If the idea of making a living from home with your kids seems terrifying, you’re not alone. Kids almost always demand 24-hour attention and being a loving parent while jumping to conference calls, answering long emails, and meeting deadlines is a serious task.
The spread of the coronavirus and being under quarantine is forcing many parents to start working from home not just in the US but all over the world. If you’re trying to stay productive while working from home with the kids around, these tips may help.
Make a Schedule for the entire day
It’s critical to plan your day thoroughly, set strict “office” hours. Allot how many hours of your day you intend to work for that day? At what time will you answer pending emails? Figure out what you can do while your children are busy coloring the new book you bought them. As they say, work smarter, not harder.
Make the most out of their nap time
Maximize the time that your kids are asleep during the day. You normally should be able to bag in a good 20-mins conference call while it’s their nap time. Use this time to finish tasks that require your full concentration. Make yourself productive while they’re sleeping.
Separate being a Mom with being at work
You need to keep your role as a mom separate from being a professional. To separate psychologically from the rest of the house, create your own space, and set up an office corner or area. Tell the kids that they’re off-limits on certain office areas around the house. In addition, it greatly helps you switch on and switch off to disengage from your job if you have a door to close.
Keep the kids occupied
During your work hours, provide them with toys that will keep them engaged. You can also turn on Netflix to keep them occupied. If your kids have an activity to look forward to, they’ll less likely to disturb and interrupt you. You can also give them a pretend work station in your home office so they feel as if they have their own office space to do “professional” projects while you catch up your on e-mails.
Anticipate being Interrupted
Put out signs such as “Do Not Disturb, on a Call.” to send your kids a message that you don’t want to be interrupted and when you need quiet time. Perhaps you could wear a lanyard with a sign telling them that they’re not allowed to make a noise or interrupt. But if your toddler is whining while you’re on the zoom call, end it and politely ask to be rescheduled if possible.
Ask for Extra Help if Necessary
You can also hire a baby sitter if you really need someone to look after your children while you’re working. If a kid has a someone to play with, he or she is often entertained long enough to enable you to do work that doesn’t need extreme silence such as answering emails.
Swap in and out with your spouse or partner
Since the kids’ schools and most offices are closed, parents find their task list to be up instead of down. Formulating windows of being productive is one choice; if both parents are working from home, break up the day into sections that allows one parent enough space away from the kids at a time. Develop a schedule trading in and out of children duties in a way that gives each longer gaps of concentrated and uninterrupted work time.
Never Judge Yourself – or Others
As much as possible, don’t let yourself down just because you didn’t cover everything that you’re hoping to cover for the day. Everyone of us are adjusting to a new normal and it’s not bad if you didn’t meet your personal expectations.
Set Goals for the Day
Set a maximum of five goals for each day; one or two things or tasks that you really need to finish for work, one or two things for your kids to accomplish, and one family activity, even if it’s just watching a one-hour movie over Netflix. Don’t expect or try to do more what you set as that will just bring in more frustration and stress. Instead, celebrate these wins at the end of the day.
Build a Solid Routine
As you go through the same things to do everyday, you and your family most likely have established a routine. This is important as it sets out some kind of structure for the day. If not needed, don’t break this routine as it will help you and your family to be productive at work while at home.
Working from home is the new normal now for professionals. This is a way for us to adapt with this whole pandemic crisis.
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