I don’t know if there is such a thing as an Ideal Work at Home balance when you have 4 kids including a teenager and an infant……but I try my best to make it all work.
Laid Off and Unemployed
My husband was recently laid off as a result of the oil and gas industry downturn. He made quite a lucrative income including a company vehicle, stock options, bonuses, and a nice salary. When that all came quickly to an end, we found ourselves with one vehicle, a brand new house, and no income. How’s that for a start for the new year?
We have always wanted to be self-employed. I had a successful CPA Accounting firm for several years, but sold it to stay home with my precious daughters and homeschool them. I tried to work from home during that season, but I couldn’t find the right work at home balance and I was stressed out all the time. Since my husband is now unemployed, we decided what better time than to start our own online business!
He is working on his own website right now, and I have this one as well as another one in the works. The key is to diversify your businesses so you don’t lean on income coming from only one source.
We joined an awesome online community that is completely FREE to join! Great for us since we are unemployed! And within a week I had this website up and running due to their extensive training.
The kicker is trying to find the ideal work at home balance for both of us to work on our businesses while homeschooling (yes, even the 5 month old is homeschooled!)
Our Ideal Work at Home Balance
It is still a work-in-progress, but it is working good for us now. My husband works on his training and website from 8am to 4pm. We have some family time from 4 to 6pm and eat dinner as a family. Then at 6pm, I head to the office to work on my online business until 11pm with some breaks to put the kids to bed and help with our evening routine.
What will work for you and your family will look different of course.
There are some things to consider when deciding to work from home:
Find a Quiet Place with minimal distractions. If it has a door, close it! Be sure to leave your phone in another room and do not check emails, Facebook, or twitter while you are working on your online business. (unless it is related to your business task that day)
Find Your Optimum Time to Work. Work in the early morning before the kids wake up. You can work a few hours after they are in bed. Also, nap/quiet times in the afternoon is a great time to focus on your business.
Spend Quality Time with Family first. Part of having a good work at home balance is not feeling guilty when you lock yourself away for a few hours during your work time.
Consider Hiring a mother’s helper such as a neighboring teenager or single friend. They can come play and keep watch over the children in your home while you are working on your website.
Buy a Timer. Set the timer for the amount of time you want to dedicate to your business and focus only on work at that time. Don’t let anything but an emergency draw you away before the buzzer goes off.
Set Specific Work Hours. Be consistent and your family will learn that this is the time when mom cannot be bothered. This is your business, not a hobby.
Make Business Goals. You need daily goals, weekly goals, monthly and yearly goals for your business if you plan to take it seriously and successfully make a living from it.
Make Cooking Easier. Plan your meals ahead of time. Grocery shop on the weekends. Use your crockpot frequently and make freezer meals to store up in your freezer. Read this post for a great meal planning software and this post for freezer cooking ideas.?
Set Time Limits for Social Media. Get that timer you bought back out and set it for a minimum amount of time that you will spend on social media. It is a huge time waster.
Store all your Passwords in One Place. Don’t waste time looking up passwords and logins to your business resource sites. Store them all in an excel spreadsheet that is easily accessible or use a system such as Roboform.
Utilize Checklists for Everything. If you see yourself doing something in your business repeatedly, like writing a blog post, make a checklist for it. Make copies of it and every time you go to do that task again, you will save time going through your checklist and not forget an important step.
Outsource if your Budget Allows. Outsource things that you are not gifted at. Find someone else that can do it faster. Time is money for you.
Find Resources to Help you Maximize Your Time. Brainstorm and find help with things you can afford like housecleaning, babysitting, graphics, or virtual assistants.
Find a Mentor. Attach yourself and learn from a person who has “been there, done that”. They can teach you time-saving tips and proven methods to help your business be a success quicker.
Make Prioritized To-Do-Lists. I use Evernote to create my to-do-lists for each day and month. When I am ready to sit down and work on business tasks for the day, I can go to my lists and know exactly what I am supposed to accomplish that day. And it is oh so satisfying to “check off” that list and feel the accomplishment.