How to survive working from home when you’re a parent

One of the first things I get asked when I say I work at home is “how do you manage with the boys being at home?” They just don’t understand how I get everything done; paid work, the blog, being a mother and a housewife and to be totally honest with you, I’m not sure how I manage myself most days! But if you are thinking of working from home or are just curious how I do it, then stick around because I’m going to be sharing some tips and tricks which I find really help me get through the day.

1. Preparation

This is so important. Actually, this is important if you’re a parent full stop. But when you work from home, being organised is crucial. The first thing I do each week when my work comes in is divide it up. So I write descriptions for gift lists and I get around 120 items a week. I set aside 3 times in the day when I can work; during naptime, some in the afternoon while the boys are playing or watching a movie and then in the evening after they go to bed. I usually do between 10-15 items in each “session” and I’ll only work Monday to Friday. If I don’t stick to it, I’ll fall behind and I hate playing catch up.

2. Planning

Like preparations, having plans in place in terms of work is so helpful especially when it comes to my blog. I’ve started trying to have regular blog posts, on a Tuesday and Thursday, and I’ll usually spend Friday night planning and at least drafting them out. This means that during the week, I can concentrate more on my paid work and less on my blog because I’ve already done it. Obviously social media is a daily occurrence but the blog posts are the thing which takes up most of my time. However…

3. Don’t be surprised if plans fall through

You can have the best plan, literally foolproof. But as we all know, kids throw everything up into the air and your plan can go to crap. There was a week in December where we were all ill. Archie on Wednesday, me on Thursday, Henry on Friday and Gareth on Saturday. Obviously, I didn’t get any work done during those 4 days but that’s the thing with working from home. You don’t get paid sick pay so you have to accept the loss and move on.

4. Try not to have a rigid routine

Apart from the boys naptime, their routine isn’t to the letter. They’ll usually nap at around 11am and if I’m lucky, it’ll be for around an hour and a half. If I’m ahead with work, I’ll use this time to relax for a while, something which I adore. I can eat in peace and watch the TV I want without moaning…it’s bliss. But they don’t have any other set times to do anything and we don’t go to any groups or anything which leads me onto my next point…

5. Have zero plans where you can

If the boys had any playgroups or lessons which they attended, then I would work around it. But for now, they don’t go to any (although we are looking into swimming lessons for Henry). Instead, we’ll just see where the day takes us. The other day, we headed out to our local farm shop, got some tea and cake and the boys played with some other children in the play area. I don’t think I’d manage if we had a strict social schedule.

The most important point is to find a routine which suits you. Your family will run differently to mine and what works for us won’t work for you. But I hope that these 5 points will give you a rough idea on where to start and help you to work from home easier.

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