A departure from the daily grind of 9-5 can mean the freedom to choose your own schedule and save you from hours of commuting time. But the autonomy and lack of structure can also bring about a host of challenges for the mum working from home. There are a million distractions and oh that shirt needs to be ironed before you get to those emails.
Here are a few problems you might run into at the home office and how you can tackle them.
Problem: Staying Connected to Ideas and Events
Solution: Join a network or attend a meet up
While the daily rat race is long, it does provide a social atmosphere that allows you to swap ideas with your peers. Working from home can be an isolating arrangement especially if you’re outgoing by nature and need social interaction. Consider joining a network within your niche. A few examples:
For the creative: http://weareshesays.com/ , a global creative network that offers courses, mentorship and an engaged network for you to mix and mingle with
For business owners: If you need to bounce ideas off other business owners, http://shebusiness.com can put you in touch with women who are in the same stage as you are in your business. There is a fee to join the club, which is split into 3 levels.
For mums who work: Need a job or a business idea? Visit WAHM network for job posts, advice and connect with other mums who work.
Problem: Domestic Life is taking up all your time
Solution: Set Boundaries
It's easy to get distracted working from home, the noise of kids and the familiar surroundings mean it’s easy to lose focus. A great tip to encourage your work ethic is to get dressed for the day as if you are heading into work. Dressing for the job, even when you're in your living room, will help you focus on the tasks at hand. It doesn't even have to be a full outfit to feel professional - just work out a routine that signals the start of your working day and stick to it. Keeping the roles of mum and business woman separate means giving both jobs the attention they deserve.
Tip - Set up a room as your home office. Having a (kid free) space can help you transition into work mode as soon as you enter the room. If you need some inspiration, look to Pinterest.
Problem: Working from home has you feeling overwhelmed
Solution: Start a review of your progress and get organised
Working from home can combine great freedom and flexibility. But this can also be a drawback when it means everything feels overwhelming as work and domestic life piles up on you. A great tip to avoid feeling snowed under is to set reviews for yourself, daily, weekly or monthly. These will let you gauge your progress and pinpoint areas where you can improve. Another great strategy is to take some “me time” and put the ‘to do’ list on the back burner. This will recharge your batteries and have you coming back ready to kick some goals!
Tip – Write your to-do list with a pen and paper. Studies show that you’re more likely to retain your list if you write (rather than type) it down. Want to get organised? This business e-book from Fuji Xerox guides you through simple steps to reduce costs and increase efficiencies for your home office.
Problem: The Noisy Elephants in the room...Children!
Solution: Don't be afraid to make time for yourself
Working from home can be a great way to provide income for your household without feeling the guilt of missing time with your kids. Sometimes you just need a little time to throw yourself into work without any distractions. If this is you, don't feel guilty, use your support network to take care of the little ones while you finish your work. Whether it’s a baby sitter, getting Dad to take them off your hands or even using the services of a day care, knowing that it’s absolutely OK to have the home all to yourself is a vital step towards success.