Last Updated June 1st, 2018

11 Ways To Prepare To Work At Home Over The Summer

11 Ways To Prepare To Work At Home Over The Summer

School getting out for the summer presents some challenges for work at home parents. Suddenly the kids are home all day and want to do things with you. This makes it really difficult to work sometimes, while still being the mom or dad you want to be. It’s time to make plans and prepare to work at home over the summer so that you can continue to be productive.

1. Review your work routine.

Taking a look at your work routine is an important part of preparing to work at home over the summer. Is it going to work for you with the kids at home? If you’re used to getting all your work done when they’re at school, for example, how will you cope when the kids are home all day? When will be the best time for you to work now? How will you keep up with what needs doing?

Working at home during the summer often takes a bit more flexibility than when the kids are at school. Be prepared and think about what’s about to happen in your daily life.

If necessary, work more when the kids are sleeping. Pick late evening or early morning, whichever you prefer, and focus on work when the kids are in bed. Working when your spouse is home and able to be in charge of the kids can also help. Use daycare if that’s what it takes.

2. Talk to your kids about your work needs.

Hopefully, your kids are used to you working at home if you’ve been doing it a while. Even so, it’s a good idea to remind them that during the summer you still need to work even if they’re on vacation.

If you’re planning set work hours and a set location in the house, let them know about it and explain that they aren’t to bother you unnecessarily when you’re working. Lay down some rules so they know when they can interrupt. They may not get it perfect, being kids and all, but it should help.

This shouldn’t be much of a problem with older kids but can be challenging with younger ones. Your younger children may need more attention than you can afford with your work at home requirements. Consider if daycare is necessary. It can be better for all of you. Do what’s necessary to have a productive work at home day.

3. Encourage age and location appropriate independence.

climbing rocksI’m a big believer in encouraging my kids to do things on their own. When my kids were young, they could play out back on their own. They’re old enough now that they can play out front, ride their bikes around the neighborhood, or even go to the store for a treat on their own. The youngest can’t go to the store yet on her own, but with the prospect of getting some candy or ice cream, it’s easy for her to get a sibling to take her when she wants to go.

These are privileges they’ve earned. They’ve shown they’re capable, and it’s a generally safe neighborhood. They also have rules about how they can play on the computer and know the consequences of breaking the rules.

Children need time to play independently. They do not need their parents participating in everything they do. Participate some of the time, absolutely, that’s just fun, but remember how much fun you had just being a kid with your siblings and friends, and let your kids do likewise. Hopefully without getting into too much trouble. After all, if they’re happily playing you should be able to get some of your own stuff done.

4. Encourage outdoor play.

Summer’s hot, and sometimes it’s hard to get the kids to play outside. They’re too used to air conditioned buildings. But outside play is healthy and should be normal. Think about how much of the summer you spent outside as a child, despite the heat.

I usually push for my kids to go play outside first thing in the morning. The sun’s rays aren’t quite so strong then, it’s cooler, and they have energy. Sunscreen is still a generally good choice.

There are a lot of things you can do to encourage outside play. When my kids were younger, we would walk to the playground in the morning. That got the urge to go there handled at a time of day we all could stand. The walk would also tire them out a little, as it was over a mile and mostly uphill. Funny thing, no matter how tired they were on the walk, they always had plenty of energy for the playground itself.

Make sure you set up a lot of ways for your kids to play outside at home.  If you have a sandbox, make sure you have some great toys for it. A cover is also a good idea to keep any local cats from using it as a litterbox. If you keep your sandbox in a shady area, it can be used for much of the day.

diving

A Slip ‘n Slide, sprinklers, water guns and other water toys also help get kids outside and playing. Most of these won’t cost all that much money. Water play is the perfect way to get kids to outside and play no matter how hot it is. If you have a swimming pool or easy access to one, so much the better.

You may also want to set up a screen time rule for the summer. Have your kids play outside before they can watch TV or use other devices. No heavy buildups of screen time with the promise to go outside “soon” either. No carryovers to the next day. This rule keeps them wanting to play outside earlier in the day, with the promise of being allowed to relax indoors when the day is at its hottest.

One trick my kids tried early on was to each claim screen time separately, and watch the shows someone else had picked. They soon found out that it didn’t matter who picked out the show – if you watch it, the time counts as your screen time.

5. Know where their friends live.

You really want to know where your kids’ friends live, especially the ones who will be home during the day. That way, you can encourage them to all play together at one house or another. Don’t be the parent always sending your kids to someone else’s house; take your turn. Kids with friends over are usually too busy playing with friends to bother you other than for the occasional snack or when an argument breaks out. Hopefully, that’s less often than when your kids are home with just you.

If you’re lucky, your kids will have some friends within walking distance. That’s not something my kids have had often, but it’s such a help when friends have been that close to us.

Of course, the time it takes to drop kids off with a friend can be worth it if you get more work time.

6. Get the kids out of the house without you if possible.

When my kids were younger, we lived close enough to grandparents that we could send the kids off to see them. It was a huge help. These days, I have to come up with other plans.

While we don’t live close enough for daytime visits to grandparents, we sometimes send the kids to spend several days with them. This works pretty well, although the planning is difficult at times.

One alternative is to look at local day camps if that’s in your budget. While these can add up fast, it’s one way to get the kids out, doing something fun and still giving yourself the day to work. The big question is whether it will be worth it financially. Many camps are expensive. Of course, the kids will enjoy the experience as well if you choose the right camp.

As they get older, of course, expect your kids to do things on their own in the local area without you. It’s good practice for when they head out on their own.

7. Have craft projects available.

kids painting

Most kids love to do crafts, so have the materials for their favorites readily available. My youngest loves to paint, for example, so her supplies are often just right there on her table, although the water for rinsing the brush doesn’t stay out too much.

We keep better craft supplies for the older kids, as well as a soldering kit and other challenging activities. The craft supplies you need will depend on age. The older they get, the better quality the paints we get for them.

Make sure your kids understand the safety rules for crafting as necessary. My kids are allowed to use a glue gun, for example, and that gets very hot. They know that they can get burned by it and that if they ever leave it plugged in after use, they will lose all use of it.

Crafting sometimes means allowing them to use a computer, phone or tablet to look up ideas or instructions. So long as that’s what they’re doing, I allow it. Our screen time limits aren’t meant to limit their access to information, after all. They’re meant to limit the time spent sitting, staring at a screen and doing nothing else.

8. Be ready for “I’m bored!”

There are many ways to cope with kids who announce that they’re bored. For the most part, it’s a good idea to tell them to go figure out something to do. This is especially important when you need to work.

Children need to learn to entertain themselves, especially without staring at a screen. If you always give them ideas for what to do, they will keep relying on you for that rather than using their own creativity. The whole point of having a lot of things available to them is so that your kids can find things to do when they’re bored.

But there are times when it’s easier to give them ideas. That doesn’t mean your kids will like your ideas. My own favorite is to suggest a chore that needs doing, as there are always chores that need doing. Kids will usually think of something else they’d rather do, really fast. If not, the chore gets done, and the kid learns to not complain too often about being bored. That said…

9. Have kids do daily chores.

When school’s out, there’s no reason for kids to not help out more around the house. During the school year, chores depend on time left over after homework is done. If homework is heavy, there are fewer kid chores to be done.

During the summer, there’s no such excuse, and kids need to do chores so they can learn to cope with all the things a home needs to be done. Decide what’s age appropriate for your kids.

We have some chores that must be completed on certain days. Dishes are daily, of course. Some of their assignments alternate weekly, so the same person isn’t responsible for the same job all of the time. This keeps away arguments over whose chore list is the hardest. I found that alternating weeks saved arguments over alternating days. It’s amazing how easy it is to lose track of who did what when it changes daily. Change it weekly, and everyone knows who’s on duty. Keep it age appropriate, of course.

My kids get assigned weeks to either help make dinner or make it entirely on their own, depending on skill level. The kid on duty also has to help with the grocery shopping, with the oldest being responsible for planning almost the entire list. They also get to plan one dessert a week, which they really enjoy.

10. Plan.

Solid planning can help make a great summer for your family while still giving you time to work at home.

Start out with the things you absolutely must get done, such as the work time you need. Add in planned family vacations. Then take a look at the most important things you want to add in.

I insist on swimming lessons for my kids until they reach a high enough level, for example. While we don’t have a pool, another family member does, as do some friends. The ability to swim is a safety issue and a major part of water safety. You may have other activities for your kids that you consider a priority.

On the fun side, my youngest loves to go to Movies In The Park, a local event where they show a popular movie at the park one night a week. It’s great fun, and we make plans to meet with friends there so the kids can play before the movie.

Libraries may also have fun activities for the summer. Our local library has reading challenges as well as special events. The kids have been able to meet interesting animals there, watched magic shows and more.

carousel

11. Be spontaneous.

If your work schedule allows it, take the time to be spontaneous. Go to the water park on a really hot day. Play tag with the kids. Accept that invitation from a friend. Make a special treat. Have fun during your workday when possible..

It won’t always be possible to be spontaneous. That’s what happens when you work at home over the summer. You have responsibilities. Take care of those, and make time for fun when you can.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 22nd, 2018

30+ Ideas For Working at Home

30+ Ideas For Working at Home

I often hear from people who want to work at home, and that’s as far as they’ve gotten with it. They seem to want me to tell them what to do. Know what? I can’t do that. I don’t know what kind of work at home job or home business is right for a particular person. That’s your problem. You need to think it out, look at your skills and interests, and start researching the possibilities. Once you’re there, I can probably give some better tips. Just get those first ideas for working at home, and you’ve got a start.

With all that said, here are some ideas to perhaps get you going. Maybe one of these ideas for working at home will help you. It’s not a comprehensive list of work at home ideas, but it’s a start. Oh, and yes, there will be affiliate links in the post here, but it’s potential value to readers that gets links in this post, not whether or not I get paid. There will be non-affiliate links too, in other words.

Work at Home Jobs

As always, don’t pay for a work at home job. Sometimes you may legitimately have to pay for a background check, but look into the opportunity before you do so, as that’s always a risky proposition.

You may need to get training on your own for some of these jobs as well. The training isn’t done with the employer – you have to attend classes at a school or find a good online course. You have a lot of options now to gain the skills you need for the job you want.

Data Entry

Data entry is one of the classics lots of people look at when they want to work at home. It sounds easy, and you can find lots of ads promising you big bucks for filling in simple forms.

The reality of this one isn’t quite so simple. There are indeed true work at home data entry jobs out there, but they don’t pay the big bucks, and they’re on the scarce side. I have some companies listed here on this site, but no idea who’s hiring at any point (as with all other work at home job opportunities) so don’t ask me. You may do better with one of the freelance sites, taking on an individual, usually short term assignment.

If the “job” is filling out ad forms for affiliate commissions, get better advice. Affiliate marketing is great when it works, but it’s not a job and it’s not that easy to make a living at it for most people. At the very least, there’s a tough learning curve and if you’re doing pay per click ads it can get really, really expensive before you master it.

There are better alternatives out there if you think data entry is the one work at home skill you have. You can do more than you think if you give yourself the chance. You need to look at more ideas for working at home.

Customer Service/Telemarketing

Customer service is one of the other hugely popular work at home jobs right now. It doesn’t take a lot of special skills, so many people feel comfortable trying for customer service work at home jobs. You need a completely quiet place to work, a desktop computer compatible with requirements set by potential employers (usually Windows of a reasonably recent sort), a high speed internet connection, a landline telephone, and a good quality, noise cancelling headset telephone that connects directly to the wall outlet (no wireless).

The need for quiet makes customer service a challenging job to do at home with children. Kids aren’t always quiet when you need them to be. Neither are pets. Sometimes even your spouse can be difficult, not to mention the folks mowing their lawn across the street. That’s why you must have a headset telephone that cancels out most background noises.

Medical Coding

If you want to do medical coding from home, you will need training and experience. That’s an absolute. I have yet to see any employers that will train you on the job from home. Once you have that, however, there are some excellent work at home medical coding opportunities out there.

Medical Transcription

Medical transcription is where I got my start working at home. I still cautiously recommend medical transcription, but it’s getting trickier as times change. Electronic medical records have really changed some parts, and you have to be prepared for that. That said, there are still jobs out there. Just remember that you have to get a good quality medical transcription education first, and make sure it prepares you for the current situation.

Legal or General Transcription

Legal and general transcription may be options as well for those who type well. While it is possible to get into general transcription without training if you’re sufficiently determined, I strongly suggest you take the free course from Transcribe Anywhere to get a feeling for what’s required.

You will almost certainly want training for legal transcription. Transcribe Anywhere has a course for legal transcription, including a free mini course so you can decide if that’s what you want to do before spending any money on it.

Transcription is a great alternative for working at home. I think it’s a much better choice than data entry, and there are far more jobs in transcription at home than data entry in my experience.

Bookkeeper/Accountant

Lots of people and companies need a good bookkeeper or accountant. If you have the skills, you can take it home. You may need to meet with clients in person at times, but much of the work may be done at home.

Tax season is a very busy time for bookkeepers and accountants, of course. You’ll need to consider how many clients you can handle even when they all need help around the same time.

Computer Programmer/Software Developer

My oldest sister used to do computer programming from home. I know it’s entirely possible, even though she eventually decided it wasn’t for her. You have to have the skills already, but if you’re a programmer, you don’t necessarily have to go to the office anymore. You can find a company that lets employees work from home instead.

Teacher

Not all teachers work at school. There are charter virtual schools which hire teachers to work primarily from their homes. Meetings with students and parents may be required, but the bulk of the work can be done from your home. In most programs, you do need a teaching credential for this work.

Online Tutor

If you don’t want to go all the way to being a teacher, there are also companies which hire online tutors. You may still need that teaching credential, however. There are a number of companies, however, that do not require a teaching credential for their tutors. Read the job description and requirements carefully so that you only apply for jobs that you’re qualified for. You’re only wasting time if you apply for jobs you aren’t qualified for.

Translator Or Interpreter

It’s a big world out there, and sometimes a translator or interpreter is needed to get through it all. Translators can work from home for a particular business or service, or strike out on their own as a freelancer. You will need to be fluent in both languages you deal with as a translator.

Many interpreters work from home over the phone. You’ll want a good setup so that you can hear clearly and be heard clearly. You might be interpreting between a patient and doctor, for example, and it’s very important to get things right.

Mystery Shopper

Most mystery shoppers don’t earn all that much, but the pay per job can be decent if it’s close enough to your home. It’s a nice way to get out of the house while earning some money. Be aware of the many scams in the mystery shopping arena and make sure you deal with reputable companies. Some people do fairly well, but it takes time to get to where you earn good money.

Health Care

Nurses may be able to work from home answering health related questions on the phone. Nurses can also do case management from home. Most positions require that you be a registered nurse in the state you reside in.

Technical Support

Technical support can be like a customer service position in some ways, except you’re dealing with much more technical information. The pay can be better. Some technical support jobs require a college degree or certification.

Be prepared to deal with problems ranging from the simple to the complex. People call tech support for many reasons, and some of them will have very little understanding of what you need them to do to help solve the problem.

Website Developer

Do you enjoy creating websites? Know your HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and so forth? You may be able to set up a business developing websites for other businesses or find a work at home job as a website developer.

This is one option that many people do a lot of their marketing locally. Not all small, local businesses have websites and may be very interested in having one developed for them. It’s a highly affordable marketing tool, even after the expense of the website.

Graphic Designer

Whether you’re creating a logo for a website or a photo spread for a magazine, graphic designers don’t necessarily have to work from a big office. You can do quite a bit of this on your own for clients or be a work at home graphic designer for a company.

Alternatively, make great designs and sell them on TeepublicCafePressZazzle, or many other websites.

Virtual Assistant

Good at doing things around the office, like handling emails, appointment setting, data entry, online research and so forth? There’s pretty good demand for virtual assistants who can handle a variety of business tasks. Take this course if you want to learn how to be a successful virtual assistant quickly.

Photographer

If you love taking photographs, you can make the most of that by becoming a photographer. You’ll need to develop a good portfolio, and it’s often best to specialize. Some prefer being a wedding photographer while others prefer family photos, for example. Certainly, you can do a few different types of photography, but it may be easier to build a reputation if there’s one you really specialize in.

You don’t have to just take pictures for sale to a particular client. You can also take photos and put them up for sale on stock photography websites. The income from these may be small per sale, but it can build up if you provide an interesting, useful selection of photographs.

Writer

There are lots of opportunities out there for writers, whether you want to be a freelance writer or work for a single employer. There’s also a lot of competition because so many people want to work as writers. You have to find a way to stand out.

It’s a good idea to specialize as a writer. Consider your experience to figure out what areas are best for you to specialize in. You can write articles, ebooks, reports, resumes, and much more. You may want to consider this course, 30 Days To Freelance Writing Success, to get things moving.

Marketing

Ever look at the copy on a sales page and pick apart just how they convince visitors to buy? Are you a convincing writer yourself? You may do well running your own website selling products or you can do marketing for others. A great copywriter can earn very good money.

Social Media Marketer

Just how much of a chatterbox are you on Twitter, Facebook, and other social websites? Are you always finding the great links to share? You may do well marketing other people’s businesses on social media for them. You can be a social media marketer as a regular job, freelance and help several companies with their social media marketing, or use it as a strategy to promote your own online business.

Drive

Driving isn’t working at home as such, but if you don’t need to do everything at home, you can work for Lyft or Uber as a driver. These work if flexibility is your goal and you don’t have to be at home all of the time.

Freelance Websites

This is where the plus in the article title comes from. Just about any job you can do at home, you can find through a freelance website. They’re great for building a portfolio or resume when you’re just getting started, and you can make a living just through freelancing when you’re good at it.

Many freelance websites have you create a profile, then you bid on jobs. Don’t obsess over being the lowest bidder all the time. You don’t want the jobs that don’t pay what you’re worth; they’re reputed to be the most difficult customers because they want so much for less.

Here are a few websites you can check out for freelance job listings. Some are the bidding sort, others are set up other ways. You may need to work at the office at least part of the time for some freelance jobs, but many can be done entirely from home.

Guru
Craigslist (beware of scams)
Upwork
People Per Hour
Freelancer.com
Hire My Mom
Home Job Stop
iFreelance
Toptal
Freelance Writing Jobs

And many more, just do a search with your favorite search engine.

If all you put down for your skills are common things such as writing skills, you’ll have a lot of trouble finding jobs. Some freelance sites won’t accept you with skills that are too common, as they have too many people bidding on those jobs already. Give some real thought to how you apply to freelance sites as well as your portfolio. It’s a good idea to have an online portfolio outside of the freelance sites so more potential clients can find you and review your work. Starting a blog can help you put your skills on display.

Home Business Ideas

There are a ton of possibilities when it comes to running a home business. Strictly speaking, freelancing is a home business too, but many people think of them separately, and so I’m treating them separately.

Now, you can combine a few things to make your home business work its best. You can have a blog, do affiliate marketing, and have an email list that you send special offers out to. You can have your own product and do affiliate marketing at the same time. These things aren’t exclusive; just make sure you learn to do each part before you add on another thing. Taking on too much at once with a business makes it easier to fail.

Affiliate Marketing

This is just one form of online business. There are several other models, but affiliate marketing appeals to a lot of people. No worries about taking payments, dealing with inventory or shipping products – it just sounds easy.

As with any other home business, there’s quite a learning curve, and many affiliate marketers make under $100 per month, from what I’ve read. In other words, don’t assume you’ll make a fortune, no matter what the promos say. One way or another, you have to learn to market, whether it’s online, offline, social media, pay per click, buying ads on other websites or creating your own.

On the other hand, you can market just about any product you can think of. Affiliate marketing is great if you want to run a website about your hobby – just refer people to sites that sell the things necessary for the hobby and will give you a commission. Make sure you keep your recommendations honest – there’s no quicker way to lose a reputation than to recommend junk.

I suggest taking an online affiliate marketing course to get going. It’s not quite as simple as throwing a few links on a page or into your social media stream, believe me! You’ll earn more as an affiliate if you know what you’re doing.

Blogging

There are lots and lots of bloggers out there now. It’s a popular home business model. Affiliate marketing can be a part of it, but you can also sell ad space, get paid directly to promote products or use it to build upon another part of your business.

Most bloggers won’t hit it big. It should be obvious that we can’t all be big name bloggers, but with all the dreams people have about their home businesses, I think it bears mentioning. Keep working on your blog, and you get a decent following and earn a good living, if not the spectacular money some bloggers earn. It doesn’t cost a lot to start a blog, making it worth the effort.

Email Marketing

Nope, email isn’t dead. It’s not even suffering too badly. Just because a lot of people enjoy reading blogs and receive posts through an RSS reader, or keep up with things on Facebook doesn’t mean they don’t use email anymore. It’s still pretty strong.

There are a lot of rules to follow as an email marketer. Don’t buy a list. That’s a great way to get in trouble for spamming. Don’t just send emails from your home computer either. Most ISPs really don’t like that, and may limit how many you send, plus if you get accused of spamming, you can lose your entire internet connection.

It’s much better to go with a service such as Aweber or Get Response. They provide the HTML for your subscription forms, handle spam complaints and unsubscribes, and so forth. The main thing you do is write and send out your emails, and work on attracting people to your list legitimately. Keep it legit, as either company will terminate any account they feel is getting subscribers the wrong way.

Make Videos

Video marketing is usually a portion of your overall business. Unless you get a lot of views, you aren’t going to earn a living from your videos without selling something, whether you do so as an affiliate or sell a product of your own creation. Sufficiently popular videos may also earn an income from ads placed on the video. YouTube is the popular site for posting videos, of course, but you have to watch out for the rules. Google’s pretty strict, and accounts can be deleted.

Take a little time to learn YouTube marketing to improve your chances of success with YouTube and similar sites. Learning from someone who knows how to get things moving can help you avoid a lot of the mistakes others will make.

Product Creation

The wonderful thing about online marketing is that it’s really easy to make your own product. Ebooks, software and apps can sell very well online, and may not be all that hard to make. You need an idea, then you need to take action to make that product a reality. Then start marketing. As with any other business, it will probably be tough at first, you may fail a few times, but keep at it and you might make it.

Life Coach

Many people enjoy working with a coach to get their career, life or home business running better. If you’ve had some success and enjoy sharing your skills, you may be able to earn a living as a coach. You can take a course to learn how to be a life coach and get your business going.

Daycare Operator

How about going the traditional way? Running a daycare from your home has been around a very long time. The hours are long, the pay may not be great, but you’re with your kids.

Network Marketing

This is another traditional way to earn money from home. From classics such as Mary Kay, Avon and Watkins, to the floods of newer network marketing companies out there, you can have fun selling products to family, friends, referrals and possibly even online.

Sell Crafts

Whether you sell on Etsy, eBay or elsewhere, it’s much easier than it used to be to make crafts and sell them online. There’s lots of competition now, but that means lots of opportunities as well.

Store Owner

You can run your own store selling physical products. You’ll need appropriate licensing for your area, a wholesale source for products, a way to take online payments (Paypal works, but you may want to consider other credit card processors as well), and a website to display your products.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to have the products in your home. Some people prefer to use dropshippers, so as to simplify the shipping process and the inventory. Getting stuck with a bunch of something that didn’t sell is a pain, after all. You’ll still have to deal with customer service issues, store promotion and so forth.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. What types of work at home do you think are worth it?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 14th, 2018

10 Ways To Make Working at Home More Fun

10 Ways To Make Working at Home More Fun

What do you think about when you think about your work at home day? Is it all of the things you need to get done? Do you worry about finishing your to do list? Do you ever think about ways to make working at home more fun?

Most of the people who hear that you work at home won’t think you need to have more fun. After all, you just sit around and watch TV, and some piddly amount of money just appears with no effort on your part, right? Lots of people don’t take what you do seriously and assume you can’t make all that much money from home.

Don’t know about you, but none of that’s true for me. I work hard, watch very little TV (and I’m generally working at the same time), and the money’s pretty darn good most of the time, with some ups and downs. The downs are painful, but the ups are such a delight.

Some days it’s just so hard to get going. Your day just kind of drags, or maybe you’re frustrated that things seem to be staying in one place. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to spice things up a little to help motivate yourself when you work at home. You need to make working at home more fun so that you can be more consistent. Here are some ideas that may help.

Work Someplace Else

If you have a laptop, work in the backyard, take the kids to the playground, just start working someplace you don’t usually. If you don’t have a laptop computer, think of some of your other work that could possibly be done away from your desk. Even if it’s nothing but brainstorming ideas, getting out of your home office can be a lot of fun and actually help your productivity.

There are lots of places you can work when you work at home unless the job has specific restrictions. Customer service jobs, for example, require that there be no background noise. Other jobs may require that you adhere to strict privacy standards, which includes keeping your work in a closed office.

Play Some Music!

No, not the kids’ favorite CDs, something you want to hear. Although there may be something to be said for the right children’s music – I know people who don’t mind singing along to certain Disney movies, for example.

Some people find music with lyrics too distracting. I know my oldest gets quite distracted anytime something from Hamilton comes up on her playlist. If you find this to be a problem for you, go for instrumental music. Spotify has lots of playlists you can enjoy, for just about any musical taste.

play music while you work at home

Take Time For You

If you’re feeling burnt out, taking a break can actually help you to get more work done. Take a walk. Play a game online. Watch a favorite show – nothing too long, but enough to give yourself a break.

You can also work on a hobby. Painting, reading, making jewelry, building things, whatever suits you. Doing something just for yourself can make your work at home day better.

Learn Something New

Come on, what have you been considering learning but haven’t found the time for? Maybe it relates to your work at home job or business or maybe it’s about a hobby, but learning can give you a fresh perspective even if you aren’t learning something specific to your work.

There are all kinds of courses online, through sites such as Udemy and other places. You could also take courses in your local area. Local classes are especially good if you want a little social time or you’re making something with your hands.

Try Something New

What have you always wanted to do with your home business? Give it a try, even if it’s kind of scary. The change will make your day more interesting, even if it’s a complete failure.

If you can’t do something new, change up your routine. Don’t do the same thing day in and day out. If you run a blog, for example, write blog posts one day, work on social media the next, work on other promotion ideas for your site the next, and so on.

work at home fun with kids

Make Time For Your Kids To Make Working At Home More Fun

Young children do much better if you play with them more often. They’ll try harder for your attention if they feel that they haven’t had much lately. Have a little fun with them and they’ll be happier to play on their own later. Hopefully.

Kids require different things from you as they get older. At some ages, they’ll need more help with homework. At other ages, they’ll resist spending time with you except those unpredictable times when they open up. You have to find a balance between your work needs and what your kids need from you when you work at home. Fortunately, it generally makes for a much nicer day when you do so.

Involve Your Kids

They’ll have a lot of fun helping you and you’re making your work more real to them. It’s a great example for your children to learn that there are more possibilities out there than a traditional job.

At some ages, this is more pretend than anything. When my kids were little, I would give them a keyboard to pound on. They thought it was great. To a very young child, pounding on a keyboard looks very much like working on a computer.

As kids get older, they may be able to help you more. Talk out some of your ideas with them. They may give you new ideas in return. They’ll probably also give you some fun nonsense.

When your kids are old enough, you may even want to teach them how to work directly in your home business. They can help schedule social media postings, for example, or take pictures for blog posts.

Make Your Home Office More Comfortable

How comfortable is your home office or workspace? Do you like the decorations? Is your furniture comfortable?

Find things that will make your home office or workspace more comfortable. Have some fun with the decorations. Get some brainstorming tools, whether that’s a whiteboard on the wall or notebook on your desk.

Rearrange your office for comfort. Do you want to face the wall, or would you be happier facing the door or a window? It’s your space; make it work for you.

You may also want to consider a sit-stand desk. That’s what I have. It’s wonderful being able to change position during my workday. Possibly it’s healthier too, but there are all kinds of arguments about what’s best.

Enjoy Your Pets

You may sometimes need to distract your cats when you work at home. The same goes for dogs. But other times they’ll provide you with much needed distractions. So long as the cat stays off your keyboard and doesn’t mess with your cords, you may be able to put up with them in your home office. Some will even play fetch with a favorite toy.

Taking your dog for a walk is another way to make working at home more fun. You get outside, get some fresh air and exercise, maybe play with the dog a little, then get back to work. Can your day really be all that bad after having fun with a dog? Sometimes, yes, still that bad, but most times it will make your day at least a little better. Taking advantage of the ability to interact with your pets certainly makes working at home more fun.

Find A Water Cooler

Loneliness is one of the huge problems many people have working at home. It’s really hard to cope when you rarely interact with other adults.

Fortunately, there are tools such as Slack to help you find people to chat with. Seek out Slack communities to join, and you’ll have people to chat with. You can also consider Facebook groups and discussion boards. These can be great places to have those discussions with other people that you might have had at the water cooler in an office.

Don’t let these chats completely ruin your productivity, of course. Consider these sessions a break just as you would take at any other job. They shouldn’t occupy your entire day or keep you from getting your work done. They should give you that mental break of chatting with other adults, even if it’s about work.

Anyone who has worked at home for a significant time knows that working at home isn’t the cakewalk some think it is. You can revive yourself by changing your habits, even if it’s just for a day or two a month. You’re working at home – even in the most routine job, you should be able to find some way to make working at home more fun once in a while.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 2nd, 2018

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas For Work At Home Moms

Mother's Day Gift Ideas For Work At Home Moms

Mother’s Day is a big deal to most mothers. We all love to feel appreciated. It’s a great time to show a work at home mom how much you appreciate and support what she does. These Mother’s Day gift ideas for work at home moms may give you some ideas for what that important work at home mom in your life may appreciate.

Maid Service/A Clean House

Who cares how the house gets clean so long as it gets done? Your budget might care, meaning that cleaning it yourself rather than hiring a maid service may make the most sense. On the other hand, paying someone else to clean it, especially if it can happen regularly, would be much appreciated by most moms.

The key to this gift is getting the house clean without making a fuss for mom to hear. It isn’t nearly as nice a gift if there’s a lot of arguments over who does what.

Sleep

Moms are often tired creatures. This is especially true of working moms, who have to mix the duties of motherhood with their work. This can be extra challenging at home, where the separation between motherhood and work is much less.

This can be a difficult gift to get a work at home mom to accept. We’re as likely to get up early or stay up late when given the chance to get extra sleep. After all, there’s always more work to be done!

Amazon Echo Show

The Echo Show gives mom a screen along with the various wonderful Echo features. This is one more way to keep up on what’s happening during the workday. It can even connect with a Ring doorbell so that work at home moms can see who’s at the door when they’re working. It can connect with other smart devices around the home, making it easier to control things while you work. Dual Dolby speakers give it great sound if mom likes to listen to music while she works.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Do things get noisy in your house when mom is trying to work? I know mine does. Noise cancelling headphones could be a great gift that allows her to focus better on work.

Ring Doorbell

My sister has a Ring doorbell, and I’m so jealous. It’s great for knowing when someone comes to your front door, whether you’re home or not. It’s especially nice for seeing when a package has been dropped at the front door – too many delivery people skip the “ding dong” part of “ding dong ditch.” I hate not knowing when a package has been left outside.

Amazon Prime

phalaenopsis orchidsIf you don’t already have Amazon Prime and tend to order a lot from Amazon, Prime could be a great gift. It’s more than just free shipping, after all. You might get access to Prime Now if it’s available in your area, making grocery delivery a possibility. Prime Pantry can also help with groceries. Add in music and video streaming, and your entertainment options open up.

Office Plants

An office plant makes a home office look much nicer, and may be good for air quality. Find out what she likes, and make sure you take any pets into consideration. Some houseplants are toxic to cats or dogs. I like my phalaenopsis orchids, which are nontoxic to cats and dogs. Best of all, they can be watered with ice cubes, which minimizes the mess and chance of spillage.

Office Decor

Is mom’s work at home space kind of dull? Something to liven it up may be a good Mother’s Day gift. You might find some good wall art, give her a Himalayan salt lamp, or find something else that will give her home office more of a personal touch.

Neck And Shoulder Massager

Working at home all day can lead to neck and shoulder pain. A good neck and shoulder massager can be used to minimize this during the day and can come out of the home office in the evenings if anyone else needs a massage.

Instant Pot

Making dinner as a work at home mom can be a real pain. An Instant Pot can speed up your cook time for a variety of meals. If you promise that mom won’t be the only one to use the Instant Pot to make meals, so much the better.

Recipes The Kids Promise To Cook

What are your kids capable of making in the kitchen? Have each child give mom a recipe that they promise to make, ideally with little to no help from mom. The older the kids are, the more challenging the recipe should be, with kids who are old enough promising to make full meals for the family.

Yoga Set

Yoga can make a great break in the work at home day. It doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment, and there are lots of videos online that mom can use to get a little fitness break in her work at home day.

Equipment Upgrade

What does mom use to work at home? Is any of her equipment getting old? It may be time to upgrade some of it. Take a look around her workspace or ask her if there’s anything in there she needs replaced.

Anything She Needs For Her Home Business

Do you know of something mom wants for her home business but has been hesitating to get? You can give her a nice gift while showing your support for her business if you get something to help her build it.

This could be a training course for a skill she wants to develop or software she needs to make her work easier. There’s always something useful to learn out there.

This Is A Momarchy Shirt

I like this shirt. If your mom rules the house, she may like it too. Sometimes mom is in charge even when she doesn’t want to be at the moment. Is your home a momarchy?

Talk Nerdy To Me Shirt

Nerdy shirts have become a traditional gift for all kinds of holidays in my family. The important thing to know is what her fandoms are. Most of my family especially like the ones that have a subtle sense of humor or a really good crossover. This “Talk Nerdy To Me” shirt goes pretty well in that category.

Dragons

Ok, maybe this is a personal preference. I’m always happy to get a new dragon. Windstone dragons are my favorite, but I have some others I adore, especially my fireplace dragon. She’s beautiful. The hardest part is finding great looking dragons because a lot of companies don’t make them that well at all.

dragon

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated April 23rd, 2018

The Disadvantages Of Flexible Work At Home

The Disadvantages Of Flexible Work At Home

Many people who want to work at home are looking for something flexible. They picture being able to grab the kids from school, hit the gym in the middle of the day, or meeting up with friends. The disadvantages of a flexible work at home job aren’t fully considered. This can lead to problems at work as reality sinks in.

The simple truth of the matter is that even flexible work at home jobs rarely give you complete freedom to work when you want. There will be online meetings scheduled, for example. You may need to coordinate with someone on a project. There will be days when your flexible schedule isn’t so flexible.

Employers that let you work at home with a flexible schedule will have the same requirements of you as those who insist upon a regular schedule. They’re just more relaxed about which hours of the day you get your work done.

Your Employer Isn’t The Biggest Challenge – You Are

The worst of the disadvantages of flexible work at home jobs have much more to do with the employee rather than the employer. To put it simply, it’s hard for many people to keep to an appropriate work routine without a regular schedule.

That’s all on you as a flexible work employee. If you can’t handle the work required without someone else telling you to work certain hours, the job will not work out for you. You must prepare for productive work each day.

A flexible work at home job isn’t like high school or college where you can try to get the whole project done the night before it’s due. It wasn’t a particularly good idea then, but it’s an even worse idea in your job. Most projects at work are far too complicated to be done so quickly.

This is why no matter how flexible the job is, you should give yourself a regular work schedule. Don’t take advantage of the flexibility by working different hours every day unless you have a reason to keep changing. If you don’t work fairly regular hours, it’s much too easy to work too few hours overall.

Employers Aren’t Entirely Off The Hook

Much as the employees create many of their own problems with flexible work at home jobs, many employers create problems as well. They may expect “flexible hours” to mean that employees are available, practically on-call, at any hour. If that wasn’t in the job description, it’s a problem.

A good employer understands that giving employees flexible hours to get their work done doesn’t mean the employees have no lives of their own. To the contrary, employees usually seek out flexible work hours so that they can live their lives while earning a living. Employers must be realistic about how many hours a week they expect employees to work, and how much needs to get done during those hours.

Other employers have difficulty trusting flexible work at home employees. How do they know you’re productive and not goofing off? They need to track what flexible employees are accomplishing so that they know things are going well.

Communication Challenges

All work at home jobs have some communication challenges. It can be difficult keeping everyone up to date when you aren’t talking face to face. Tools such as Slack make this much easier, but it doesn’t suit everyone. Combine that with the many kinds of work at home schedules, and it can be difficult to keep up with each other.

Flexible hours make this into an even bigger disadvantage for people who work at home. Scheduling online meetings that everyone can attend becomes more difficult. You also can’t rely on the person you need to communicate with being available right when you need them.

Good employers will have plenty of options for keeping in contact, no matter how flexible your hours may be. A part of your learning curve may be learning how to keep up with everyone using these tools. Communication within remote teams has improved so much in recent years, but not every employer takes full advantage of the possibilities.

Friends And Family

Your friends and family can create their own disadvantages to your work at home experience, especially if they know your hours are flexible. Many will mistake that for you being available to them at any time.

They might think you’re available to babysit their sick child so they can get to work, or watch for a delivery while they’re at work. You’re home all day – why can’t you help them? Don’t you care???

If you have a flexible work at home job, teach your friends and family that there are limits to that flexibility. You will need to set many of those restrictions yourself. It may take time to teach them to respect your work hours just as much as they would respect the work hours of someone working outside the home.

The Fun Distractions

When you work in an office, coworkers and coffee breaks are acceptable distractions, within reason. When you work at home, there are quite a few more distractions that most people wouldn’t dare pay attention to in the office. Sometimes these may seem like they’re perks of working at home, but they’re as likely to be disadvantages.

Some people like to binge favorite shows on Netflix or other services, for example. It’s easy to get into the habit of streaming a show while you work. What many people don’t realize is how much time they lose to watching their shows rather than focusing on their work.

Kids and pets are fun distractions as well. One of my cats loves to get on my lap if she’s cold. She also sits on my head and chair headrest if she’s playful. It’s pretty distracting sometimes, even when it’s fun. Kids bring in homework questions or just want company.

Have a plan to deal with these fun distractions. Take advantage of your flexible work at home job, for example, and schedule yourself around when the kids may need you.

When you decide to work at a flexible work at home job, make sure that you’re ready to deal with the advantages and the disadvantages, especially the ones you have control over. If you aren’t committed to making the time for your work, the job won’t be a good match for you.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.