Must read tips on balancing your work at home success with family
Imagine being able to stay home so you don’t have to miss all the important milestones in their lives. How cool would it be to make money while being able to play with your young one?
If you dream of being able to balance parenthood and a thriving work at home career perfectly, you might need a reality check. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I once thought I could do it all. A month of tears, sleepless nights and wanting to tear out my hair on a daily basis, I finally changed my mind.
That’s not to say it can’t be done. It’s just that you can’t watch your kids and do work at the same time. Balancing working at home while raising a young child requires a lot of time management skills and a few simple tricks.
Budget In Some Help for Your Business
It’s pretty common sense but you wouldn’t believe the number of mothers I know (myself included) that thought we could forego daycare and babysitters and do it all. Back when my business was a side hustle, I had saved up a good chunk of money. I invested some of it back into my business by putting my son in daycare twice a week.
If you have relatives that are around and are willing to help with babysitting duties, go ahead and do that. The nearest relative from me is a 6 hour drive, so I’m pretty much on my own. Even if you have to pay for some childcare, it’s totally worth it. There is just no way you can do deep work (like writing a blog article or film videos) and have your child at home.
It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Depending on what’s around you, there are home day care services, playgroups, mom groups where you swap babysitting duties, and university students who babysit as a part time job.
You may not be taking care of your kid 24/7, but that’s ok. You need time away from your child and do your own thing.
Prioritize Your Work at Home Schedule
As a parent, you will have less time simply because there’s a little person in your life. Just because you may not have hours in a day to work, doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot done.
Instead of just writing off a to-do list, start by looking at the tasks you have set for the day and pick your top three. That way, if you only do that but get nothing else done, you will have been productive.
As for what types of tasks to prioritize, it depends on what you do. As a general guideline, it should be something that significantly moves a project you’re working on forward or a money making task. For example, I’m a freelance content marketer, so my priority tasks always involve writing for my clients and building my email list. Some days it might be finishing products I plan on selling or negotiating a sponsored post on my blog. That way, even if I get totally distracted, I know I’m still making progress towards my income goals.
Be Realistic About What You Can Accomplish
Type A personalities like me would want to do all the things. With a kid around, however, it’s just not possible, unless you’re prepared to work 14 hours days 7 days a week.
Being realistic about what you can accomplish may mean outsourcing some of your tasks, or taking on less work. It could also mean working less when your child’s around of focusing on certain tasks when they’re at the babysitter.
For example, I work on tasks that aren’t as important during the days my son is home. Or they’re tasks that don’t take up a lot of mental space, like scheduling social media content, or replying to emails. That way if I get sidetracked, it won’t take me as long to get back to work. If I do any writing, I save those until nap times. When my son is at day care, those are the days I book podcast interviews, meet with clients or work on product creation.
Automate As Much As You Can
Depending on what you do, there are so many tasks that can be automated. As in, you set it once and a program takes care of the rest. This can literally save you hours a week and you can now use that time for other tasks.
An example of things you can automate:
-Booking appointments with potential clients: You can set up your availability through a calendar tool, and all clients have to do is pick a time and it gets added to your calendar and project management tool.
-Social media: There are services that recycle your social media posts so you don’t have to add new content constantly
-Bookkeeping: Some services automatically help you enter in information for your quarterly taxes
This is just a fraction of what you can do with automation. Check out ITTT (If This Then That) or Zapier to see what you can automate.
Final Thoughts on Finding Your Work at Home Balance
Being a parent doesn’t mean you can’t work from home. It may take a bit of time to work out a time management system and workflow that suits your needs, but it’s totally worth it. Just make sure to be realistic about what you can do, get lots of help, and make sure you take care of yourself. Your business will be thriving sooner that you know what hit you.
I want to thank Sarah Li Cain of HighFivingDollars for this post on balancing work at home success with a family life. Finding the time to just get things done, let alone grow your home-based business, can be a challenge when you're also trying to juggle a family life and other needs. These are some great tips.