Working from home when you have kids can present a whole host of challenges like endless interruptions and distractions but it certainly can be done.
In this article, I’ll run over a few of the best ways of getting your work done when you have children (and your wife/husband is not there to help of course).
Gain Two Extra Hours a Day
My most productive time is early in the morning. Getting up at least a couple of hours before everyone else gives me a great head start to the day. Having a plan for these couple of hours is essential so make that list the day before.
I design and sell wall art so If I get some orders late in the day then these will be the first thing I’ll be doing in the morning. If not then it could be working on a blog post or a new product but having the plan certainly helps.
This could work the other way also. If you’re a night owl you may need to use a couple of hours at night when everyone is gone to bed. If this is the case I would recommend using the night light on your computer as staring at bright screens a couple of hours before bed will make it extremely difficult to get to sleep.
To turn on the night light settings on a windows computer simply type settings in the little magnifying glass search bar which is located on the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop. Go to display and you’ll find the night light there.
I’m not sure what it is for Mac users but feel free to comment below if any of you guys know.
If your computer doesn’t have a night light you could purchase a pair of night light glasses to keep out the blue screen light.
Set up your Work Space
Having your own workspace where you can be at ease really helps. This could be a spare room in the house or even a desk in the bedroom but essentially somewhere that you can close the door when needed to create a boundary between your work and your home. This will make it easier to take client calls and when needed keep the door open so you can listen out for the children.
If it is a spare room I’d invite you to paint it some nice bright colours, add some inspirational or motivational pictures to the wall, and don’t skimp on the chair and desk.
Also if working from home full time it would be useful to purchase a laptop. Be fit to go mobile with your work when needed will help you accomplish a lot more tasks. This way you can work while being in the same room as your children.
Use Naps to your Advantage
My youngest daughter Emily is only two and still takes her little naps at around 11 am. These would last anywhere from one or two hours which is another perfect opportunity to get some work done. If your child is still taking morning or midday naps then use the time to your advantage by getting your most important jobs done.
Some parents will say that this is taking the lazy way out, let them watch television or play a computer game and they'll be quiet! But didn’t you watch television when you were younger?
When I was my child I was watching He-man, Transformers, The Looney Tunes, and Land of the Giants to name a few. When I was a little older I’d love coming home from school and watching Game master, Batman the Animated Series, Fun House, and Knightmare
At the weekends it was the Tasmanian Devil, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the weekend game shows like Strike It Lucky, Bullseye, Family Fortunes plus the weekend movie or videocassette (don’t you miss them video stores like Xtra-Vision and Blockbuster).
Now I’m sure if you think back you can remember quite a few television shows you loved yourself, take a moment to do so. Now you'll agree with me that it was a lot of television!
These days people are losing their minds if the kids watch television for an hour a day!
Anyway sorry I'm rambling on a bit now (plus also feeling a little nostalgic) but I know if I put Peppa Pig on my little daughter will sit quietly and watch it. I'd make sure my older son or daughter was with her of course but I know she won’t move. The good thing is my son will sit and watch it with her.
One thing I love to see my children doing is drawing. Few activities come as naturally to young children as drawing and creating art. Seen the proud heads on them when they are showing and explaining their masterpieces to you is priceless. Get them a sketch pad and some crayons and schedule a 30 minute art time for when you need to get some important tasks done. This way there improving the drawing skills and you’re getting some work done.
When you become a parent your risk assessment skills go way up and each time you add another child they become even greater from all the lessons learned with each previous child.
Working from home when you have children can be done but their safety has to come first.
If your minding them while doing work make sure to check them regularly and make sure you can hear them at all times. Use your risk assessment skills to make sure there is no imminent danger for them like an open fireplace, hot kettles within reaching distance, etc.
My office is upstairs beside my son’s bedroom so I always make sure my youngest is in that room playing with one of my other children. That gives me peace of mind but you just always have to be vigilant. If your partner is away make sure to do regular checks and make sure you can hear them playing close by at all times.
If your child is really young then you will have to keep them in the same room as young babies have a tendency to put things into their mouths. Have them in your sights and have plenty of soft toys around to keep them busy.
Let me finish this off by saying I’m a lucky guy in that I have a wonderful wife who makes things so much easier for me by letting me get stuck into my work while doing an awesome job looking after our kids. Anyone with four children will tell you it can be a handful and without her things would be so much more difficult.
But following the steps above should gain you some valuable time to get some work done. Just remember that you’re kids need some you time as well pick a time to switch off the computer and go have some fun with them.