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Yesterday I was working in my home office, and my son Kyle was playing on the floor next to me, mostly trying to reorganize my bookshelf. Kyle stood up and pointed to an apple I was eating and said, “thash an apple.” Then he took about 5 steps towards me without holding on to anything — his very first steps. I quickly grabbed my wife, and with some encouragement we got him to do it again for her.
Later that evening I gave a speech for Project Outreach, a 12-week business incubator program intended to help people start their own businesses and increase their financial success. I ended the speech by telling everyone how my wife and I were able to be at home to see our son take his first steps because our businesses gave us that kind of flexibility. We didn’t have to stick him in daycare just so we could both work.
One reason people decide to work from home is the opportunity for greater freedom, and that perk is certainly there.
But of course working from home can also be difficult and distracting if you have kids. I’d say the biggest breakthrough my wife and I figured out was to decide which hours of the day each of us is primarily responsible for the kids. So certain hours I’m in charge of the kids, and my wife has that responsibility the opposite hours. This means we each get a block of uninterrupted work time. This allows us to schedule complex tasks during those periods and less challenging tasks for when the kids might be interrupting us often. I can still get some work done with the kids playing in or near my office, but I also know that while I have the kids, my wife is at least getting her top priority work done. Also, while our son is napping, we’re both able to work productively.