Guest Post by Lei Chidester.
As a mom who was sick tired of the Rat Race in the corporate world, I made the choice to find work that can be done from a home office. I thought this decision was the right choice, not only for me, but for my family as well. I was right.
It didn’t make sense to just find less stressful work in a traditional brick and mortar office, although that would help. But, there would still be the commute that would add time away from home, as well as a less flexible schedule than I was hoping to find.
For me, the driving force was to spend more time with my family, and be involved, rather than simply be awake and around for an hour or so at the end of the day. I was fortunate to find my niche in the ‘work from home’ workforce. And, there is a vast array of opportunities available, if this is also your goal.
However, the first step is to be honest about what you are seeking, and to know if it’s realistic. If you are simply looking for something easy, just working from home isn’t your solution. It certainly comes with its share of challenges.
So, whatever niche you are seeking to get into, whether it be Internet Marketing like me, freelance writing, or telecommuting for a company, read on for some helpful tips on how to make it work… and work well.
The Drawbacks of Working from Home
We might as well tackle this right away. Yes, there are some disadvantages to working in a home office. The first, and probably biggest drawback would be interruptions and distractions. While you will have those in any work environment, it’s different at home.
First, you might have the children running around, most likely making some noise. Even though it’s not intentional on their part, it can be disruptive to a good work flow. However, acknowledging the inevitable is the first step in getting it under control.
Another area that can be difficult is the aches and pains of sitting at a desk all day. Now, you might be wondering how that is different than when you work in a traditional office… and, you’re right. This is actually where you might find an unexpected benefit. But, I’ll touch on that in a minute.
Finally, you are solely responsible for your entire set up, and make sure that you have a work environment that is created for productivity.
The first thing you need to do is to take control.
Don’t Just Handle the Distractions – Prevent Them
It will be impossible to prevent all distractions from the kids, especially if they are young and active. However there are things you can do to help. First, encourage them to wait with questions until you are on a break. Tasks such as turning the channel for them or asking you to choose sides can all wait until you are available.
If they are not accepting this rule, try using a timer. If they continuously interrupt with questions or comments, tell them they need to set a timer for 10 minutes before they can come to you with a question. Chances are, they will move on to something else at that point.
You can also find quiet things for them to do, such as artwork, iPods for music, or reading. If they don’t like sitting down with a book, maybe using technology would be an incentive. For example, using an eReader so they can download multiple children books, might help spark some interest in reading. If you don’t know which one would be best for your child, type in ‘best ereader for your kids’ into Google to learn more.
No, I’m not talking about time-outs as a disciplinary measure. What I am referring to here is taking breaks throughout the day. If one reason for working at home is to be more involved with the kids, then taking breaks with them is a great way to do it.
You should be taking breaks during the day anyway, at least 2 or 3 each day. It not only can replenish your mind and body, but you can connect with the kids, something you don’t have when working elsewhere.
If you struggle with this and find yourself working straight through, create a calendar entry every hour or so on your iPad, or computer. Make sure you get up and move around. It would be a great time to tend to the kids questions and needs. You can also take advantage of the time to stretch your muscles, so they don’t tighten up too much at the end of the day.
A Productive Setup
When you take the time to set your home office up with the right equipment and tools, it will lead to a more productive flow for your work day. Some of this will depend on which career path you are going to take, but here is a generic list:
- Computer with plenty of memory
- Permanent desk
- Lumbar chair
- Docking system for charging
- Appropriate software
There will be other items you will want to consider, based on your niche. I mentioned a calendar, even though it seems rather simple. However, whether you use an online calendar, a traditional desk calendar, or your iPhone, it will play a significant role in keeping you organized and on target for your goals… one of which is spending more time with your kids.
About the Author
Lei Chidester escaped the Rat Race to pursue a successful career in Internet Marketing. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, traveling, and ereading on self-help, health and healing. It is also her passion to share tips on work and life balance with other moms.