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Parenting and running a home-based business

Balancing work and home

If you work from home, chances are you know it can be tough balancing work and family under one roof. Home-based business owners Chuck and Sue DeFiore offer some tips to ease some work-at-home stress.

Mom working from home

Two jobs under one roof

A syndicated columnist recently wrote about parenting and it not being a job for the weak at heart. It caught our interest.

This article is of special interest to those of us who work out of the home. Seeing this column made us think about why so many of us wanted to work out of our homes. One of the big reasons is so we can spend more time with our families. Balancing a family life and a home-based business can be a delicate one, especially when you look at all of the duties we have as a parent. Truthfully, it is amazing we get anything done at all.

If both partners and spouses are running the business, there are some very different and other important factors to consider.

Balancing act

Here are some good rules to help you balance family and business.

Rule No.1

This is one of the most important rules. Yes, this is your home, but it is also my office. What that means is the things you use in your business (like computers, files, fax machine, business phone, supplies, etc.) are off limits to them.

Rule No.2

Set office hours. This lets your family members and friends know when it's OK to disturb you when your day is done. This will avoid them taking you away from your work.

Rule No.3

No one but you answers your business line, and if your office is in part of the house, there is to be quiet when you are on the phone. I know sometimes pandemonium breaks lose. Well on those occasions it does, don't answer the phone, let it go into voice mail and call back as soon as you can get away or get the situation under control. Almost all phones today have a mute button, use it, especially with young children who cry and scream.

Rule No.4

Establish rituals. Just like when you worked an outside job, if you dropped them off at the daycare, their bus stop or school, even if you don't leave the house, when you are ready to go into your office, tell them good-bye. When you are done for the day, say, "I'm home," or if you take a break say "I'm back for a bit", but be sure to tell them when you leave again, so they know you can't be interrupted.

Rule No.5

Follow the other rules. Be sure that the above rules are followed. This is the most important rule. Rules not only help you, they help your kids, family and friends draw the line between your work and your home day.

More tips

  1. Keep a stash of kid stuff in your office. Get a variety of things like paper, stickers, crayons and games, in case your children are in your office and you need to take a call.
  2. Get a cordless phone as an extension to your business line. When you enter the "home" part of your house, take the phone with you. If it rings, answer it and walk back to your "work space." Let your children, family and friends know that when this happens, they should try to be quiet until you are out of earshot or ask the person to hold, and press your hold or mute button until you are back in your "work area" or quiet space.
  3. Understand it may not be easy, but if you train your children, family and friends to respect your time, space and need for concentration, both your work and family life will be easier.

Organizing tips for work and home

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