It’s thrilling as you make your way through rush hour for the last time after receiving the opportunity to be a work-at-home dad. No more rushing through traffic, no more road rage, it’s going to be smooth sailing from here on out. Or so you thought.

Balancing work and life for the at-home dad can be a real juggling act. A few routines can help a dad keep his work and home separate, even when they are in the same place.

The most important thing a work-at-home dad must do is set a schedule. There must be work hours and family hours, and though there can be some occasional flexibility (time off to attend a class party) they cannot be constantly mixed. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can be constantly available to meet other people’s needs. Even before you begin your work-at-home dad experience, make sure that other family members can understand and respect your work time.

When you work at home, you may be tempted to sleep in and enjoy not having to punch the clock, but don’t let yourself. There is nothing as demoralizing as realizing that it is already 10 am and you haven’t even gotten started.

Have a place at home that is only for work. Keep it tidy and don’t allow other household clutter to sneak in. End work each day with a clear idea of what you plan to accomplish at home the next day.

Avoid distractions at home that you wouldn’t be faced with in an office, such as the TV, the refrigerator, and the lawn mower. Chores at home are different than work at home and must be kept separate or you will find yourself doing everything half way.

Don’t get so overwhelmed with your work at home that you forget to take care of yourself. If your office job allowed you to exercise for an hour at lunch, then take an hour to stay fit as part of your work-at-home experience.

If possible, have a business phone number that is separate from your at-home number, and don’t feel like you have to pick up every call that comes to your home. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message, and you can take care of the home and family issues when you are off duty.

When you’re done working at home for the day, go back to your role as a dad. Don’t allow yourself to keep sneaking back to work to finish up. There will always be more work to do, and you will never finish it all. So let it wait until tomorrow, and be an at-home dad and not an at-home worker.

Working from home can be a great experience for the at-home dad. You will save time and money on your normal commute and enjoy the flexibility of setting a schedule that works for you. But it is important to find a balance between the roles you have in your home in order to make it an experience that works.

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