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Can You Be a Work at Home Success with Kids in the House?

Sep 1, 2007
The main goal for many people who work at home is to have more time for the family. But then reality can sink in, and it is hard to find time to meet your goals. The kids are underfoot, wanting your attention, and you feel pulled in many directions at once.

That makes it hard to succeed as you work at home. But it does not mean it's impossible. What you need is better planning.

Set Up a Work Schedule

When do you need to work? When do you work best? When will your family let you work?

Think about these things as you determine the best work schedule for you. This is something that will vary from family to family, but the general rules include figuring out when the kids aren't going to be wanting your attention. It can be early in the morning before they get up, during school hours, naptime or after they go to bed.

But if you just can't get a good schedule going, it may be time for daycare of one sort or another. This may or may not mean paid daycare. You may have family members who can help or friends you can trade babysitting with.

Set Up the Rules

Talk to your family and set up rules to allow yourself to get work accomplished. The older the kids get, the better they can be about allowing you to work undisturbed.

Younger children will need more time and be less understanding, but you can work with them to make working easier on you both. Try setting up a little desk for your young child, for example. He or she can work side by side with you. If they love imitation, this works wonders.

Don't forget to include everyone in the house in your rules. If you have to work during mealtimes, who is doing the meal preparation? Can you stop for meals? You should, if at all possible.

If you have a separate room for an office, an easy rule to set up is that if the door is closed, you are not to be disturbed. Open, and people can come in if they need you, but you should still be mostly left alone.

Share Your Goals with Your Family

It can really help if your family knows what you are working towards. Talk to them about what you are trying to achieve and how you are trying to get there. Don't focus only on your long term goals; talk about what you want to do on a given day, week, etc.

You can also talk about rewards for when you meet certain goals. A family day, for example. You don't have to spend money on rewards when time does quite well too.

Keep an Eye on the Balance

Most important is to be aware of how well you are balancing your work and your life. You still need to have fun as a family. If your schedule is really interfering with family life, rework it!

Never Give Up

Perhaps not quite never, but remember that working at home is not easy, especially in the early days. You do not want to give up easily. If things aren't working out, stop, take a look and see if you can figure out where things are going wrong.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to combine working at home some of the time with working outside the home, just so that you can get things started without it ending in financial disaster. If this is necessary, so be it. Succeeding when you work at home sometimes requires sacrifice.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.homewiththekids.com/ as a resource for work from home parents. Her site offers more tips on successfully working from home .
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