Your boss is on the phone, the kids are fighting, laundry is piled up to your eyeballs...and this is only a typical day. Finding a balance between work and family can appear insurmountable, but it can be achieved with dignity and grace.
Working from home puts you in a unique position. You are available for your children and to take care of the home, but you are also expected to be productive in your worklife. Any successful telecommuter knows that striking a balance between work and family takes a lot of time management, plenty of focus, effective stress management, and multi-tasking.
Time management begins with purchasing a planner and writing down every activity that needs to be accomplished during your day. Block out time you plan to work, and arrange for activities or part-time childcare during that time. Schedule time for cleaning the house, grocery shopping, kid's activities, and travel time. Stick as closely to your schedule as possible; it'll keep you punctual and allow you to complete projects for both home and family.
Focus on the Goals
You went into the workforce with goals--to move up the corporate ladder, money, or to improve your craft. Don't lose focus of why you work, even if its simply for monetary reasons, when you feel your interest lagging. You've also set goals for your family. For example, you would like to see Alex get an "A" on his math test or for Catherine to make the soccer team. Keeping your eye on your dreams will help you stay focused and determined to be successful both at work and home.
Effective Stress Management
One of the best ways to wrangle your stress is to exercise, which you can plan to do every day. Purchase workout DVDs or run at home on the treadmill to get your heart rate up and your stress level down. Join your local gym, as many gyms include babysitting services. Even if you only have 20 minutes, you can still fit in a workout that will get your heart pumping and your blood circulating.
In addition to working out, try to schedule some time for yourself at least once during the week. This could be doing anything you enjoy such as having a manicure, going shopping, seeing a sporting event, or having dinner with your friends.
Multi-tasking is just another word for juggling several tasks at once. As someone who works from home, this is something you can do throughout your day. For example, purchase a telephone headset or ear piece so that you have your hands free during the day. If you have calls to make (that don't require that you take notes), fold a pile of laundry while returning them. There are also plenty of household tasks that you can cross off your list while returning phone calls.
Another way to multi-task is to be a delegator. If your children are at least elementary school age and older, you can delegate tasks they can complete while you are working. Offer incentives or an allowance for completing them. Not only does that help you, but it teaches them responsibility.Finding ways, both big and small, to get you through your day will help you maintain your sanity, make you look like a rock star at work, and leave you more fulfilled than ever.