There’s somewhat of a personal memoir in here, so be prepared, FR reader. When I started working from home in May of 2017, there was a great deal of confusion. How do I do this right? What’s the perfect workday? Realizing that you’ll have to treat your at-home business like a nine-to-five, well, it sucks. You try working only at night to appease the children, but then you either nod off at the desk, or your quality slips in a matter of a couple days. It’s not easy, and it’s taxing. This is what I did (keep in mind, I have four children, ages five and under), to get the gears moving, and reel in the income.
Don’t Expect a Miracle
I had to learn this early on. I still have four or more years until the youngest one is going to stop throwing stuffed animals at me and trying to flip over my desk (it’s adorable when he thinks he can do it, though). Even in what I would now consider perfect conditions for working from home, not everything is what it should be. Don’t expect the world from a band of children; stop and play with them, head out for doughnuts or ice cream—enjoy the perks of working from home, and the flow will be a lot more relaxed.
Don’t Get Aggravated
This is practically impossible, right? Wrong. I’m not saying it’s simple, but when you follow the step above, everything gets a little bit easier. You’ll be able to get your work done, but seriously—enjoy the perk of being home with your kids. Most parents would kill for that opportunity. You know, those of us who actually wanted to be parents and enjoy being around our children. Enjoy them, but now we get into the difficult part: getting work done.
Pen to Paper
Now it comes time to actually get everything done. If you’re working from home, chances are, your wife was also staying home with the kids. Long workweeks, like eighty hours outside of the house, plus commuting, don’t just put a strain on your fatherhood—it puts pressure on your marriage. You’ll be able to enjoy these perks with your wife, too, but establish a line in the sand.
Ensure that she is still carrying on as if you weren’t home. It’s convenient in an emergency, or to step away when it’s stressful and return later—not everyone can do that, and it’s the best upkeep to your morale and performance. Set hours to keep the office door closed, and keep a clickable timesheet program. I personally use Tsheets; between their versatility to their Chrome plugin, and Apple/Android devices, you’ll be able to use it on the go and in a pinch. Forgot to clock out? Just tap on it. I use their premium service but to each their own. The point is, you need something that’s going to work for you. Treat it like a day job, enjoy the perks when you can, and enjoy your family.