Working from home provides tremendous
advantages for a mom. You're able to set your own
schedule, bag the stockings and read at the preschool.
You can nap when you're tired or call a friend. What
But challenges also abound. It's
almost impossible to work without childcare. The
more you're in the house, the messier it seems; domestic
projects call from every corner. The mail carrier
may be nice, but he's not a colleague. And nobody
is looking over your shoulder to make sure the job
To thrive as a work-at-home mom,
you need to set guidelines. What follows are time
management tips gleaned from my experience writing
from home as the mother of two girls, now 5 and 8.
boundaries. Don't allow the kids in your
office without permission. I set this rule early,
and as a result I can always find my stapler. I
cannot say the same thing for my hairbrush or lipstick.
*Set a schedule. Notice
how your preschooler needs structure? So do you.
A regular work routine will help keep you from getting
sidetracked by daytime TV.
stopwatch. I click my stopwatch
on to write and click it off when I
leave my desk. At
day's end, I log my work hours. Tracking
time keeps me focused and helps separate "work" from "home."
stuff" to do list. Working at home
allows you to use spare moments for office work.
But to be efficient, you need to keep a list of
tasks that can be done in 15 minutes or less.
*Stash toys. I
keep a basket of toys in my office for special occasions.
Since the kids don't use them regularly, the toys
have novelty value. The basket buys me an hour of
work time on my children's sick days.
breaks. Two hours spent cleaning the playroom
is not a break, it's a morning. Start the day with
work, not chores. Keep breaks short, work hours
long. Ignore the dust bunnies.
handyman straight. Chat and then make
it clear that you have to go back to work. Tell
him that you're on a deadline -- even if you're
not. He'll get more work done, and so will you.
Working at home can be isolating. Schedule events
that require you to wear clean clothes and interact
with adults who are not relatives, contractors or
It's confusing. You're a working mother but you're
mostly around stay-at-home moms. Deadlines call,
but you're constantly asked to volunteer. Consider
your work commitments before accepting outside obligations.
Remember, you're a working mom, even if you don't
*Take advantage. What's
the point of working at home if you don't enjoy the
perks? Sneak in a siesta. Check in on Oprah. Shop
for shoes. Celebrate the "free" in freelance,
and the "independent" in independent contractor!
(c) 2010 Jennifer Bingham Hull.
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