As an entrepreneur, you’re likely used to working from home. Whether you run your business full time from your house, an office or co-working space, getting things done from time to time at home probably isn’t foreign.
However, what might be a bit different is having your children with you all day long while working. It can bring a new level of required flexibility and scheduling to be productive while also tending to your children’s needs.
Here are some strategies you can use to make working from home without childcare more manageable.
Develop a Schedule
Before you start mapping out your perfect plan, keep in mind that what you create will be an idea of how you want your day to go. Nothing will be perfect, and you need to go into this process understanding that just because you write it down, it doesn’t mean it will magically happen.
Create The Schedule Together
Everyone living in the house should be involved in developing this schedule. It will vary based on the ages of your children, their needs, your business responsibilities, and if there are other adults present at home. When you create the schedule with everyone involved, you can keep communication open and expectations clear.
Include You and Your Children
When developing your schedule, you want to add what you and your children will be doing during different parts of the day.
- When is breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
- When it is bedtime?
- When will school work be done?
- When will you go outside?
- When can you expect to have uninterrupted working time?
Share Your Schedule
Once you have a general idea of how you expect your day to go, you want to share it with relevant people in your business and personal life.
Update your clients if necessary regarding when they should expect to hear from you. Let your team members know of any schedule changes.
Additionally, let friends and family members know when it’s best to reach out for check-ins and to socialize with you and the kids. This open communication is crucial to making your schedule work.
Prioritize Your Responsibilities
After mapping out your schedule, you should have an idea of how many hours you expect to work every day. Based on this information, be sure to prioritize your tasks to maximize the time you have available.
What you don’t want to do is overschedule yourself; it can cause you to feel more stressed out and less productive. Understand that surprises may happen and can throw off your day; prepare to be flexible.
Having a list of top priorities can help you continue to move the needle in your business, even if things go haywire.
Create a Workspace
When working at home without childcare, it’s helpful to have a space that signals to yourself and others that you’re in work mode. If you have a room for your office or a set office space, great. If not, set up a corner for you or even a spot at the kitchen table for when you’re in the zone.
Your space doesn’t have to be fancy or set up like a traditional office, as long as it has the items you need to get your work done, you should be good to go.
If it’s feasible, consider getting noise-canceling headphones or downloading a focus app to help you improve your productivity throughout the day.
Get Virtual Support
If your children are old enough, consider getting support from friends and family members who can entertain them for periods during the day. Allow them to connect with friends virtually on mobile devices.
As little as 30 minutes of virtual social time for your kids can allow you to focus on getting important tasks accomplished.
For younger kids, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading books, active play(inside or outside) and allowing screen time periodically. Apps like ABC Mouse, Khan Academy, and Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings are fun and educational and can keep little ones busy; do a quick google search for kids educational apps to find one that fits.
Have a Backup Plan
Part of your plan will likely be having activities your children can do that don’t require strict supervision. For younger children, this might be playing in an activity chair, while for school-age children, it might be playing educational games online.
You want to have a backup plan for if and when things go awry.
Have a list of items that you know your children love to do. If your plan doesn’t go well, you can switch to another activity without putting too much thought into it. If you can, have those activities readily available so it doesn’t take too long to switch between them.
Give Yourself Grace
Above all else, you want to remember to give yourself grace when working from home without childcare. Doing so is no small feat. Things might not go as planned every day, but that’s okay! You’re parenting and working simultaneously; you deserve a standing ovation.
Remember, in the midst of it all, practice self-care. Don’t be ashamed to take a few minutes to yourself during the day without tending to your children or working. You have to maintain your mental wellness if you’re going to be the best parent and business owner you can be.
You Can Handle Working From Home Without Childcare
While this might not be the ideal working environment, it is doable. It might take some getting used to and finding the right groove for you and your family; once you do, you’ll thank yourself.
Now might also be the time to consider bringing on help for your business. Whether it’s hiring a freelancer to outsource work to, adding a virtual assistant to your team or onboarding an online business manager (OBM) to help with your day to day operations, additional support can make working from home without childcare more manageable.
As an OBM, I’ve been helping many of my clients who are working without childcare manage additional tasks so their business can continue to operate without a hitch.
If you’re ready to add additional support to your business to help you make it through this time, schedule a time on my calendar to discuss how my OBM services can make working from home without childcare as an entrepreneur easier.