Dear Kathi,

Do you have any tips for work at home moms? I have a two-year old son
and a home office. Each day I am determined to get more work done but I often get sidetracked with my son, laundry and other household tasks. It is hard to keep my son occupied, disregard household chores and do business at the same time.

Lisa, Cardiff by the Sea


My first recommendation is to implement a very structured and regular
schedule for your son. Once his food, nap and play times are set, you
can work your schedule around his.

For instance, you can begin to plan your outbound phone calls during
his nap time. You could also schedule your meetings during the first
part of his ‘play-alone’ times. He will most likely be self-absorbed as
he discovers the latest toy you have re-found for him.

Every evening, place a different set of toys for the next day in his
designated play area and stow the toys from the day before. Each day
your son will look forward to a new discovery and activity. Keep rotating his toys and he will find new ways to play with each one as it cycles through his playtime.

Keep your son’s play area in the same spot every day, just outside your
work zone. Let him know that he has his own space for play as you do yours for work. Keep these respective zones as separate as possible. If he has his own personal space from the beginning, he will develop a strong sense of it as he grows. Then be constantly respectful of his space throughout the years of his youth.

If he insists on helping you work, set up a mini-desk in his area and
offer him paper and crayons to help with your current project. Give him
one of your real papers and see if he can copy down any of the
information or draw around it in some fashion. Maybe he can look in
books or magazines to find pictures related to your work?

Plan to eat breakfast and lunch together. You both need to eat, and you will be spending time with him as well as paying attention to him at the same time that you are working from home. Lunch is a great time to check in with him to see if he has enough toys to keep him happy after he wakes up form his afternoon nap.

Every week, see if you can swap playtimes with friends who have children. Devoting two days per week for half a day with two kids instead of one will give you entire afternoons undisturbed to tackle your most challenging work. The days you watch the children, take a notepad with you to the park and jot down thoughts about action steps you can implement into your business.

Regarding your household tasks, I recommend that you hire someone to help you with your basic weekly cleaning chores. You will see the money that you spend returned back to you with increased productivity and clarity for your business. At the same time, you will have more energy to take care of the more important parts of your life; your son, your family and your business.

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]
San Diego Professional Organizer