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Working from Home? How to Get More Done Without the Stress

01/12/2009 15:18

I used to work out of my home. My daughter is a work-from-home single mom. A lot of our customers work from home too. Some are stay-at-home parents, some like being their own bosses, some have an office job and use the African business as a side job. When you work at home, the job has its own benefits and its own set of challenges. This post is about parents who work from home. If your kids are young or old, parenting and working from home at the same time is full of challenges. Finding the time to work without being distracted is difficult, and there are many times when you feel like throwing your hands in the air and giving up altogether. Now, I don't consider myself an expert on childcare, but I put this list together with my daughter, and hopefully it will help some of you out who we know work so hard.

How can it be easier? If you're a parent trying to work from home while you're kids are in the house, here are a few tips of ways you can avoid stress and find the time to make a sufficient income: 

Wake Up Early - Train yourself to get up at 4:30 a.m. most days (or maybe sleep in until 5:30 or 6:00 a.m.). Now, I’m not saying you have to get up that early, but getting up even half an hour or an hour earlier than the kids can give you some time to do some uninterrupted work in the quiet of the predawn hours.

Team up with your spouse It really helps to have a great, supportive spouse. Take turns working at the computer, on the phone, or with a customer while the other keeps the kids at bay. Take the kids outside, or take them to a park, or read to them, while your spouse does some work. Then switch.

Stay up a little later. My daughter works after her 2-year-old is in bed. Create a list of customers or prospects to call, e-mail a few customers, plan out your home party. You can often get in anywhere from 1-4 hours of work at night this way. 

Play-Doh Have a healthy stock of play-doh around, and when it is your 'work time', tell the kids 'Mommy (or daddy) has to work, now it's play-doh time'. Set them up on the table with some play doh sets, cookie cutters, butter knives, etc,..They will often play contentedly for an hour or so. Especially if this becomes a tradition, they will learn that play-doh time is mommy or daddy's work time and they can't interrupt.

Teach them to play by themselves. Kids can keep themselves entertained for good stretches at a time. Let them play Legos or board games in the room, or allow them some limited time to play video games or watch a DVD. Let them go in their room and play for a little while so you can get a little work done. Check on them from time to time, of course, and don’t hole them up for too long. 

Let them join in! If your kids are older, they may enjoy being part of your work. Have them help you make your own soap or incense, they would probably enjoy the learning process with you. Maybe give them a part-time job working for you. Teach them how to sell African products, involve them in a home party, let them help you hand out product samples. They can make an income while you both increase your prospects and customers. It's a great way for kids to learn how to handle money, how to work, how to be independent, and it's a great way to build their confidence and self-esteem before they get out there into the workplace.

Get out! Get your toddler into the stroller and take a walk delivering retail catalogs to nearby salons, whole food markets, or other places where you can find potential customers. Bring a few samples with you and give them to people to try! This is a great way to get exercise, make more contacts and more sales, and have fun with your child! 

A few other quick tips: - Put lots of legos in or near your office. - Make signs. The sign can say something like, “Mom on phone with clients; no friends inside.” or “Mom working, but if you’re quiet, you may come inside.” - Let kids sleep in a little more in summer months, and use the time to get more done - Send the kids to Grandma or Grandpa's house for an hour or two! Give them a free African soap in exchange for babysitting! Want more ideas on how you can start an African business? Click Here or go to the Africa Imports web site to find even more.