I won’t gloss over it. Running a business and working from home with children can be hard! I am writing this in the grips of the second week of half term break, having slipped out of bed early whilst my two are asleep. However, 20 minutes in, number two daughter awoke and is now sat with me whilst I work. She is now doing her “work” (aka building lego tunnels) as I do mine.
It is a balancing act; constant adjustments, re-prioritising and changes. But you know what, isn’t that just life? There are always people and places that ask for our attention; maybe parenthood makes us think a little differently.
Here are my tips on how to work with kids at home.
Drop the guilt!
Yes, we all know that we shouldn’t be on our phones / laptops as much as we are, but it is a sign of modern life. My four year has ICT targets and an online homework app! When you need to work, work; but make the little one feel involved. Talk to them about what you are doing – as he gets older, he can join in. Often my two (my eldest is 11) do “homework” whilst I am working.
Remember you are setting an example.
On a practical level, set boundaries. When you are working you work. When you are not, you aren’t. You don’t need to be available 24/7; if you clients won’t wait they aren’t really your client. Put your out of office on to get yourself some clear working time, communicate with contacts to let them know where you are and what you are doing and turn off your notifications when you aren’t working!
Decide everyday on three things to do; one big, one medium, one little. That is your minimum work activity for the day. These should be things that will make a real impact on the business. That are urgent and important. Over the Easter break some last minute work came in that I WANTED to do, that I could do when I CHOSE. So I said “Yes”; this involved shifting my day slightly (by getting up at 7 – for me that is EARLY for a holiday) and working till 9 whilst the kids got up and had breakfast, for a few days. That has meant that it has been done, but not eaten into any of my holiday time. Other times, it is total holiday shutdown
Delegate … or wait.
This is both work and home life. Too many times we put pressure on ourselves, because of what we think we should do, or what others say we should. Be mindful of the expectations you put on yourself. Work out if you HAVE to do what you are doing or if YOU have to do it.
Put time in your day to reflect and plan.
Don’t just react to anything. This will also help you know what progress you have made when you feel like you are up to eyes in nappies and nursery rhymes.
Finally, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t compare yourself to other people. This is YOUR business, YOUR career and YOUR journey.
So if you are balancing your business around your children, or developing your career around the kids, then I invite you join in with a group of likeminded parents, by clicking HERE to join my Facebook Group.