Childproofing Your Home Office

Childproofing Your Home Office
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This article is courtesy of Melanie Williamson. Melanie has been a successful work-from-at-mom (WAHM) for 7 years. Having no formal business background or business education prior to venturing out on her own, she learned a great deal along the way, and she loves sharing what she has learned with other work-at-home-moms.

 

When working from home, there are few things more disheartening than discovering the project you have been working on for the past week accidentally deleted off your computer by a little one trying to “play work.” OR to have a stack of checks destined for the bank  discovered with marker smiley faces all over them.

 

Although the most logical solution may be to not let your kids in your office, that is not always realistic. For some, the “office” is actually a corner of the living room or an out-of-the-way-but-completely-open nook in your home. Likewise, some of you may not be able to keep your kids out of your office space because you are entertaining them while also desperately trying to keep up on your work.

 

Anyone who thinks working from home with kids is easy has clearly never tried. As a work-at-home-mom, you are already aware of the unique challenges you are facing. However, the benefits of working from home are there too, and they are enough to motivate you to move forward and find solutions to the problems you face.

 

One problem being…how to childproof your home office. Protecting your work from busy little hands takes more than outlet plugs and table bumpers. Here are a few suggestions to help you protect your space and your work from your children.

 

1. Use a baby gate. If you do have an office space with an actual door, invest in a really good baby gate. One that your child won’t be able to get through, but it also convenient enough for you that you won’t feel compelled to remove it. Keeping a baby gate in place will allow you to keep the door open, hear your kids and possibly see your kids while still keeping them arms length away from your work. My youngest are in school, and I still use a baby gate as a visible reminder that no one is allowed in my space.

 

2. Save your work often. When I am writing, I save my drafts every couple minutes. That way I won’t get distracted, forget to save it and walk away from my computer. It also helps to save often in case your computer accidentally gets shut off. A few years ago, I was two-thirds of the way through my first book when one of my munchkins crawled under my computer desk and flipped the switch on the power strip. Since I had not saved what I was working on in roughly 18 hours, I lost over 10,000 words of content. The shock combined with the exhaustion I was already working under pushed me over the edge and I just started crying.

 

3. Keep backups of everything. I backup everything I do everyday. I have a personal copy machine and make copies of all hard documents.  As a mom, you know milk spills happen, things get dropped, drawn on, accidentally put through the shredder, chewed up by the dog, etc. Even if you think something is perfectly safe, children will find ways to break it, take it or draw on it.

 

4. Use a family binder. These are also called household binders, family managers, etc. Call it whatever you like. It is a binder where you keep hard copies of everything important, schedules, insurance info, phone numbers, emails, etc. You can use it to keep personal and business stuff, so that everything is in one place. I know it might not seem like a big deal because you have all your numbers saved in your phone and all your email addresses saved in your email, etc. But things happen all the time and information gets lost.

 

I’ve had to get new phone numbers for people twice because my phone broke and the people at the phone company were not able to retrieve my contacts. The first time it happened, my phone fell out of my pocket and my then 18-month old twins found it. They literally snapped the phone in half (it was a flip phone) and they were each playing with half of it.

 

Having a central location for everything will also help if there is an emergency. What if you are in an accident and you need someone else in your family to call your business contacts/clients to let them know you will be unreachable for a period of time? It will be a lot easier to tell them to look in your family binder under business contacts than try to make up a list then.

 

5. Keep everything filed. Keeping all your paperwork filed away instead of in a pile on top of your desk is simply better organized, but it will also prevent your piles from getting accidentally knocked over or having some kind of drink spilled on them.

 

6. Start training your kids right away. Even if your child is still crawling, kids learn through repeated visual and verbal cues. As often as you can point out your work space and tell your kids that is mommy’s work, so no touching. Training takes time, but it does work. Even though I’m still working around two five-year-olds, I deal with considerably less problems because they know anything they see on my desk is off-limits.

 

Being a work-at-home mom is rewarding and frustrating. The goal is to minimize the frustrating parts and maximize the rewarding parts. Organizing and childproofing your home office will significantly reduce the potential for frustrating moments.

 

Good luck 🙂

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About Devon Brown

From over $40,000 in debt (and bankrupt at age 23, to now doing over $1-Milion in sales per year, Devon Brown (creator of RenegadeSuccess.com) enjoys teaching internet home business entrepreneurs the short-cuts he wishes he knew about when he first started. For free video advice that makes learning internet marketing FUN & SIMPLE, be sure to follow Devon on Facebook

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