One of the reasons I love my work is the fact that I don’t need to pay for childcare. Everything I do is from home and my daughter is able to play, interact with me and sometimes “help” me write for clients. It took a while to get into a routine with a baby in the house and there are many people who suffer trying to balance their work with children around. Here are my tips on staying on schedule and handling the kids.
Plan with Children in Mind
I plan my day the night before. I take the amount of articles that I have to do and then add them to my diary but I plan with my daughter’s needs in mind. I know when she’ll roughly need a nap, when she will want a bottle and when she just wants to play. My diary has gaps between projects to make sure I spend plenty of time with her, have room for unexpected issues – like a nappy leaking everywhere! – and for myself to take a break from the computer.
Don't Accept Everything that Comes Your Way
The worst thing about freelancing is the uncertainty of not having a client the next day or work the next week. It leads to many people taking on thousands of assignments in a short space of time and then panicking when there isn’t enough time in the day or the little ones decide they want to play instead of letting mummy or daddy work. You don’t have to accept everything and you can request longer deadlines if you need.
Whenever a client sends me a project that needs completing, I consider how long it will take me to complete and then add a day or two onto that. Projects that may only take a day will usually have a deadline of two or three days to counter any problems with the children. Taking on too many will lead to burnout and stress.
Work When You Can
Sometimes the best times to work will be when you think they are the least likely times. I’ve found that while waiting in the car park to pick my partner up from the train station or waiting for my Weight Watchers meeting to start are some of the best times to write and do research. There are times that I’m up at 4am just to get the work done – I know someone who wakes at 3am and goes to bed at 7pm so that she has time during the day because of children. Find the times that work for you; a great thing about freelancing is that you can set your hours!
Develop Tricks that Work for You
I know some writers who only work when their children are napping or watching the TV for 30 minute stints. I know others who will only work when the children are in bed on a night and survive on four hours sleep (I can’t do that; I need my eight hours!). I work while my daughter plays in the same room as me. She may be in her walker, in her playpen or even sitting on my knee, which is how she ends up trying to help type. I’ve found that this works and helps me to keep going throughout the day. Find something that works for you and you will never miss a deadline.
It isn’t the easiest trying to work from home with children in the house but remember that you get to work and earn money without worrying about the cost of childcare. Children are disturbing at times and won’t do everything that you picture in your head but there are ways around their chaos. Avoid planning too much and when you do make sure that you give yourself enough realistic breaks throughout the day.