Work from home life is no walk in the park especially when you have kids, but we’re back at another week of it. As you guys can probably tell from my Instagram, things can get a little wild in the NJF house, but we’re making progress. Not only are the kids home more than ever before – but I am too – which means we basically had to overhaul our lives. If you’re struggling to keep things afloat, I’m dropping 7 major tips that have helped me big time! Whether you work from home with or without kids, I’m sure you’ll find many of them useful!
1. Set expectations
As is the case with anything in life, setting expectations ensures that there’s a common understanding across the board. Whether it’s your kids, husband, domestic partner, sibling, or even parents, set the expectation that if you’re in your office (or at your desk), it’s work time aka Do Not Disturb.
With kids, this can be harder depending on how old they are. For instance, Hazel is 7 so she understands and follows this rule to a T. However, Capri is four and often comes running into my office at the best times. Even though she hasn’t exactly gotten the hang of it, I think laying down this framework early on will pay off in another several weeks!
2. Wake up at your normal time – or earlier if you can
Work from home life sounds like the best excuse to sleep in, but it’s the quickest way to derail your productivity. Instead, wake up at your usual time and start the workday as you normally would. I would even suggest waking up earlier if you can! Use that time while everyone else is asleep to check emails, plan social media content, write a blogpost – or even to squeeze in exercise. I always try to knock out the most intense, time-consuming projects out first – that way I can be present with the kids once they’re awake.
3. Work around your schedule
For those of you working a 9-5 schedule, it’s probably harder to switch up your schedule. However, if you’re able to (and don’t forget to check with your bosses), adjust your work hours to accommodate your family. For me, working efficiently midday just isn’t practical. My most productive hours are early in the mornings and at night when the kids are sleeping. Don’t forget to take advantage of nap times too!
4. Have independent activities designated for when you need to be working
Now that we’re all teachers, I suppose it’s time to start acting like them too. I usually try to tell my girls that they need to have two assignments done from their school packet – or from one of these online learning sites in one sitting. This usually takes up about 30 minutes and frees up my time for a quick client call or to catch up on emails. If this work has already been done, there are so many ideas on Pinterest (for instance…) you can turn to!
5. Try batching as you work from home
At the start of 2019, I shared this productivity tips post that talks about the Pomodoro Technique, a time management approach that uses a timer to break down work into 20-25 minute intervals, separated by short breaks. There couldn’t be a better time to put this into use as it allows you to focusing on one thing so you can concentrate better and work faster. It’s works incredibly well for me. You can get this cheap timer from Amazon that will set two times (work time + break time).
6. Actually set aside QT for the kiddos
So the thing about work from home life is that you actually have to set quality time aside for the kids that doesn’t involve school work. This is another expectation I lay down instantly… We’ll do something together as a family for an hour or two and then it’s back to work afterwards. We often spend this time making crafts (lots of excellent ideas here). If you haven’t tie-dyed, I also recommend doing that. You can get cheap t-shirts here and a tie dye kit here.
7. Resort to electronics
The goal of every parent is to limit screen time, but I’m not trying to win no award here. If all else fails, there’s no need to feel guilty about letting your kids get on the iPads – especially if it’s not an everyday habit. Also, if it makes you feel better, there are plenty of educational cartoons kids love – like Little Einstein’s, Octonauts, Paw Patrol, and Sid The Science Kid.
How’s your work from home situation coming along? Let me know if this was helpful!