Tips for Staying Productive While Working From Home with Kids
Working from home offers the convenience of being able to work in your own space, at your own pace but when children are thrown into the equation, working from home proves to be a little tricky and nothing short of a nightmare. With Coronavirus hanging around, working from home will be the new normal until it is safe to return to what we were accustomed to. As one article puts it, moms are bearing the brunt of childcare during Coronavirus….
Pre-COVID, when working from home, parents had the convenience of using childcare centers and even schools, that way you had an entire day to get their work done. With the children home, the time must be divided between work tasks and home tasks and this is proving challenging but thankfully, measures can be implemented to reduce the anxiety that may result.
Set a schedule
Does your family normally function on a schedule? If so, then maintain a schedule as much as possible. A schedule maintains some normalcy and parents have a little more control. Understand that even with a schedule as a guide, each day may bring a new situation that may cause you to deviate from the schedule.
Set mealtimes, quiet time, recess times and ensure that there is nothing set on your work schedule that coincides with these times.
If you have flexibility at work and you are not required to work 8 straight hours, change up your routine to suit. For example, waking up a little earlier like 5 am, will allow you to get at least 3 hours of work done before the children rise. So, between 5 am and 8 am, you can complete outstanding tasks, check emails and so on. During the children’s schedule nap and quiet times, schedule conference calls and so on.
Another option is to work during the night. If bedtime is at 830p, work from 9p to midnight and then make up the rest during the day.
If needed, play catch up on the weekend as well.
Create a priority list
By now you should know what your day looks like. Create a list of how your tasks will be completed and strike them off as you go. Striking them off will give you a sense of accomplishment and you will feel motivated to complete another task and then another until you get as much as you can get done that day.
Create an Office Environment
Designate an area in your home that will be used as your home office. Ensure space has a door, at times you may need some quiet to take an important call. Please a symbol on your door indicating you are on an important call, that way your children will know no interruptions. Having a designated space also means being able to unplug at the end of the workday. You can close the door until the next workday.
Extra Screen Time
We all know that having your child sit and stare at the screen all day is not ideal but if it means meeting a deadline, it becomes a necessary evil. Give yourself a break and let an extra episode of Cocomelon play if you mean you get an extra hour to get work done. YouTube is a great app and it reduces the worry of children viewing inappropriate content. Virtual play dates with friends and cousins have proved to be a lifesaver as well.
Make snack time a fun activity
Have a clearly labelled snack bin for each child, place all snacks, juices, water bottles in the bin. Allow your children the opportunity of choosing a snack at snack time. This saves you the time of having to leave your desk every time they want a snack.
Set up activity areas
What are some activities that your children love? My children love kinetic sand and it keeps them busy for hours. They also love blocks and building; playdoh is also a favourite. Whatever they like, make it easily accessible and they can be kept busy while you work.
If your partner is working at home as well, break tasks up between the two of you. If this is not an option to hire a nanny, if this is not an option due to COVID restrictions, use video conferencing to have a grandparent virtually watch the children while they play.
- Enrol your children in virtual playgroups, dance class and so on, whatever it takes.
- Breathe and provide rewards!
As we work our way through this COVID period and balancing our family and work life, just remember to be patient. Be patient with yourself and your children. This is new for all of us. Once a week, regroup, order dinner, treat yourself and your family. There is no right way or wrong way, just know that we are all trying our best and we are all in this together. Our number priority is to stay safe and sane.