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3 Tips for Working From Home With Kids

One of the biggest challenges to home-bound workers is distractions from family.
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Working from home is often touted as an optimal solution for parents seeking to balance their work and home lives. But sometimes the overlap between work and home becomes a distraction. One home-bound worker pointed this out with a letter to the advice blog Lifehacker on Thursday.

"I love my family and I love working from home, but these two things don’t always go well together," he wrote, using the psuedonym Distracted Dad. "Now that school’s out and my wife and kids are home more often, I’m afraid the noise and interruptions while I’m trying to work might drive me insane. How can I limit disturbances so I can actually get work done?"

Here are three expert tips to help you do exactly that: Nix interuptions and get more work done from home.

Do a little re-branding.

If your goal is to avoid interuptions from your spouse or kids, then the language you use is key, writes Inc. editor-at-large Leigh Buchanon.

"Say you 'work out of my home office' or that you 'work from home'," she says. "Never say, 'I work at home.' That suggests you create window treatments or freelance in your spare time. 'Home office' sounds more professional...Also, if friends and relatives believe you are less than seriously employed they will start adding you to their lists of People Who Can Easily Host a Last-Minute Book-Club Meeting or Pick Up My Child After School."

Delegate--work and play.

Delegate work assignments to colleagues and collaborators based on skills. In order to figure out what tasks to delegate, career coach and blogger Penelope Trunk suggests that you suss out your specialized skills.

"You need to know what your specialty is, what you’re known for in the office, and what your unique value is to the company. Anything that falls outside this isn’t that important to you," she blogs.

Similarly, delegating tasks that set kids and adult family members up for self-sufficience throughout the day will help to keep distractions from your door.

Create some boredom-beater boxes filled with goodies for school-aged children, suggests Tiffany Snedaker, founder of the product review website Babes and Kids. Another suggestion: reserve TV time for times when you need to be on a conference call or Skype for a meeting.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

"Dealing with distractions is something all workers struggle with, no matter where they work," writes Malanie Pinola for Lifehacker. Pinola suggests reframing those interuptions to feel less like distractions, and more like traditional work day breaks.

Geof Hilman, a father of three, adds via Twitter: "Just embrace it--kid interruptions are my water cooler time."

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Jun 20, 2013

FRANCESCA FENZI | Staff Writer

Francesca Fenzi reports on entrepreneurship, technology and small business news from San Francisco. Her work has previously appeared in TIME, USA Today, Pop City and The Northside Chronicle.




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