In today’s hectic world, achieving the proverbial work-life balance can be quite a challenge. If you’re a working parent, it could be doubly difficult. Doing your job and taking care of your family have different demands; sometimes you may be forced to prioritise one over the other.

One viable solution is to opt for a telecommuting or work-from-home setup. It makes things a little easier, especially since you now have more time to spend with your family. The problem is that it’s a bit tricky to draw the line between work and home life because, obviously, your workplace is now your home.

How do you balance the two, then? Here are a few tips.

Create Rules and Follow Them

The most important thing to achieve balance when working from home is to create ground rules for everyone to follow. Having something concrete to adhere to helps set expectations. This is especially true if you have children who can already understand instructions. Laying down ground rules means establishing structure, something that’s essential in accomplishing your work.

Remember to set strict guidelines for yourself as well. This is to ensure that you can avoid distractions, such as social media or even housework. The guidelines will also help you set daily goals, especially if you’re working on a freelance basis. Finally, don’t forget to include breaks in your schedule.

Learn Proper Time Management

It’s a little more difficult to stick to a timetable when you’re working from home since you have to deal with two different schedules. Thus, it may be beneficial to enrol in time management courses to maximise your hours. If you want, you can create a family calendar that everyone can access so you can easily update and keep track of everyone’s activities.

Figuring out an effective schedule will take a little bit of effort and some trial and error, especially if you’re new to a work-from-home arrangement. Don’t worry, though. After an adjustment period, you’ll soon find a system that works for you. A good idea is to set a time to assess your system to see if it’s effective. If it’s not, make some tweaks and try again.

Take Breaks

It was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating: remember to take breaks, even when you’re already at home. In fact, it’s even more important to take breaks when you’re telecommuting because the blurred lines between workplace and home might make you forget. As you’ve probably heard hundreds of times before, taking breaks is good for both your mental and physical wellness. It can also help improve your productivity.

When taking a break at home, make sure not to try to multitask (it’s a myth, anyway). Enjoy the moment completely and pay attention, most especially if you’re doing something with your children. Quality time is important; don’t let work get in the way of being fully present for your family.

Improve Yourself

It’s admittedly more challenging to keep abreast of industry developments when you’re telecommuting. One reason for this is that you lack opportunities to network or even have small talk with colleagues. Stay in touch with them through various conferencing apps or even through email.

You should also make the extra effort and take the initiative in improving yourself. There are plenty of professional development courses you can take, as well as online resources such as journals and webinars. You should also consider joining groups on social networking sites to find like-minded individuals. If you can, take certification tests and join professional organisations.

Be Nimble

Change is inevitable. In fact, work from home parents have to deal with it more than others. Your children will grow and their needs will change as they do. Over the years, things will become easier in some aspects and more difficult in others. If you have teenagers, for example, they may not need help with homework anymore but need a little more emotional support. It can be a difficult balancing act indeed, so you need to “condition” yourself to be more nimble and open to changes at home.

At the same time, your professional life will also continue to evolve. Look for new opportunities if you must. If you want to earn a promotion, work doubly hard to improve yourself and show that you deserve it. Make plans, but also be adaptable because nothing is set in stone.

Working from home has both advantages and drawbacks. Still, for parents, telecommuting is one of the best options. It might take some time to get used to this set up, especially if you’ve been working in a traditional office setting for a long time. Still, the pros will definitely outweigh the cons soon enough. Technology is also on your side, making the transition a lot smoother.

The key thing to remember is that while working from home is challenging, the rewards are very much worth the effort.