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Working from home might seem an easy option, but only if you stick to a few dos and don’ts. Here is a guide to working from home, compiled by someone who knows.
I took a break from my career when my daughter was born. 4 years, and another baby (boy this time!) later, I was ready to get back to work. I was ready to think about something other than nursery schools, diapers, sleeping through the night, teething, and the endless list of things that go through all mom’s minds. But only for a few hours a day. And I didn’t want to leave my kids at home while I went to work.
After a lot of soul searching, talking to many people, and exploring several options, I chose something that allowed me to work from home, at my own time, and didn’t require too many hours of my day. It seemed perfect. That is, of course, until I started work!
I tried a lot of different things, made many mistakes, and learnt many lessons. I finally found out what works for me and what doesn’t. I hope my list of ‘absolutely never dos’ and ‘definitely must dos’ helps you eliminate the wasted time, and the frustration I felt, and puts you on the fast track to Super Mom and Super Star!
Set aside a specified time for work: It doesn’t have to be 9-4 every day. One of the best things about working from home is flexible work times. But for each day, decide in the morning and block aside a specified time just for work.
It could be 9-3 on one day, 8-11 on another and so on. But decide it in the morning and stick to it. Plan your day around it. That time should be just work time, no distractions, no kids, no house stuff, no phone calls. Just work.
Shut the door: Door shut should signal that this is your time and you are not to be disturbed. Make sure you keep the kids busy. I take out a few pictures for my daughter to colour, and try to schedule work when the baby is sleeping. My kids have learned now that door shut means we can’t disturb mom.
Make extra effort at ‘play time’: This doesn’t mean plan fancy activities or elaborate play-dates. It just means make an effort to be fully present.
Now, when I’m spending time with the kids, I’m really all there. No phones, no laptops, no distractions! I make an effort to do something fun with them every day, which just means that I schedule time where they have my full attention. We paint, and I don’t worry about making a mess, or we bake, or even just run around like crazy in the garden. They love it, and so do I!
These seem like no-brainers, and they are. But we moms often get caught up in guilt and self-doubt, so read and re-read, and commit these to memory!
Don’t try to multitask: Work at worktime and play at playtime!
Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Take your time. Start slow and work up to your optimum amount of work time. Get help wherever required.
Don’t be too hard on yourself: It takes a while for the routine to settle, for you to get back in the groove, and for the kids to accept their mom’s new avatar. It also takes a while to reach your optimum productivity. But you will get there! In the meanwhile, don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t allow setbacks to demotivate you, and keep at it!
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woman working from home by Shutterstock.
Ashni is an entrepreneur and a mom to 2 kids under the age of 5.
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