How to Balance Work and Kids As a Freelancer

When I started freelancing I had it made in the shade in some ways. While I am a step-mom, my husband and I had shared custody with the girls’ mom which meant that we only had them half the time. That also meant that I had plenty of time to juggle my freelancing during the times we didn’t have the kids. That being said though, when we did have them and my husband may have been called into work, it meant that I was having to work and watch the kids which sometimes made it very stressful and sometimes near-impossible to get things done.
The beauty of freelancing, no matter what your service, is that it’s probably one of the simplest ways to earn an income from the comforts of home.
If you are trying to balance the oh-so-real struggle of working from home and managing the kids, here’s some tips to help things flow a whole lot easier:

Plan Your Little Heart Out

I’m serious here. You need to set out a plan for the day. As anyone with kids knows, the day can go sideways at any moment, but at least having a plan will keep you focused on what needs to be done and what can wait. I use my daily planner to keep on top of everything. This way, even if life throws me a curve-ball, I can still salvage the day and get things done. After all, things can get hectic when the kids are around and it’s so easy to forget what it was we were doing before the crying, the screaming, the spilled cereal, or the boo-boo’s.
I love my planner because I can schedule in any appointments or calls, or other tasks, that are time reliant. I can write down the five things I must do today, plus plan out the meals, my water intake, some things I’m grateful for, and still have space for any notes or things I need to remember.
I’ve found it helpful to even have a look at the following day’s plan the day/night before. It only takes a few minutes to jot down my desired goals for the day and think about what needs to be done. Sometimes leaving it to the day-of results in me not remembering what it is I need to get done. The result? Getting fewer things done and a lot of wasted time. No one has time for that!
Ever notice that when we write things down we are more likely to get them done? That’s because it makes us accountable and keeps it in the forefront of our mind. It’s true!

 

Related Post: 7 Surefire Ways to Get More Done

 

Time Yourself

If you work on an hourly basis, you are likely already using a time tracking software or app anyway, but it’s such a great tool for keeping us on track (even if we aren’t billing per hour). I like to set mine for certain amounts and set aside that time to work on projects. It’s a great way to help stay focused. If you know you are setting aside say 30 minutes to do something, you are more apt to stay with the task at hand rather than get sidetracked into doing something else.

 

Start At the Top

If you aren’t categorizing your tasks into what’s most important and going from there, you really need to start doing it.  Deciphering what is the most important thing to do, what comes after that one, and the next will help you prioritize your day and ultimately get things accomplished.  If this is an area where you could use some help, you might find a productivity planner would help you with this so that you can really get down to business.

As for myself, I find doing the most important task first thing in my day ensures I’m at the top of my game. It’s when I’m the most alert and the most focused. If you’re peak time is the afternoon, you might consider doing it then. At the end of the day, it’s what works best for you, however, I’m a firm believer that setting out what’s most important is a huge factor in your success. Without it, you may end up doing the tasks that are least important and putting off the rest.

 

Skip the Complex Jobs

If you are managing a home life with kids and your busy freelancing work, you might want to steer clear of the high-stress or high-pressure jobs. This might seem like a no-brainer, but taking on such jobs will likely only lead to more stress and chaos as you try to balance both worlds. I found it better to take on several small jobs, rather than one large, time consuming one, especially at times when we had the kids for long stretches of time. Let’s face it, the kids couldn’t be left alone while I worked for 3 or 4 hours straight, but they could definitely stay occupied with things for an hour.

 

Keep the Kids Busy

One thing that I did was create a huge tote bin of craft and art supplies that I could pull out and set the kids up at the table for activities. Kids can always let their imagination run wild when it comes to having a abundance of paper, string, stickers, pom poms, pipe cleaners, and whatever else I could find at the dollar store. While they stayed occupied, I was able to plug away at some things and complete various jobs.

If your kids are smaller, you might opt to have them play in an area near you when you can still supervise and yet also get some work done. Nap times are a great way to also sneak in some work if need be. But don’t hesitate to take mini-breaks yourself and join in on the fun – it will clear your mind and relieve some stress. There’s nothing cuter than laughter from the kids when they’re having fun, right?

 

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And there you have it, some ideas for how to balance the work and kids scenario when you work as a freelancer.  Are there tips you have that help you manage everything a bit better? I’d love to hear them, so feel free to jot them down below in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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