Working From Home and Managing the House and Kids is a Balancing Act
Do you work from home? Many moms do these days, because it makes things easier in terms of balancing childcare and household duties.
When you work from home, it is still easier having kids at school than at home. This way you get to get more work done without having constant interruptions. However, even when your kids are in school, there is a lot that goes into caring for them on a daily basis.
There are lunches to be made, the morning routine of getting ready, and taking the kids to school. This can be further complicated if you have kids at different schools and you need to take them all over the place.
This may mean that, for the 8 hours the kids are in school, you get 6 hours of work done. Or, if your child is in school only part time, it may be even less. So, you are forced to do a full day's work in less than a full day.
There are also household chores that need to be done like laundry, cleaning and shopping. Sometimes it is easier to do these during the day while the kids are away, so you lose out on work time there as well.
These are all things to consider if you decide to work from home. Because, you may feel like since you are at home you are obligated to take care of the kids and the house during your work time. It may not feel like you have a 'real' job.
If you are self-employed it is easier, because you don't have the demands of a supervisor or set deadlines to worry about, however, you still do have internal demands of running a business.
This week my daughter is out sick from her Kindergarten, so I am balancing having a child at home, a partner at work, and my own work schedule. It can be challenging at times to find the time and energy to sit down and write.
Some of the things that I do to try to make things easier for myself are:
Leaving housework until the kids are home
Relying on my partner for help
Getting up before my child to work
Taking advantage of her solo play time
Doing easier tasks while my daughter is with me
It is easier to reply to emails or to do easier tasks vs. deep work when your children are active and interrupting you constantly. So, this is when I do things like managing my social media accounts, instead of trying to write.
Depending on the nature of your job, you may also want to schedule meetings, calls or appointments when your partner is available to take the kids. This can allow you to focus completely on your clients, without having to worry about the kids.
Maximizing what you get out of your work time is also important. Make sure to limit distractions when you are trying to do deep work, turn off your phone, work in a dedicated space, and don't stare at that pile of dishes that needs to get done.
This way, you can get into what is called a flow state, and you can get your work done more easily and quickly.
According to Headspace,
You may have experienced a flow state at some point — that sense of fluidity between your body and mind, where you are totally absorbed by and deeply focused on something, beyond the point of distraction. Time feels like it has slowed down. Your senses are heightened. You are at one with the task at hand, as action and awareness sync to create an effortless momentum. Some people describe this feeling as being “in the zone.” This is the flow state and it’s accessible to everyone, whether you’re engaged in a physical activity, a creative pursuit, or even a simple day-to-day task.
When you are working in flow, you can complete tasks more easily and quickly that require a lot of concentration. This way, you are able to focus and get your work done more efficiently. Doing several hours of work in flow will allow you to get your work done more easily than if you are constantly distracted.
Another way to get more done is to reply to emails all at once, instead of right when they come in, as this can be a major distraction. When you are trying to focus, turn email notifications off. Then, when you finish a task reply to all your emails at once.
This also allows you to focus better. Notifications on your email and phone can be very distracting, so turning these off allows you to be able to get more done more easily and efficiently. Every time you have a distraction, it takes a while to put your full attention back to your work, this can be up to 20 minutes in some cases. So, the fewer distractions you have, the better.
Having a dedicated workspace can help too. It is a signal to your mind that now it is time to focus on work. It allows you to separate work time from 'home time' so that you aren't worrying about household tasks while you are doing your work.
It is OK to do some housework during the day and take a break. But you want to allow yourself enough time to work in between, so that you can focus. You probably don't want to try too hard to multi-task.
For example, you may not want to be washing the dishes or doing the laundry while you are on a conference call, as you may miss something important on the call by dividing up your focus.
When you work from home as a mom, there are always a host of challenges, but you can still be successful!
For more tips, check out,
How Do You Successfully Balance Career and Family as a Working Mom?
How to set up a comfortable home office as a working mom
6 Tips for working from home while caring for kids