If you're working from home, you're probably accustomed to the steady stream of interruptions and emergencies from your family. Here are 6 work life balance tips for chronically overwhelmed parents.
1. Schedule Uninterrupted Work Time
Set aside hours when the kids know that you're working, and they can only interrupt if it's a real emergency. You may have to explain to them exactly what constitutes a "real" emergency. If the house is on fire: emergency. If Timmy won't share his toys: not an emergency.
2. Explain the Importance of the Family Business
If you launch your home-based business and you're off and running, you suddenly have less time for the children. If you don't take the time to tell them why the business is important and why it takes so much of your time, they're bound to interrupt a lot. Sit them down and explain the many benefits of the family business, and how they can help by minimizing interruptions. With that said, being a parent is a higher priority and the most important job you have.
3. Take Turns
If you and your husband are working together in the business, you may have to take turns giving your children the needed and desired attention they require. Work in shifts and take turns managing and playing with the kids, while the other one is working on the business.
4. Involve Your Children
Even if you have very young children, they can still be involved in the family business. Young children can learn to stuff envelopes or help clean the office. Older children can learn simple bookkeeping tasks and even answer the phone for you. Pay your children for the work they do, and it will help them to learn to appreciate the family business (and understand the importance of it all). You can also assign household chores as part of the "business" tasks that they complete. Every dish that's washed and put away is time that helps you work and contributes to more family time together at the end of the day.
5. Set Up a Rewards System
If you meet all your business goals for the week, take the family out for some special time together. Let the children know that they can help earn these treats for the whole family by being responsible, completing all their chores on time and minimizing interruptions while you're working.
6. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Your schedule doesn't have to be set in stone. In fact, it can't be since you're working from home. However, having an overall schedule for the whole family can help balance work and life issues. Post the schedule in an area where everyone can see it. Have a set routine for each day of the week, and include times for each child. It can list everything from independent coloring time to chores and more. No matter what subjects go into the schedule, setting a routine for the kids will help teach them responsibility, and it will keep them occupied.
Remember, you're running a home based business for the benefit of your entire family, not just yourself. Keep this in mind and remember that there has to be a degree of flexibility when you implement these work life balance tips. If there's a short-term family crisis, be prepared to lose a little sleep if you have to in order to continue meeting your business goals.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.