WFH Parents: How to Strike a Healthy BalanceBetween Your Job and Family
Image via Pexels
Many families are struggling to find a balance between work and home life. With one or both parents working from home, it can be difficult to find time for each other and get things done around the house while fostering your relationships with your children. Here are some actionable tips from Jim McKinley of Money With Jim for healthily balancing a full-time career and a full-time family when working from home!
Set Some Ground Rules
The first step is to establish ground rules with your spouse or partner. Discuss how you will divide up child-rearing duties and housework so that both of you are on the same page. It's essential to have a schedule to plan your work around your family responsibilities.
Consider using a calendar — either digital or physical — that you and your partner can reference each day. You might even benefit from using a time management app like Todoist or Toggl Track to better organize your tasks.
Communication is key in any relationship, but it's especially important when you're both working from home. If you need to take a conference call during nap time, let your partner know in advance so they can plan accordingly.
Once you have a schedule, it's time to get organized. Having a place for everything and everyone will help to keep the chaos at bay. Designate specific areas for work and play so your children know when it's time to focus on schoolwork or fun activities.
Upgrade Your Workspace
When you're both working from home. it's important to designate a specific workspace for each of you. This will help you avoid confusion or conflict over who is working and who is not. Your workspace should be comfortable and conducive to productivity. Make sure to have all of your necessary tools and supplies within reach, and consider investing in a good desk chair and/or standing desk. If you're
short on space, try using a portable laptop stand or convertible desktop.
If possible, try to set up your workspace in a separate area of the house so that you can have some privacy. This will help to minimize distractions and allow you to focus on your work. Finally, don't forget to personalize your work area with things that inspire you. A beautiful house plant, a freshly painted wall, and a few framed photos of your loved ones can brighten your day! There are other nuances to consider when setting up the home office. With 66% of US employees working at least part of the week at home, these tips are good to add to your checklist.
If you don’t have the room for a home office, it’s time to seriously consider moving to a larger home if it’s in your budget. Before shopping for mortgages, research the housing market in your area. Although you’d need to do research in your desired area.
Become Your Own Boss with an LLC
Working on someone else’s schedule can be especially difficult for working parents. If you are struggling to log on at the approved time or completing your daily quota, perhaps it’s time to start your own business. Before giving your notice, develop a business plan for your new idea to ensure that it addresses a marketable niche that can get you business. This plan will also require you to think about marketing strategies and how you will fund your business.
You’ll also need to choose a business structure. Many small businesses start out
with LLCs (limited liability companies) because they are easy to set up, they protect your personal assets, and provide you with tax incentives. And you can use a formation service to file everything for you, so you can focus on getting other aspects of your business established.
Take Breaks Together
Make it a priority to take breaks together as a family. Eat meals, go for walks, or just spend some time talking and laughing together. If you live in a walkable area, one that has a high walk score, then you can choose to walk to dinner or to run errands together as a family. Or schedule a few family walks each week that you do together after dinner. This quality time is crucial for maintaining relationships and avoiding burnout. Also, consider trying new family activities, such as:
● Having a family game night.
● Planning a movie marathon.
● Doing a puzzle or art project together.
● Organizing a weekly family outing (e.g., to the park or a sporting event).
You never know what type of activity could please all the personalities in your family. You'll have new traditions to look forward to in no time!
Prioritize Your Mental Health
It's also important to prioritize your mental health, explains Mental Health First Aid. Carve out time each day for yourself. Whether it’s reading, going for a run, or taking a hot bath, do something that helps you relax and recharge. You'll be a better parent and employee (or business owner) if you take your own well-being seriously.
Finding a balance between work and family life can be challenging, but it's possible with some effort and planning. By establishing ground rules and creating a productive workspace, you’ll be well on your way to creating a healthy balance between your career and family life. And if your current job isn’t suiting your working parent schedule, consider starting your own LLC. Above all, always look for opportunities to strengthen your bond with the most important people in your life.