the worker in isolation. The best solution is to assess what can be outsourced, and delegate responsibilities to a deputy or trained assistant.
Working from home gives you enormous flexibility that you can exploit to your advantage. For example, you can do the treadmill in gym clothes while you make calls to clients or respond to queries. The laptop can be utilized anywhere, even out in the garden, and you can use a Dictaphone to outline email responses, create blog content, while automated software handles the social media, schedules work appointments, follows deadlines and sets up reminders. Some people deliberately prefer to dress formally so as to create the office effect and prevent themselves being sucked into the never ending home routine.
The Bottom Line
It has never been the case that balancing working life and home life and parental duties is an easy task for the work at home parent, but if you spare a moment to plan and organize your commitments and responsibilities, a path emerges when you find yourself on the highway truly enjoying the best that both the worlds bestow.