Friday, April 23, 2010

5 Tips for Working From Home While Caring for a Child

Working from home while caring for a child can be one of the most difficult work-related balancing acts someone can attempt. While it might seem like a dream to those sitting in an office all day, let me assure you, there are times when I dream of being back in a peaceful office where at five o’clock I could leave my work and troubles behind for the day. If you do decide to take on this challenge, here are some tips that might help make your attempt successful.

Organizational skills are key if you plan to try to work from home while caring for a child. It can be difficult enough just organizing your own life, let alone child’s and your work all at the same time. By keeping your roles as separate as possible through utilization of various areas of your home or apartment (i.e. bedroom or playroom for your child’s toys and activities, a home office for your work, and living or family room for your personal activities) you may be able to maintain some level of organization. You can also stay organized by developing and maintaining a routine.

While this aspect of working and raising a child at home can be difficult to develop and maintain, it can certainly help you stay on task and get everything done that needs to be done. As your child grows, changes, and develops, your routine will need to change with him. The better you can roll with the punches and modify your routine as needed, the easier it will probably be to stay on task and get things accomplished.

Utilize down time
This is probably one of the most important aspects of working from home while raising a child. It can be near impossible at times to get things done while your child is awake and needing attention. This can become very frustrating when you are in the middle of something important. Consider utilizing nap times or the few occasions when they are actually entertaining themselves to try to be as productive as possible. It might be tempting to use this time as a break for yourself, however, if you plan on accomplishing anything related to work, then you should probably try to buckle down and devote these few precious hours to your work.

Stay busy
Staying busy might sound a bit ridiculous considering the fact that you will actually be doing two jobs, but even with a child to care for and work to do, you can still become a bit lazy at times. By keeping your child busy, it will often allow you to stay busy as well. When you think about it, when is typically the hardest time to keep yourself motivated? Is it when your child is up, busy, and active, or is it when he or she is snuggled in for a nap or at nighttime? In most cases, it is probably the latter. Lying down with your little one can be the kiss of death to a productive day.

Squash the little things
It can be easy to let the little things get you down. Getting distracted by all the little household chores or projects that need to be done other than work or child-related activities, can burn your day up before you know it. You should probably try to put as many of these minor issues out of your mind until you have finished your work for the day, or, sadly as this sounds, you can use them as breaks. Even folding laundry or doing dishes can seem more exciting and relaxing than work. Consider putting your little one to work doing some of these menial jobs (matching and folding socks, separating white clothes from colors, etc.) that you don’t have time for when he or she is old enough. This can help teach great work ethic, keep them busy, and allow you to get some work done.

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