The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Beth Anne Ballance.
After six years behind a desk, I found myself at home with a two-year-old and a new gig at Microsoft as a Product Manager. I always dreamed of working at home and with the new opportunity, I was determined to succeed. I knew that I needed time to devote to my work, but I also wanted more time with my son. I still had a house and husband that needed my attention (plus a blog and several social media partnerships). I had a lot on my plate and knew it was time to get organized.
1) Get a good planner. I live, swear, and die by my momAgenda desktop planner. I keep my schedule up top and then give my husband, son, and blog the “children” sections below. I run my to-do list on the left side of each week and menu plan at the bottom.
2) Childcare is a must. If it’s a full-time gig, get childcare. Our nanny lived with us for the three meatiest weeks of my gig where I was logging 7-14 hour days. When it settled into a more part-time job, I was able to work during nap, evenings, and outside play time.
3) Be smart about multitasking. It’s beautiful outside, your kid is going nuts and you have a metrics report due in an hour? Grab a blanket and head outside! On the nice days, Harrison played in the backyard while I sat on a blanket and fired off emails for an hour. He was happy to be outside, I was booking hours and we weren’t locked in a power struggle of misery.
4) Take advantage of the small moments. I eat faster than my son, so while he finished his lunch, I cleaned up the breakfast and lunch dishes. While he watched 30 minutes of Curious George in the morning, I made the beds and tossed in a load of laundry before settling down to my Outlook account. If I was waiting on a response to an email, I’d write while waiting for my email to ping a new message.
5) Keep a family planner. We keep the momAgenda home office planner in the kitchen, laid out the same way as my personal desktop planner. That way, my husband can always see what’s on tap for the coming weeks. He can also add in his golf tournaments, days he’ll work late and any requests he has for dinner.
5) Sometimes being alive & employed at the end of the day is good enough. The kid is filthy and ate junk all day – and spent way too much time in front of the Disney channel? It’s cool. He’s still alive. My email is full and I had to shut myself in the bathroom to take a conference call? It’s cool. I’m still employed. Tomorrow is another chance to do great things!
6) Dare I mention to enjoy? The best time of my life was spent in the mornings laughing over breakfast with my little boy, and then opening up my laptop to delve into a challenge. Working at home is full of obstacles, but nothing that a little planning and organization can’t contain. It truly is the best of both worlds.
I am so thankful for the time I spent at home this past spring, working while being home with my little boy. I’m forever indebted to the skills I gained at Microsoft and the confidence the position brought. Recently, I went back to a full-time office position that I love, but I will always remember those spring afternoons in our backyard, laptop in hand and momma-eye on my little boy.
Beth Anne Ballance is a born and bred Southern Belle. She blogs at The Heir to Blair using words and pictures to celebrate the challenges of motherhood and the joy of life. Connect with Beth Anne on Twitter and Facebook.