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Commuting to and from the office, spending money on work clothes and train tickets or parking, getting frazzled and frustrated, and hardly seeing your kids all week, there are many reasons to work from home. But when you do make the switch it seems the hours go up, not down.
Just how can you work from home and still be there for your kids?
You save money on parking and gas, or train costs, you don’t need to spend a fortune on dress clothes and makeup, and you can rustle up your own food instead of buying tasteless sandwiches or enduring lunchtime meetings.
But what about time?
By missing the traffic jams first thing in the morning and last thing at night you planned to spend a lot more time with your children when it really matters. Not to be that mom who dashes out the door first thing in the morning. Yet here you are fielding phone calls and working every hour of the day.
First, you need to remember why you made this choice. To be successful when you work at home you must set limits, and stick to them. Take a blank weekly plan and mark out every non-negotiable. This could be a weekly meeting with your boss or your client, a team chat, or your daughter’s ballet lesson.
Mark every one of them on your planner. Next look at the things you have to do but it doesn’t matter when they happen. Make a list of them and assign a certain amount of time to each. Be realistic. But don’t put them in your week yet.
The next thing to mark on your planner is what you most want to be able to do. If breakfast with your family every morning is important to you, put it in your weekly plan. If picking them up from school 3x a week matters, put that in.
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Add in the movie nights, soccer games, church meetings, whatever matters to you. Once everything that must happen and everything you want to happen is in your weekly plan, look at what time you have left.
Now check back to your list of tasks you have to do, most of them are probably work related. Put them into your planner if they are every week or just block out periods of time for work.
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By time blocking in this way you can see at a glance what happens when and stick to it. Go ahead and use all the color you want girl, make it stand out!
You may find that some days the only time you have to work is early in the morning or late in the evening when the kids are in bed.
No-one said this would be easy, but it will mean you can get everything done and still be there for your kids.
Once you have your weekly plan, laminate it and stick it on the wall, or better still three walls so you see it all the time. Then you need to find some shortcuts for other aspects of life. If you can, hire a maid for a few hours a week. Buy a decent dishwasher and remember to fill it as you go. Enrol your partner and kids in some chores and get everyone into the mindset that the quicker things get done, the sooner you are free to have fun.
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You may even be able to rope older kids into helping you with some extra chores or even some of your work tasks.
By planning your week meticulously and sticking to it as closely as you possibly can, you will be able to spend your time doing what you want to do. Make work fit into the time available, even if that means getting up earlier than everyone else or working when the kids are in bed.
Remind yourself as often as necessary why you decided to work from home in the first place. It’s all too easy to get your priorities mixed up when you have a schedule to keep and deadlines to meet, but your children need you too.
By putting them and their needs, including family time, into your schedule on the same footing as your work time, you keep your children high in your priorities and let them know how much they mean to you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this read and found it useful! We would love to hear your tips and thoughts in the comments.
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