How to Survive Summer as a Work-From-Home Renter
It’s not the heat — it’s the humanity!
When you work from the same home you rent, and you have children, the summer can come as a bit of a shock. Suddenly the unburdened time you enjoyed from 9am-3pm to attend to your clients is gone — and at the same time, the all-important early-morning alarm clock that you used to get your kid on the bus is gone as well. That can easily lead to a scenario of getting up late, getting distracted from work constantly, and losing out on a lot of vital rent money. Here’s how to avoid that scenario.
Turn Work-From-Home into Work-From-Anywhere
A laptop with wifi capability can offer you the opportunity to work from a huge variety of places. You can use a wireless router to set yourself up in the front yard so you can work while your kids play. But it’s far more than that — because you can also take your laptop on the road, working while your spouse drives, and hook up to wifi at any number of free places (libraries, hospitals, McDonalds, Starbucks, and many municipal buildings at the minimum) to upload your work or do some quick research.
A couple of years ago, the guy who writes our advertisements went on a three-week road trip from Detroit to Seattle and back, kept up on everything we needed from him, and did it all while bouncing from one cheap wifi-enabled campground to the next — so we know this works!
It’s easy for kids to decide that whenever their bored is playtime, and if you don’t have a plan in place, you can easily end up agreeing with them just to get them to stop being annoying. Instead, set aside blocks of time at least twice a week strictly for playtime, with a third larger block for some out-of-the-house activity. That will keep your kids from feeling (or, you know, actually being) neglected, and it will give you a solid visual to point at and say “We’re going bowling on Saturday, and playtime isn’t until 3:00, so entertain yourself for another hour, and listen for the alarm.”
As an added bonus, you can add chores, homework, and other useful (i.e. non-play) activities to your calendar so your kids have solid options for things to do. (This also keeps them from pestering you during work time, because they know they’re going to end up taking out the trash instead of playing.)
One of the most common excuses for an interruption is “I’m hungry!” If you put in a little prep work, you can cut this one off at the pass by creating ‘snack packs’ for your kids. Cheese cubes, carrot sticks, raisins, sunflower seeds, and other easy-but-healthy snack foods can be portioned out into appropriate combinations and left in the fridge for a couple of weeks. An hour or so every other week (and the cost of some sandwich bags) can save you dozens of “DAAD!”s over the course of month.
The truly dedicated WAHM/D can take it a step further and spend a second hour prepping several lunches or dinner’s worth of ingredients and prepacking them for quick cooking. This can save a lot of stress on those days when things go south and dinner prep starts when dinner is supposed to be ending (you know it happens!)
Get Your Kids Creating
One of the biggest dichotomies between how kids and adults prefer to spend their time is in the level of creation they want to engage in during their downtime. Adults tend to use up their executive function at work, so when it’s over, they want to just rest and engage in some TV, reading, or social media. Kids, on the other hand, need to exercise their executive function, and that means making stuff. So get familiar with websites like CraftForKids.com and OneHourCrafts.com, where you can find plans for all kinds of engaging creations.
Also, don’t forget that some of your kids’ favorite games (Minecraft) are practically massive digital easels just waiting for a budding genius to create incredible works of art. Don’t fall for thinking that screen time equals derp time — this isn’t the age where ‘screen’ equals ‘boob tube’ anymore!
If you can get these four basic ideas running concurrently, you’ll have a much easier time keeping up your from-home work schedule this summer than you ever have in the past — and next summer, you’ll try desperately to find this article again. (Bookmark is Control-D on most browsers.) Good luck!