Working from home sounds like you've got the best of both worlds, right? Everything you need to run your budding business empire right at your fingertips - and you can keep an eye on dinner at the same time!
Until, of course, you suddenly find yourself doing a last minute swap for the school run, have a homework to "help" with, and a bunch of client deadlines to tackle! And that dinner you had planned? Forget about it.
While it can certainly be tough at times to try to balance your home business with managing a young family - it's also a hugely rewarding challenge! I run my own events business from the home I share with my husband, and three young children, aged seven, four and one...so I know first-hand the challenges of trying to run a business from home, with three energetic young children!
So to help you out, I've got some great practical tips to help you run things just that little bit smoother...
Set a clear work schedule
One of the biggest obstacles with working from home? Has to be, without a doubt, knowing when to stop working. I used to find myself desperately trying to squeeze work in to every spare moment...answering emails while dinner was cooking, making phone calls whilst the baby was taking a nap, and trying to catch up on paperwork when I had finally managed to corral the children long enough for them to be engaged in a vaguely quiet activity for 5 minutes.
But I quickly found that this was not an effective or efficient way of managing my time. I was flitting between my business and home life, deluding myself that I was a whizz at multitasking. It was so tempting to let working hours and living hours blur into each other, and in so doing I wasn't doing my business justice or devoting the time to my family that they needed, so it was quickly becoming a lose-lose situation.
Setting a clear work pattern has helped enormously. It doesn't have to be the typical nine to five routine - getting in there early and enjoying a few hours before the chaos of the morning breakfast rush, or some quiet time running through emails after the little ones are in bed - whatever works best for you and your family. But most importantly, once you've set up a routine that works for you, stick to it religiously!
Have a regular day off
It can be hard for other family members to understand that mum is busy doing other things. And it can just as hard for you to have to shut that door on your partner or children, and get on with a task, when you'd much rather be spending time with your family.
Working from home does mean you have to be more disciplined - but you can definitely reward yourself for your efforts too! Take a regular day off with the kids to simply have fun, and leave the cares of your work life behind.
And don't forget your partner! Even a regular date night in can make a huge difference to your relationship, and show that you are both there for each other.
Don't take your work around the house
Another tough one, especially if you're working from your laptop or tablet!
But just as a regular working schedule can help set limits for others, having a fixed place to work from will help you to remain more focused on your work activities.
A home office can be easy to set up - ensure you've got all your essentials close at hand. Even if it's just a corner of the living room, try and designate a clear space that really is just for work.
You can read more of my blog posts at http://www.mumsinbusinessuk.com/