My Biggest Work at Home Challenges
One thing I tell people who want to work from home over and over is that it’s not always easy. That’s because it isn’t, of course, despite what the home business opportunities tell you. Most of us are going to have to work really hard to work at home successfully. Today I decided to share some of the things that I find make working at home challenging.
Kids. I have three of them, and they all provide challenges in their own way. The two oldest have the usual sibling arguments, which can get loud at times. Even if I don’t interfere directly, the noise is a distraction. They also have homework, and sometimes need help with it.
Add in soccer practices for my son and art class for my oldest daughter. My husband and I alternate taking them to activities so that the entire load isn’t on either of us. These activities make for somewhat rushed evenings, as the kids are better off eating dinner before their activities, especially my son as soccer takes a lot of energy. That means dinner ready a half hour to an hour earlier than usual.
My youngest doesn’t go to school yet, but she’s very determined to be right by me much of the day. The time the other two spend in school isn’t all that quiet because there’s just one kid to take care of, and she wants a lot of it. If I spend too much time on my laptop, she starts telling me to move it so that she can sit on my lap. She’s only three, but most days she does not nap, and if she does, it’s usually after her siblings are home, so I wouldn’t call it quiet working time. How I miss when she took naps earlier in the day.
We make sure to take some family time every week. Theoretically, my husband gives me one day each weekend where he does most of what the kids need and I work quietly on my business. In reality, it only works that way some of the time. That part gets really frustrating, but we try to make it work when possible.
I don’t entirely mind that because family time is important. That’s why I only allow for one work day each weekend. If it has been a rough week in terms of productivity, I really hate having so little time, but I consider the balance more important.
It gets harder if the family time involves going off to see family elsewhere for the whole weekend. Laptop and WiFi or no, it’s just a lot harder to work while visiting other family members.
Still, family time has to be a priority or it wouldn’t happen enough. My husband and I try to pick an adventure for our family to do once a month, so it’s not all sitting around the house. It can be as simple as playing all day in the snow, or as involved as taking the train to Los Angeles to get somewhere interesting.
I’ll admit it, sometimes I get sucked into one online game or another, and play way too much of it for a couple weeks. They’re really, really bad for my productivity and I know it. They’re fun, of course, and sometimes my kids like to share in the games, talk strategies and so forth.
Other Online Distractions
Facebook and email aren’t my biggest online distractions. Reading articles is. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and remembering to stop reading and start working isn’t always easy. There’s always just one more interesting link to follow….
I volunteer a lot at my kids’ school. This year I’m reading with the kids in my son’s first grade class. At about an hour and a half a day, 3-4 days a week, it really eats up the time.
I really enjoy this, however. It’s a different activity, a focus on something different. It has made a big difference for some of the kids who really needed help with reading, which is great to see. It’s also good for my youngest. I call it her “preschool in miniature” as she gets time with other kids, hears a lot of stories, and learns a bit about how to behave at school. Work time lost or no, it’s worth it too.
I don’t keep anywhere near a perfect house, but even a somewhat messy house takes a lot of care, especially since I cook most meals on my own. Thank goodness the kids handle some chores and my oldest is learning a little bit about cooking. Having the kids do it isn’t always faster or easier, but it’s very necessary.
Still, three kids can make an incredible mess very quickly if you don’t keep on top of it. I usually don’t, so cleaning up is not that quick much of the time.
Despite the problems, most of my distractions aren’t things I’d give up easily. Certainly not time with the kids and other family members. Certainly not cooking meals for my family or letting my kids join a small number of activities they enjoy.
Other things I definitely would do better if I had better control of them. The extra online stuff is definitely an area I could control a lot better many days. Sometimes I do a bit better than others by remembering to comment on blog posts I read, so that at least I get a link to my site, but I really don’t do enough of that for the time spent, and I know it.
What are your work at home challenges, and how do you cope?