Did you see the viral video a few years ago when the children of a professor being interview on the BBC burst into the room behind him? If you’re a mom who has a remote job from home, you probably had a lot of sympathy for his dilemma. Fortunately, audiences were charmed rather than rude, but you don’t always want to count on the goodwill of your employer or client when crunch time comes around. The tips below may help you establish the necessary boundaries between home and work while still ensuring that your kids are getting the attention and care that they need.
Get Your Own Space
Although having a separate office didn’t save the man in the viral video—he forgot to lock the door—it can still make a big difference if there’s an entire room you can carve out for yourself. When this isn’t possible, you should at least have a dedicated corner somewhere. If you only use this for work and teach any adults or older children who live with you that they should consider you “at work” when they see you there, it can help reduce or eliminate disturbances from other people in your house.
Get Help with the Work
If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, figure out what you can outsource so that you can use the precious hours you have for the work that only you can do. For example, if you are a journalist, a researcher or an academic, a service that upload video or audio transcription in seconds can save you time and help you be more productive. This is only of several ways you could automate your workflow. Review any repetitive tasks to find out if they can be automated. Software can send reminders, collect payments, help you manage projects and more. A virtual assistant may be able to help with more complex tasks.
Get Help with the Kids
Many parents have been shocked by the discovery that they could not stay home with their children and put in a good day’s or even half a day’s work. While it seems as though there would be periods when children are napping or otherwise occupied that work would be possible, the truth with younger children is that it is very unlikely that you’ll have stretches of more than a few minutes where you can concentrate solely on your work. If your child is a baby and falls asleep, chances are you’ll want to use that time to grab a nap yourself. However, child care may be simply too costly, or you may want to keep your child at home. A helpful compromise for some parents may be to hire a mother’s helper or au pair to spend a few hours at home with your child each day. This can be a young person, even a teenager or college student, who keeps your child busy with activities and attends to their needs while you’re still in the house in case any major crises arise.