For many new moms, working from home offers the ideal balance between their family and their career. Running back to work a few weeks after having a baby isn’t ideal, so setting up office at home can seem like the perfect solution to your career woes. However, working from home comes with its own set of challenges and difficulties. Getting the balance right takes preparation and plenty of practice.
Create A Defined Work Space
It’s difficult to focus when you’re working from home, so creating an area of your house that is just for your work can help you to focus and get in the working mindset. If you have a spare room, turn it into your very own office space, complete with a desk and comfortable chair. Try to keep the space clean and organized so that it feels like you’re truly at work, rather than sitting in your own living room resisting the TV.
If you don’t have a spare room or much space to spare, corner off an area of your living room for your laptop and work files. It doesn’t have to be a big area- just enough to let you know that you’re officially in work mode. Having a defined workspace can also make it easier to switch off at the end of the day, rather than leaving you feeling like you’re constantly at work.
Make A Schedule
When you’re working at home without a boss watching your every move, it’s easy to slip into procrastination and succumb to distractions. Build yourself a clear timetable with a designated time for everything you need to get done. Schedule in coffee breaks and playtime with the kids if they’re going to be at home with you- breaks are important and can help you stay focused, but limit the amount of time you spend surfing social networks or flicking between TV channels. Stick to your schedule as best you can to keep yourself productive.
Knuckle Down In Naptime
It can be really tough to get much done if you’re chasing after a toddler while trying to complete a project on your laptop, so take advantage of naptime when it comes around. Although it may be tempting to crash out on the couch or fall asleep next to your child instead, seize the moment and get as much done as you possibly can during the hour or two of quiet.
Set Up Boundaries
If your kids are old enough to understand, make sure that they’re aware that you can’t be disturbed during work time. Develop a signal that you can show them when you’re focusing on something and can’t be interrupted, or tie a certain color ribbon to your office door so that they know you’re busy working. Let them know that you should only be disturbed in an emergency, otherwise they need to wait a few minutes until they have your undivided attention.
Call In Reinforcements
Working at home when you have small children can be extremely difficult. If you have a baby or young toddler, you’ll probably find it near impossible to get much done during the day. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra help if you really need to work but can’t find the time.
Most childcare providers can be flexible around your budget and schedule- look into half day daycares or a sitter that will come in for a few hours on a few days each week. A flexible childcare arrangement can help you ease into the working/parenting balance, while giving your child the chance to adjust to a new face.