For many work at home moms, school is a saving grace. After all, you can crank a lot of work out during those precious school hours. When summer comes along, though, it can seem to ruin your productivity. But with a little creativity, it is still possible to work at home during the summer when you have kids. Here’s how:
Enroll your kids in activities. It’s stating the obvious, but you need something to fill all those extra hours during the summer months. Whether it’s day camp, scheduling lots of play dates, or hiring a nanny, (or a combination of all three) you can keep your kids happily busy during your allotted working hours.
Adapt your schedule. By its very nature, a telecommuting job generally means that you work flexible hours. At no other time will you put flex to the test than when you’re working at home during the summer. It may mean that you have to get up an hour earlier each day—which works out well since the sun rises early anyway! Or you might need to clock extra time at night after the kiddos are in bed.
Organize your workload. Even if you are already organized, you’ll need to be methodical come the dog days of summer. So carve out some time at night—even if it’s just 15 extra minutes—to plan the next day’s activities. Schedule the tougher assignments for when you know you’ll have the house—and quiet—to yourself, whether it’s when the kids are in day camp or when Grandma takes them out for ice cream. That way you’ll prioritize what truly needs your attention and accomplish your daily work goals.
Rethink your space. Despite day camp, trips to see summer flicks and afternoons in the park, there are going to be many times when the kids are at home. If your workspace during the school year was a nook off the kitchen (or even a desk in the corner of your living room), look for another out-of-the-way area to do your work. It will help you keep your concentration when you’re on a deadline and a fight breaks out among your kids over who is going to eat the last Popsicle.
Hire your kids. Depending on their ages, you might be able to enlist your children to help you get some of the lighter aspects of your job done. Even little ones can help stuff envelopes, and older kids can answer the phone or take messages. Reward them with a special treat, (or give older ones cash!) so they can feel like they’re working—and they get to see what you do, too!
Be kind to yourself. Realize that despite your best efforts, you may have days of great success—and others where you barely make a dent in your workload. Just don’t beat yourself up about it. After all, it’s tricky enough to balance being a working mom even when you have a few extra hours to get your work done. So enjoy the summer with your family, work to the best of your ability, and keep in mind this comforting fact: The kids will be going back to school in just a few short weeks.
Summertime can still be fun time—and you can get your work done—when you take advantage of your work at home situation—and make it work to your advantage.