WAHMoms/WAHDads host Deborah Carney is joined by guest Shannon Peebles.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I have been working from home for almost five years. My children are 6, 4, and 1.5. I do interview/teleseminar/webinar transcription and some virtual assistant work. I decided to start working from home because I wanted to be in control of when and what I did on a daily basis. After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University with a BA in business administration, I took a look at the job market and saw that jobs were getting more and more scarce, and this was before the economy tanked. I spent a few years trying to decide what I wanted to “do” with my life and eventually landed in transcription and virtual assisting as a dream career. As the saying goes about golfing or fishing, the worst day of transcribing beats the best day of working a traditional J-O-B.
As a work at home parent what is your biggest challenge?
Trying to get everything accomplished and still find time to sleep. With three young children at home with me all day, it can be difficult to find time to work while everyone is awake. It is even harder when no one wants to take naps. So, some days I am up working until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.
What is the biggest advantage to being a work at home parent?
When someone is sick, or I just feel like taking some time off, I work my schedule around illness and/or vacation. It might mean I am up working very late, but I don’t have to worry about missing work or having my boss tell me I have to work overtime or that my vacation has been canceled. I get to choose to work when I am at my most productive.
As a work at home parent what advice would you give other work at home parents?
Find the time of day that you can be the most productive and honor that time. If you can be most productive at 5:15 in the morning, get up, stay off of Facebook, Twitter, and email, and work as much as you can during your designated time frame. Save the time-suck items, like going through email, for times when you are less productive or can only spend a few minutes at a time working on something.
Try to handle paper or email only once. As much as possible, as you read it, make a decision right then and there about whatever the content is, take whatever action is necessary, and then file it. A lot of time can get wasted by having to re-read things you have already read and trying to remember what it was you had decided to do (if you had decided at all).
If the kids are acting wild and need your attention, deadlines permitting, put whatever you are doing on hold and give the kids your attention. If you are distracted by, “Mom. Mom. MOM. MOOOOOMMMMM!” you probably aren’t doing your best work anyway and sometimes the most productive thing you can do is spend 20 or 30 minutes giving the kids your undivided attention. That said, teach your children that you do WORK just like any other mommies or daddies who work outside the home and just because you can wear your comfy pants to your “office,” doesn’t mean you don’t work. Put firm barriers around family time and work time and don’t let work time bleed into family time. Whatever you are doing at the moment, give it your full attention and you will be more effective at work and with your family.
Delegate and share housework with the whole family. Just because you are “home all day” doesn’t mean you aren’t working. All members of the family can and should pitch in to help with keeping things clean and getting everyone fed. All of my children sort their own dirty laundry, and help fold and put away everyone’s clean laundry. My 4-year-old can put away the silverware and set the table, and the 1.5-year-old can help put away socks and kitchen towels.
My last piece of advice? Don’t fold underwear. When balancing a home business and family, once in a while, something has to give. Figure out what that something is that can be left undone and give yourself permission to just leave it undone.