I’ve worked at home since the first of my four children was a baby. Despite the challenges, it has been a perfect arrangement for me. It doesn’t work out for everyone, but it’s a situation definitely worth exploring. If you’re trying to decide if it’s right for you - before you take the next step - take some time to ponder these seven questions:
1. Why do you want to work at home? Your motivation is extremely important, because working at home requires a daily commitment on your part. Working at home is still working, and it brings many challenges as well as rewards. If the benefits are important enough to you, you’ll have the inspiration to work through the many nuances of setting up work at home.
2. What are the benefits to your child, your partner and to you? A clear understanding of how your work arrangement fits in the family and how it benefits each member will help you through the sometimes rocky beginnings of setting up business at home.
3. Will your working hours and deadlines be flexible? Working at home with a young child (or children!) just about guarantees that everything will take longer than you expected. Firm deadlines and specific hours can add tremendous stress to your life. A more relaxed work pace can fit in better around your home duties.
4. Can you stay focused and on task in the face of distractions? When your child, the laundry, the dishes, the television, the kitchen and a million other distractions call, will you be able to keep your focus on your work? How will you fit in all your other responsibilities? How will you stay organized and on track?
5. Are you a self-starter? Are you self-motivated? Working at home will require the discipline to take charge of your time. You’ll need to stay focused and be productive even on days when you don’t feel like it. You’ll need to be willing to give up some evenings and weekends to make up work that isn’t completed during the week. When you work at home, the office never closes!
6. Will you be willing to live with a few compromises, such as a messier house and less creative menus? As much as you think you may be able to do it all, it’s certain that some things will have to slide. It helps if you decide in advance to be more relaxed about some things, and identify which things those are.
7. Are you confident that you can make this work? Too many doubts can get in the way of your success. Confidence and enthusiasm will keep you moving in the right direction. Once you decide to go ahead, then don’t let anything stop you!
Elizabeth is a mother of four, and author of the bestselling No-Cry Solution series on topics such as sleep, discipline, picky eating and potty training. She is known worldwide as the voice of practical, respectful parenting. Visit her blog at www.elizabethpantley.com.
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