Written by Ally Loprete
Working at home: it seemed like such a good idea at the time. You believed that it would give you more time with your children, the freedom to work in your pajamas, a limitless income possibility, and the ability to create your own schedule, own rules, own pace. For many, this is a dream that turns into reality.
It is said that once you work for yourself, you will never be able to go back to working for someone else. For many, working at home is freedom, but still for some, it is easy to let the work consume you every moment you are awake, and probably while you sleep as well.
It is important to remember that you are still in control, and that you need to enjoy all of the perks that come with being self-employed, as long as you remember to grant yourself those perks, just as you promised yourself you would when you “accepted the job” to work for you. If you are not given the perks that were originially promised, it’s only natural that you will lackluster your productivity, and eventually grow weary and lose inspiration.
Here are some tips to help you increase your work-at-home productivity:
1. Create atypical work hours. As parents who are self-employed, we have 2 jobs, and getting up from the computer to pour your 2 year old more milk will always be more important than responding to an email, or posting a blog. You may have grown more patient as a parent, but interruptions like these can be daunting. Save your most crucial, concentrated work for the evening when your spouse is home from work, and has agreed to let you lock yourself into a quiet room without interruptions. For me, this time is from 7:30pm-10pm during the week. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in 2 ½ hours.
2. Create an end time to each day, and “clock out.” It may be difficult to cease working when the house is exceptionally quiet for once, and you are finally feeling productive, but don’t get lost in the moment. Find a good stopping point, pat yourself on the back for a job well done and step away from the computer. My clock out time is 10:00pm
3. Schedule in some rest and relaxation time each night before going to sleep. For me, I give myself an hour to do anything I want, but work. You may choose to watch TV, read a book, or do a crossword puzzle.
4. Invest in some kind of technology. Depending on the way you look at it, this could be the greatest thing toward making you more productive, or it could cause you to become confused between work time and family time. It may be an iphone, blackberry or another PDA, but in a world where productive mothers love to multi-task, the technology that has presented itself in the last decade has made it possible for us to do it all- within reason. If your iphone allows you to quickly answer an email while attending your son’s little league game, it’s worth it. But if it keeps you out of the moment and you’ve missed your son hitting the ball on more than one occasion, it’s time to go back to the drawing board, create a more productive schedule, and turn off the PDA during family time.
5. Trade your services. I don’t mean your business services. Create a co-op babysitting group with another parent. Self-employed parents are no longer a rarity, and chances are there are atleast 4 or 5 on your street who would be willing to watch your kid for a few hours one day in exchange for you watching theirs.