Tightrope Balance: Working from Home When a Family Member is Sick

Tightrope Balance: Working from Home When a Family Member is Sick By Cathi Nelson

I have been living the sandwich generation reality this past year. My sweet, 85-year-old Dad began a cycle of declining health that concluded with his passing away this month. All of this started a year ago when every few weeks I would get a call that my Dad was back in the hospital. The hospital would stabilize him, we would get him home, and the cycle would soon begin again.

All of this took a toll on my family and business. As the work from home family member, I have the most flexibility, thus a lot of the responsibility fell to me. I was often distracted and frustrated by how little I was getting done.

Here are 4 coping strategies I learned, 2 for my business and 2 for my family.

1. Document Your Systems – This is Not What You Do, but How You Do it:

How do you get from point A to point Z and can someone follow your steps if you are unavailable. These systems can be as simple as when and how you manage your social media to managing your on-line shopping cart. You will rest easier if you have a system in place that someone can follow if you are unavailable.

2. Be Mobile:

I do most of my work from home on my desktop computer thus, I had not set myself up to be mobile. Today you can work from anywhere if you are using cloud-based programs such as Google documents. Make sure your phone, tablet, and laptop are synched with the programs you need to keep working.

3. Make Meals Ahead of Time:

This seems like obvious advice but all too often, I found myself rushing home at the dinner hour anxious to catch up on emails and calling out for pizza.

4. Carve Out Time for Your Family and Yourself:

My children are now in their teen years and independent but they still need my attention. I also realized I needed to slow down on my commitments and give myself permission to say NO to events and activities I normally would attend.

By having these systems in place you will have more room in your life to care for yourself and others.

Cathi Nelson had her “light bulb” moment when she recognized that consumers were becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the exploding number of photos, media and memorabilia they were accumulating. She started her own photo organizing business called PhotoSimplified and was amazed at the response from clients and others who wanted to learn how to add photo-organizing services to their business. In response she founded, The Association of Personal Photo Organizers to support the new and emerging profession of photo- life management by providing training, support, products and collaboration for people interested in adding photo management services to their existing business or as a new business. Since its inception, APPO has grown to hundreds of  members throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom.

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