Working from home can be challenging for the most devoted mom, but add in kids and the potential for problems is increased a thousand fold. Spending time with your kids is of course the entire reason you want to work from home, so preparing for issues that may arise is essential. Organizing your work area, and finding ways to involve your children will help your day go smoothly.

Setting Up Your Office

Whether you are just starting the search for a work at home job, or you’ve been working from home for years now, your office space can probably be spruced up. It doesn’t matter if you have a separate office or plan on working from the dining room table, you need to be organized to make the most of your time. Make a list of the things you will need to use throughout the day, from pens and notebooks, to calculators and phones. Now think about where you need these items to be placed in order to reach them without interrupting your work. Baskets, mugs, and drawers can help you hide things while keeping them in easy reach. If you are running a business with a lot of products you’ll have to consider shelves or other systems to sort and group items easily.

While you are considering the items and space you need to create for your work area, don’t forget to design around the activities your children will be doing while you are working. A small table beside you, or in your line of vision is great for toddlers, while you may want space for a bouncer for a baby. A small shelf area with toys, crayons or craft supplies will help keep them engaged while you complete projects.

Emergency Toys

No matter how organized you are, and what type of space you’ve put together for your children, there will come a time when you really need them to be occupied and they just aren’t interested in their current toys. Keeping an emergency stash with items they’ve never seen before is a great way to redirect their attention long enough for you to finish that phone call or writing deadline. The dollar store is a great place to buy small inexpensive toys.

The Egg Timer

Children are wonderful little beings, but they don’t really have a concept of time. When you ask them to be quiet so you can finish a phone call, they don’t understand how long that will take. Introducing an egg timer will help your little one stay focused as well as yourself. Start with 1-3 minutes and work your way up to 15-20 over a couple of weeks.
If you begin the egg timer training when you don’t have anything important to do the results will be better. Once the kids understand how it works you can put it into actual practice. Start the timer by saying how long you need them to entertain themselves and be extra quiet, give them a project to do or suggest a toy, and as soon as the timer dings make sure you praise them and give them a hug so they enjoy the process.

Get the Kids Involved in Organizing

Keeping your office area organized as well as the kids play area can seem daunting. Kids want to help out, and if you make the organizing time fun they’ll be even more excited. Set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of your day and bring out the egg timer again. Tell the kids it’s a race to see who can pick up the most toys by the time the timer goes off. While the kids are taking care of their area you can put your own items away or create your to do list for the next day.

Guest Post By: ClutterGeeks