When I started my home business 10 years ago I was not prepared for the work load or the work at home balance issue.
I still see women struggling with it today. Of course, it’s a HUGE issue, maybe it is THE issue when working at home, especially when your children are young.
One of the main reasons for many of us want to work at home is to be able to have an income/do our ‘thing’ AND be there for our kids.
Then one day we wake up and find out that we are here in body most of the time, but in reality ‘we’ are here for our kids even less than if we were working out of the home – and maybe making less money to boot.
I thought about this and what, in hindsight – which is 20/20 of course, would I have done differently through those years when my children were young and I was struggling (and not making much progress) to create balance.
in a nutshell…
If I could go back I would start by penciling in a schedule all the things I thought I should be doing.
This is very effective because very quickly you find out how much extra ‘stuff’ you are trying to do and how impossible it would be for anyone to actually do it all – at least today or even this week.
The issue of balance becomes obvious. Although you may have been living it all this time, seeing it on paper in front of your nose has the effect of allowing you to make a plan.
it’s simple math…
To create balance you need to either add or take away to acheive balance. That means you need to either add help or get rid of the extra if you are finding your life unbalanced - it may not be easy to decide what needs to go, if it was you probably would have already done it.
Or it could simply be that you haven’t taken the time to think about it and make some decisions. Take the time now. It could be some of the best time you’ve spent – in a long time.
It could mean prioritizing, focusing on one or two things, completing them and coming back to add another later or getting help.
Getting help could be as simple as trading with a trusted friend or relative a few hours or mornings/aftnernoons a week, releasing a little control and taking your inlaws or parents up on spending some time with the kids on a regular schedule (that is important if at all possible - or planned ahead at least weekly, not the evening before) or paying someone to come in and help for a few hours a week.
If it seems like you can’t afford it, I can tell you it will be money well spent if you are sure to spend the time productively.
That means getting the important things done that are on your list – the things that will give you results or the things that are nagging you that no one else can do – and then spending the time that you have saved or focus gained in maintaining the balance.
Here are the 3 big ones although your needs may be different -
- being present with your kids because you had time to work – even if you didn’t get it finished – finish it next time.
- taking 30 – 40 minutes per day to maintain your home
- spending a little time every day on your self. Think of yourself as the key.
Believe me, if you do these things, 10 years from now you may or may not have a successful business, but you will feel good about your choices and will not have lost precious time with your kids and helping them to grow to be happy and productive people. Think carefully on that concept now while you are in the position to do something about it. Later is too late.
It will be well worth the effort even if it seems like pushing on and working a little harder, doing it all yourself seems the easy way right now. It isn’t.
- Get rid of what ever you can – declutter, declutter, declutter. That means your schedule and responsibilities as well.
- Get someone on your side. Make a list of possible alies who you can trade off with or hire.
- Create a solid work schedule around your new environment.
- Be a mom when your ‘mom hat’ is on and work when your ‘work hat’ is on.
- TAKE time for yourself when you are making your new schedule. You are a big part of the equation.
- TIP: Be realistic and pencil in plenty of white space to avoid burn out. That takes the fun out of it!
MORE WORK AT HOME BALANCE
If you want more ideas about work at home balance and working at home with kids and to read about my story, you may want to also read the whole series. Be sure to take the information and put it into practice, otherwise just get up right now and go spend some time with your kids :0)
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