Working from home with children

I realized something important this morning that I want to share with you.  

You can work from home when your kids are home.  If your goal is to keep the status quo.  My son was watching one of six episodes of Star Wars this morning so I grabbed my laptop and started to "work".

I had already set aside time this afternoon to work, but I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the office.  Currently, there is a state-wide snow storm in Iowa today.  I had a back flow of post-Christmas e-mail - most of it was non-actionable.  A few e-mails needed my attention, preferably today.  

I was set up with my coffee, blanket and laptop to begin triaging e-mail messages.  It didn't take long for my son to come to the chair with the iPad and ask if I would watch the movie with him.  Work aborted.  

As the morning progressed, I thought about the times I have worked from home when my child was home too.  I try to compartmentalize work from family, but once in awhile it happens.  Could I do it on a regular basis?  Have a home office and have my child at home?  On paper or in my alternate reality, it could work.  Put it in practice - "never" would be the answer for me.

When I am at home, I don't use my laptop for Facebook, games or general web surfing.  I stare at a computer most of the day, so after work it goes in my bag and stays in my bag.  When I do have my laptop open at home, I am sure I stare at it with a furrowed brow and a scowl on my face.  Not because I am mad, but it is part concentration, part resting face and trying hard to ignore the distractions. 

When I work from home I am able to be in response mode.  Tread water, if you will.  To perform meaningful work and to excel I need to be in a work environment with minimal distractions.  I perform the best when I compartmentalize work.  This means I don't work from home with children.