The ability to work from home makes so many of our lives easier. Of course, easier isn’t the same as easy.

7. Set hours

One of the benefits of working from home is being able to have flexible hours. It’s great to be able to take an afternoon off to take someone to an appointment. However, if I don’t set hours for myself I can end up accidentally working way more hours than I should and no one knows when I’m ‘on call.’ Set hours based on the schedule that works best for you, your coworkers, and the person you’re caring for. It’s fine to adjust it from there, but try to stick to a schedule.

6. Set boundaries

Yes, you’re home so you can provide care, but that doesn’t mean you’re available 24/7. Set times when you’ll be available to help and other times when you’re off-duty for anything other than emergencies.

5. Make space

As tempting as it is to keep someone in sight at all times, it’s incredibly distracting and makes it impossible to set boundaries. Create an office area (even if it’s a corner or the kitchen table outside of meal times) and make sure everyone understands that if you’re in your ‘office’ you’re busy with work.

4. Work together

Depending on who you’re caring for, you might be able to work together. Sure, they might be coloring, knitting, or working on a game of solitaire, but it’s a great way to keep someone with you and still get work done.

3. Get out

When caregiving duties are heavy, the office can easily become your only social time. Use the time you save by not commuting to see your friends, go for a walk, and have some time to yourself. These things are key to staying centered and focused — for work and caregiving.

2. Get help

If you need undivided attention for an important project or work is starting to pile up, it’s time to get help. Get a friend, family member, local volunteer, or professional caregiver to give you a break so you can catch up.

1. Connect with other caregivers

Sometimes your friends just don’t understand what you’re going through and that’s okay. Connect with other caregivers — here on our forums and through local organizations — to share advice and talk to people who get it. Plus, you can team up with other caregivers to pool your errands, find great professional caregivers, and give each other breaks.

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