Google reports that the search “work from home” received 2.7 million hits in November 2012. A lot of people are looking for advice on how to successfully work from home. I will be the first to tell you it’s not easy but it can be done. I have successfully done this for over a decade.
Since starting my first small business in 2002, I’ve always worked at home with children around. At first, there was just one kid and he attended daycare part-time. Over the next 10 years, we added 3 more to the family ranging in age from 1-12. They were all home all the time because we also homeschooled; it was very challenging.
Here are suggestions for finding 27+ hours a week to work from home.
Schedule your time.
Think about what is going on in your household and when you can set aside time for your business. Here is one potential scenario:
Early mornings: 1.5 hours per weekday = 7.5 hours per week
Be an early bird! One of the most reliable times to work is in the early morning before the family is up and moving. It’s not fun to jump out of a cozy bed and park yourself at your computer, but it is a great way to log some significant hours.
Naptime: 1-2 hours per day (or more)
Depending on the ages of your kids, you may have several hours during day when they are sleeping. This time is golden! Don’t use it to surf the internet or cook dinner. Do that stuff later. Naptime is the second best time to schedule work. Unfortunately, it’s not always reliable so you may need to be flexible with what you plan to do during this time.
(Naptime alternative) Quiet time: 1-2 hours per day
If your kids have outgrown their naps, schedule a time for them to rest or play quietly alone during the afternoon. We still have this in my house and everyone benefits from it.
Babysitter / Babysitting swap: 4 hours once a week
I find that a nice big block of time once a week is really helpful in getting larger projects or more strategic planning done. Also, having another person responsible for the kids on a regular basis allows you to get more focused on your work without having to deal with interruptions. You may even find it helpful to go to a coffee shop or the library to work during this time to completely avoid all distraction. I utilized this option so much that one of my boys actually thought I worked for the library because I kept going to the library to work.
Evenings: ½ hour before bed = 2.5 hours a week
Unless you are a night owl, evening isn’t a great time to get a lot of intense work done, but it can be a great time for answering emails or doing some research or quick planning for the next day. Grab your laptop and snuggle up to your husband while he watches TV or reads a book and you’ll feel connected even while you get a few last minute things done.
Saturday morning: 3 hours
See if your husband or another relative is willing to cover for you for a few hours on Saturdays for an additional block of work time.
If you utilized all these options, you would have up to 27 hours a week to work!
Even if you only fit in half of this time, it’s still a lot of productive time. And it still leaves plenty of time to take care of your family and your house.
Of course your situation won’t be the same as this one. Maybe your baby never sleeps (try a baby carrier) or you are a single mom with no relatives to help out (can you trade childcare with another mom?). If you get creative with your plan, I’ll bet you can identify times during your week when you can make the time.
Once you have your schedule planned out, make sure to follow these two work at home rules: plan your work in advance and protect your working time.