Although many might debate that working at home is far more easy for working mothers. Nonetheless, the job has its own share of challenges. This complication arises manifold, especially with unpredictable children, who suddenly turn exploitative and manipulative with their demands at peak work hours.
If I had to do a “SWOT” analysis, the job has more pros for sure. Yet there are days when the cons seem to weigh down more than the former. There would be days when my seemingly innocent toddler would wreak havoc and ensure that the mother is kept away from her laptop by hook or crook. If unprepared, this would often lead to mismanagement of work, unfulfilled deadlines and a flabbergasted, harrowed looking ‘me’.
However, certain changes in my work plan along with some child-proof back up plans helped in keeping both me and my child stay focused and ‘at work’. To help all those woebegone ladies, who are ‘working-at-home’, and find it challenging with a toddler, I have tried to frame a few pointers to help them ease the pressure.
- Organize beforehand:-Organizing is the key to meet deadlines and meet all the deviations associated with it. Prepare a flowchart the night before for every piece of work associated with work, baby and the household chores. Break an hour wise chart for allocating the same. This helps as one is able to meet the demands in a step-by-step basis. Also fixing a regular timeline for your work, allows you to focus on your office work alone, with minimum distractions.
- There is no shame in delegating work: -Work-from-home is simply working for solid few hours, but at a more comfortable location, your home. Many people don’t understand as to why you need to delegate work when you are at 24*7, only you know, it requires a lot of dedication and concentration to work in a non-formal setup like home. The ‘n’ number of distractions pose a bigger threat in productivity levels than anything else. In such case, it’s wise to allocate or delegate work related to household work or the baby sitting during those allocated ‘work hours’ to someone. This minimizes distractions and allows you to focus on your work solely.
- Design hours of the day: – Right from the moment, you are up, you need to plan and design your hours. From doing all high priority work like the household and baby work, before starting the office work, to planning your hours’, post unwinding the day, plan everything. For instance, on weekends, trying and putting your child to sleep on time, always helps you get that extra hour, which sometimes is a lot for either wrapping up that pending work or for meeting that hobby for a work-at-home mom.
- Dress for the role: – An informal setup like home often is difficult to generate that professionally motivating vibe. To combat that feeling of solitary work, its best if we could add some seriousness to the ambiance, by way of dressing well for the role. You need not dress up in a sari, but staying casually dressed in pajamas often leads to lazing around at work and therefore dropping our productivity levels. Dress reasonably well to feel ‘at-work’!
- Set clear boundaries: – “Work-from-home” is no mean feat for working mothers. It doesn’t matter if our immediate surroundings get the message or not. As long as we are able to take in the severity of the situation by taking our work seriously, it’ll be sufficient. Hence, set clear boundaries for your work. Entertaining guests, handling kids to even doing anything household should be firmly and strictly kept for pre or post “work” hours (unless your house is on fire). Setting clear boundaries keeps you stay serious and dedicated to your job lady!
- Stay focused: – Now chatting on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t account for work, even if you are on your laptop. Hence, steer clear of social media while at work. Sometimes, installing apps which keep your social media blocked for a few hours at work also help. This will help you stay away from all those internet distractions and hookups, while keeping you focused at work.
- Create a play corner for your kid: – Sometimes children start throwing tantrums at the time of work, so its best if you can make a play corner for them. Make sure you create this at the time of your work. This will help your kid relate it to your work and he will keep himself engaged eventually and will disturb you less. Be it his favorite set of toy cars, blocks or books, to even his favorite food, make sure you incorporate all.
- Remember the reason: – Your work is as much an integral part of you as your child and house. Hence, staying dedicated to work with a reason, just like you do with everything else, will help you stay on track and help you work towards it for a reason!
Also sometimes, working in solitude leads to lack of motivation towards the work. Hence, working on your ambiance, like your work station can sometimes also add to the seriousness at work. Meeting clients or visiting office colleagues to discuss ideas, also helps in building the right amount of momentum at work, not to mention some amount of peer-pressure, which adds to the productivity levels. Work-from-home has its own perks and to help them look more beneficial, its crucial to ward off distractions by way of these tips. If you are also a work-at-home mother like me, let me know if I missed out on any crucial tip.