How To Integrate Your Location Independent Home And Business Life
One of the perks of having a location independent business is the ability to spend more time with your kids than someone who has to go to an office every day. But how feasible is it really to combine child care with a home-based, location independent business?
One of the main issues is that you are trying to handle two competing sets of needs. Whether your child is a baby, toddler or even older, what your child most needs is your attention.
Many of the best location independent careers are creative and this means you often need time, concentration and optimal working conditions to be able to focus your attention on your job.
But how do you balance the two? Here are some strategies that might work…
Separate work time and play time
One way to manage this is to make a rigid separation between work time and play time. In order to do this you could try things like:
- Let your clients know exactly when you will be available, by posting office times on your website and in your email signature
- Let your child know what hours you will be working
- Blocking out time for both work and play in your weekly calendar
Real life example: When my daughter was a baby, I was able to arrange my work around her naps because she napped for a long time. As she grew older, I arranged for her to have two days a week in childcare and I worked only on those days. When she went to school, I had a more traditional working week, set between the times she left for school and returned from it.
Bring your child into your home office
This strategy isn’t for everyone, but if you have good concentration skills, then you can create a play area for your child inside your home office. A travel cot or playpen with some toys and books makes a good play area for a younger child, while with an older child you can designate play space with a mat.
Even older children with their own computer can play educational games while you are working. The advantage is that you can keep an eye on what your children are doing and give them some attention (which they love) while continuing to get your work done. This isn’t always easy, as children have a way of demanding even more attention than you are able to give, but it’s a good compromise.
Real life example: Now that my daughter is older, we sometimes play games which involve me being at the office. I can continue to work, while stopping every so often to contribute something to the game.
Get your children to help
Children love to do grown-up jobs, so if they are old enough, why not get them to help you with your work?
Our children have grown up with the technology some of us are still getting used to, so depending on their interests you can get them to help you with creating videos, populating databases or doing some basic research to help you with a project. This is the best of both worlds. Your children are under your nose, getting work experience and getting your attention – a win-win situation.
Real life example: a writer and search engine marketer home schooled both of her children until they were in their mid teens. She had a large home office, where the children had desks and computers. Because of their skills, they were able to help her with creating a new website and integrating social media.
These strategies can help you balance business and family life as a location independent parent. While your children may moan at times because you are ‘always working’ – at least when they want you – they will soon come to realise the advantages of having you at home and on call more than the traditional office worker, as well as the other advantages of the location independent lifestyle.
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