Deadlines, homework, the dog, and procrastination are your coworkers now. Here are tools that help.
Working from home has its perks and challenges. Add kids to the mix and your life might have more work/life balance than people who commute. But sometimes it feels like that balance is happening on a moving ball. You don’t have a boss to talk to about this. You’ll have to solve it yourself. Here are ten things that can help.
Back to work after a baby? One of the great perks of self-employment is that you don’t have to check your baby in somewhere for strangers to raise while you pine away at work. Even so, don’t underestimate brain fog. You don’t get enough sleep. Your routine is new. The baby is new. It’s a real thing. Hundreds of babies have died from accidentally being left in a car.
The Elepho eClip Baby Reminder clips to the car seat, monitors the temperature in the car, and alerts you if you walked away from your car with the baby in it.
My own babies are old enough to drive cars, so I asked a friend with a newborn to try the eClip for me.
Her take: “I love the temperature reading and the app allows you to set a high and low temp. If it reaches your set temp, an alarm sounds. That’s my favorite part. But it did give me a few false alarms when she was right there in the back seat.” — Roxie Patrick
Me: ** Standing outside teenager daughter’s room. ** Are you cleaning your room?
Daughter: “Yes! Leave me alone!” **Shouting to be heard over Netflix.**
Me: **Open Circle with Disney app on phone, turn off her internet. Go back to work.**
Daughter: **Cleans room, cooks dinner, and tidies my office, dusting the screen as I work on it.** “Hey, Mom. Can I get the Internet back now?”
I don’t know how – or why – any parent would attempt to raise kids in the Internet Age without this thing.
You can set internet bedtimes, filter out content based on the age profiles of everyone in the house, and – the best part – get an off switch for the internet.
The Circle with Disney is a little box you connect to your router and manage from a phone app. It’s affordable, easy to use, and necessary (unless you have a router that already does these things.)
You have kids. You are self-employed. There are only so many hours in the day. If you don’t have time to do it, pay someone to do it. Task Rabbit is how you find someone to pay to do those things. (And that link gets you money off the first time you use the service.)
If you have kids and are running a business, you will need a sitter. Sittercity vets lots of them. Scroll your phone to find out what they charge, who else they sit for, and who they are. Then hire one. Don’t put off that meeting or much-needed evening out because “You can’t get a sitter.”
There is a pile of laundry two stories high, a story due to your editor, and a gaggle of kids with homework that needs to be done. Are you really going to find time to go to the store? Instacart lets you shop local and get someone else to deliver it.
If you live in the right location, you can shop Amazon Prime Now for everything from ice cream to a new Kindle. Just drop things in your cart as you think of them. Hit buy. Your goods will be delivered in a couple of hours.
Have kids? Write a will. Get the Tomorrow app and do this while the kids are in the bath. It’s fast and easy. If you want to be specific about who gets what, walk around your house taking photos with your phone.
For an annual fee with Public Goods, you can have lovely, reasonably priced organic goods delivered right to you. No shopping the world for consumer goods that don’t upset your conscience. Your house will look coordinated and crisp. Your bank account won’t mind.
Work? Kids? Bring wine! You can get interesting, hand-chosen-for-you wines delivered for a reasonable price through First Leaf. Just tell them when you liked a bottle and they will keep that sort of thing coming. Hated something? Give it a thumbs down and you’ll never get more like it.
“Help me with my homework?” asks your fifth grader. “Can you get that to me by the end of the day?” asks a client. Sal Khan to the rescue! Not only does he know the math (history, science, whatever) better than you do, he doesn’t mind explaining it again and again and again.
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