When my daughter was a newborn, working-from-home was easy! She had her schedule, and most of it was spent sleeping all day. Her predictable schedule allowed me to continue working-from-home within a week after giving birth.
Eventually, things changed as she began to sleep less and requires more interactions from humans! Before I know it, I was including all sorts of baby development activities in my daily schedule.
Surprisingly, I was still able to keep up and bring home some serious cash while being hands-on parent!
I’m hoping for you to do the same. So, I’m here to share how I work from home while taking care of my kid!
Are you still with me? Dive right in!
Know the basics to working-from-home
There are some things to prepare when working-from-home – a reliable Internet, laptop and earphones for video calls. You can go as high-end as you like when it comes to your work devices but the truth is you can do well with a second-hand laptop or a basic earphone. What truly matter is to get the work-from-home job that you are after! There are no shortage of online jobs that you can do from home. Personally, Freelancer, UpWork and LinkedIn have been my go-to online job marketplace for full-time jobs or freelance projects. In my blog on ‘How to Get Started in Online Freelancing‘, I shared a glimpse of my online freelancing journey which I think you will benefit from. You can check it out first before getting to the other tips!
Have a dedicated work area safe for children
When my daughter was still an infant, I had no issues working-from-home because my baby was safely playing in her crib. As soon as she learned to crawl, she enjoyed exploring and found happiness when climbing my lap or home office chair. Make sure to have a safe space for them to crawl in. Child-proof your home office just as you would with other areas of your home and keep those office supplies out of sight at all times!
Master block scheduling
Unfortunately, our tiny little humans have no concept of deadlines or online meetings yet. But there are ways to minimize distractions when working. Try block scheduling or working on smaller tasks at different times of your day. Pick a time for a client call during those hours that your baby’s napping or playing. I would usually block an hour or two in the morning to focus on projects while my baby was asleep and reserve 30 minutes for afternoon or evening meetings with a client who’s in a different time zone.
Break time is play time
One of the things I learned while taking care of my kid was they would always need playtime sessions. These playtime sessions are essential to improve their social interactions and brain development. Reading books to my baby has been my favourite break-time activity at home. I would always read parenting and advertising books to her. But as she turns from a calm infant to an energetic toddler, I started giving her age-appropriate educational toys that we play together during my 15-minute break. I practically kissed the mom-guilt goodbye with this work-from-home hack!
Work smarter with online tools
Back in the day, we are limited to using paid office software to help us with our office work. Today, there are so many free online tools to help you work efficiently. I, for one, use those scheduling and calendar apps that send notification about my appointments and meetings. Currently, I’m using Notion to organize my work-life situation and so far I’m happy with the clean design and block feature. Make your work-life a little bit more smarter. Check the list of my go-to online tools here.
“Your work conditions determine your work-from-home success.”Elle Anorma
Recharge with a 20min power nap with your baby
Most of the time, parents tend to their babies several times in the middle of the night to care for their babies. It becomes less as soon as the baby learns to sleep through the night, but it doesn’t mean work-from-home parents get the right amount of sleep. Instead of binging on caffeine, have a quick nap with your baby in the afternoon. It will help your baby sleep quickly, knowing you are in the bedroom with them while you get the much-needed power nap.
Schedule outdoor activities for you and your kids
When you work-from-home chances are you see fewer people every day compared to when you were working in the office. It could get lonely and boring sometimes. Luckily, you have your kids with to encourage you to spend a few minutes of your time outdoors. Take your kids to a nearby park or spend a few minutes inn the garden. It will help you appreciate how much you own your time as a work-from-home parent.
The reason: I keep a schedule and flexible work routine which I regularly update to match my deadlines and baby’s needs.
Get a full-time or part-time house helper
If there’s one mistake that every newbie parent like me have committed it would be trying to do it all. Parents, you have to understand this, you can only choose to do at least two or three roles at home and delegate the rest of the household chores to a house helper. You can choose to have a part-time or a stay-in house helper. It will give you more time to care for your kid or work on a project. But if getting help isn’t available an option then do what you must and work on block scheduling your chores efficiently!
Be in the loop
Working-from-home doesn’t mean you won’t have access to the latest news and tools about the industry you’re working on. Create your list of industry leaders to get updates. Join groups that share your interest and passion and connect with them through sharing some tips in the comments. Most importantly is to carve out some time to upskill or learn a new skill to improve the quality of your work. Today, instead of bing-watching on Netflix I am learning web development on Shaw Academy and upgrading my productivity with SkillShare.
Set at least 3 hours of uninterrupted work time
While I’m a believer of block scheduling, it’s also essential for me to have hours of uninterrupted work. It allows me to focus more on those tasks that requires 100% attention. Usually, I wake up at early in the morning before everyone does to create my content, edit vlogs, plan my next trip with my daughter, and so on. And then I would spend at least two hours more before bedtime to check my team’s work and plan for the following workday.
Dress the part
Although you are staying at home most days of the week, it doesn’t mean that you should look like you’re an everyday home dweller because you’re still working even if you are at home. Be video-call ready for a quick chat with a client. Saying you need 5 minutes to prepare was cute a few years ago but not in 2020.
The kids learning time could be your work session
At four years old, my little girl has a complete understanding of how our schedule works. It helps that she knows that there is a time for everything. To maximize productivity, I include 10 to 15 minutes of her study time into my work schedule. Those few minutes of working side-by-side give us a sense of achievement that we can carry on with our tasks together.
Your work conditions determine your success in your work-from-home career. As soon as you have your work conditions figured out, it’s now time for you to prepare yourself to get a job!
Now, tell us! What’s your biggest challenge when working-from-home?
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