Time Management For Work-From-Home Parents

Working from home has its benefits, especially if you have children. A flexible schedule lets you handle emergencies and stay involved in your family life. Although juggling your projects and your family can be difficult, you can thrive as a work-from-home parent with this time-management advice:

Accept that you will be distracted. If you have small kids, you will be interrupted. The best way to deal with this situation is to get your most important work finished during quiet time, either when the kids are with a sitter or asleep. This may mean that you need to stay up after putting the kids to bed or getting up well before the kids do in the morning.

Break large tasks into small ones. Since stretches of uninterrupted time are rare for a stay-at-home parent, think of ways to take one large project and break it down into stages. That way, you will feel as if you are getting more done in the limited amount of time you have.

Keep a clean work space. When you are working at home and you don't need to keep things presentable for your boss, it is all too tempting to let those piles of paper get out of control. Set up a filing system on your computer and in your cabinets. Having a clean desktop can reduce your stress and save you time finding important files. Otherwise, you will waste time trying to find documents you need. Such organization is critical if you are self-employed because your tax-related paperwork will be complicated.

Know how you will use your free time. If Grandma offers to take the kids to the zoo and you have some spare time, you don't want to blow it Web surfing. Plan for such situations in advance, and use it for passion projects or career development.

Use evening hours wisely. To gain more time during the day, when you should be interacting with clients, prepare your kids for the day the night before. Set out their clothes, and make their lunches.

Draw a line between home and work. While this may be more difficult to do with younger kids, when your kids are in school you can set a stricter schedule. If you set a finish line at 3:00 pm, when you need to pick your kids up and take them to soccer practice, then you will work harder to achieve your goals for the day. But, if you are used to working in the evenings, you might be tempted to dawdle and do it later, which will cut into your family life. Setting clear boundaries can improve your quality of life and the quality of your work tremendously.

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