Whether your job has suddenly gone remote recently or you’ve taken on a new position you can do from the comfort of your living room, every parent has realized one thing. It’s even more challenging to be productive while working with kids in the house.
Once there were many activities to do outside the house, but with the future uncertainty there is still one certainty…you have to get your work tasks done. So, how do you make that happen?
Not to worry, for there are 9 secrets to your success on how to be productive as you work from home with your kids there too.
1. Set up a workspace you love
Some of us have the luxury of an extra room we can convert into an office. Others of us have smaller spaces where we must get creative. Whatever the case, you have to set up a devoted workspace. Put pictures you love around it, a plant, or something to keep your mood calm. And even if your new workstation is the dining room table, get a cubby box to stash your stuff when mealtime arises. You may have to set up more often but you will always have a personal workspace to go to.
2. Create a new routine
Without that morning commute, things have changed a lot. It might be nice to not have to put on business attire each day, but setting a new routine that is as similar as possible to your previous one will help. What about the kids? Experts like Catie Brand, vice president of HR at General Assembly advise holding a quick meeting for everyone in the household to touch-base. You can tell the kids and your spouse what you’ve got going on, everyone can share what they need to, and you can help get younger kids on task for a while so you can work uninterrupted.
3. Engage your flexibility
Just because you’ve set a routine doesn’t mean it will always go over smoothly. Little ones in particular will get underfoot and you’ll have to stop what you’re doing to comfort them or break up an argument over a toy. If things don’t go per your schedule, just breathe. You will find a way to get it all done.
4. If you have a boss, make sure they know your home situation
There’s no need to get too personal, but it is a good idea to check in with your boss about home situations. As most of them are likely in the same situation, they should be very accommodating as long as you work the amount of hours you’re supposed to work and get your work done on schedule.
5. Hug your kids some more
Our kids are going through so much right now too. We often get caught in the haze of deadlines and meetings that we forget our children miss friends, teachers, and their regular routines. Taking time out each day to engage with your kids, giving them extra hugs, or even taking 10 minutes to play a quick game with them will go a long way to making them feel good.
6. Separate work life and home life
Even though you now work in the same place you sleep (perhaps even literally!), you have to set an end time to each day. When your working time is done, unless you have a client with a specific need or are supposed to handle something for your boss, leave it all until tomorrow. Clear up your workspace from the table or shut the door to the guest room where your office is now located.
7. Use resources wisely
Show your children how to use educational websites to play fun games or set up a video call with one of their friends or even a family member. It will keep them busy and engaged so you can get things done. You don’t want your kids staring at screens all day either though so use these things wisely. Later, take a break and take them for a walk, out in the yard to play, or if you have one, in the pool.
8. Take breaks for you too
Your boss didn’t get upset with you for getting up for more coffee or to use the bathroom in the office, so don’t think you need to be glued to your chair until the workday is done. Get up and do what you need to do. Take regular breaks for yourself just to walk around. Chances are, you were less sedentary at the office. They say sitting too long is akin to smoking so get up and move!
9. Make time for your self-care
While breaks are helpful, don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself. It’s likely that now, instead of just doing your job at work and then coming home to take care of kids and things at home, you’re doing it ALL, and all at once too. It’s overwhelming if you don’t do the things you need to fill your cup back up. Meditate, take a lovely bubble bath, call your best friend on FaceTime, go on a run to Target alone…whatever makes you feel refreshed again, do it, but do it just for you.
One Last Tip…
Your spouse/partner is likely not a mind-reader, so speak up. You’re in this together and the only way for your family to be productive as you work from home is to all work together. Once you do, you’ll feel far less strained and be able to balance work, home, and life all in one.