11. Discuss how to handle vacations. Sticking to a work schedule can be difficult when the kids are at home, especially during summer vacations and your school-age kids are at home. At least during school year, you can work from home when they are in school. But now that they are at home the whole day, they may assume that you can be disturbed at any time because you’re there. Reiterate with them that they may be home for vacation but you still have to work, and would appreciate if they respect your work hours.
12. Wake up early. Start working before the kids start to wake up. If they regularly wake up at 6:30 a.m., doing a little sacrifice by rising up early to do work at 5:00 am will allow you to complete part of your to-do list for the day.
13. Sleep late. If walking up early is not an option for you, then be prepared to work late. You can work after the kids are all asleep, even up to the wee hours of the morning. It’s the perfect time to work: the peace and quiet can help you concentrate more and accomplish more.
14. Stick to an early bedtime schedule. Discipline the kids to sleep early. If the kids sleep early, you can have more time to do work in the evenings. If they can sleep at 8 p.m., and then you can work for 2-3 additional hours at night, even more. Plus, of course, getting enough sleep is very important for little kids.
15. Decide on a family routine that will work with the whole family –and stick with it. This includes when they need to wake up, when they need to eat breakfast, take a bath, their play times and when they should start preparing to go to bed. Set the rule that your family needs to eat together. Follow the same consistent routine each day so your children know what to expect.
16. Set up a dedicated home office in your home. It is ideal to have a separate and dedicated space for your home office, if you have the space for it. Having your own office will help set clear boundaries between your family and your business. You can have all your supplies, equipment and materials in one place, while allowing you to better concentrate on your work.
17. Share your home office with your kids. If you need to work but don’t have anyone who can watch the kids, bring your kids to your home office and let them do their activities while you work. Give your kids a little table where they can color and paint. Or bring some of their toys in the home office. Let them do their thing – but ask them to keep the noise down and minimize talking to Mommy or Daddy. Oftentimes, they will play or sit contently while you work. This way, you can keep them safe and the kids are happy just to be with you.
18. If possible, get some help. A babysitter or a nanny can give you time to work on your business, while making sure that a responsible adult is watching over your children. You can be working in your home office, while the kids are with the caregiver playing outside or in the backyard, or enjoying a snack.
19. Arrange play dates with friends. If you cannot get childcare for your kids, organize a little play date group with your friends and other parents in the school of your kids. An hour spent in someone else’s house for play dates will give you time to work on your business uninterrupted.
20. Keep your weekend free for your family. Dedicate time primarily for your family. Go to the library on Saturdays and borrow books with your kids. Go to church on Sundays. Find a fun activity for the family, whether playing ball in the backyard or going to the mall.
21. Be ready to spring into work if the time allows it. If your kids have extracurricular activities during evenings or weekends and you are the designated driver, be prepared to bring some work. Instead of sitting for an hour doing nothing while waiting for your kids to finish their ballet or karate lessons, bring something with you to make productive use of the time. Take your computer and use that waiting time productively. Read a book that you need for your business, or catch up with the latest industry news by bringing trade magazines with you. When you are driving the kids around to their lessons or games, pack items related to your work. You just never know when you can have 15 minutes of productive work. You can take out your computer and start working if your kids are doing piano lessons for an hour, but not if they are playing a soccer game and they expect you to watch them.
22. Depending on their age, check if your kids are interested in your business. You can ask your teenage kid to do a little research for you. For little kids, tell them that you want them to help you by making sure they keep quite when the client calls. Letting them help in your business allows you to spend time with them, while they are learning the value of work and respect the work that you do.
23. Know when to stop working. One of the most common complaints against home-based entrepreneurs is that they sometimes never know when to stop. After dinner, the entrepreneur in the family will rush off to his or her computer to check emails, maybe do some book keeping chores or perform a hundred other business-related tasks – instead of interacting with the rest of the family members. Scenarios like these could result to resentments from other family members; becoming the common source of family arguments. Remember, you need your family’s support, even if it seems as if your family has no idea what pressures you’re facing.
24. Get the support of your spouse. This is incredibly important and cannot be underestimated. Your spouse’s support can mean the two of you sharing household responsibilities to allow you to do work for your business.
25. Take care of yourself. Strive to find and keep the balance between work and family. You need it to avoid burnout. Start by mentally preparing yourself for your day. Exercise, and get out of the house even to just walk around the neighborhood. Explore other interests, and spend time with friends. Balance is important to your mental and emotional health.