Working from home while the kids are there is completely unavoidable for many parents these days. Learning the balance between parenthood and focusing on your career is not the impossible juggling act it seems to be, although it can be hard at first until you find your rhythm.
There are tons of working moms out there who working from home while keeping their kids entertained. So here are some time management tips that make the whole working from home thing so much easier for moms.
This situation is pretty unprecedented, to say the least, so don’t be too hard on yourself!
Time Management Tips for Moms Who Work From Home
- Get Dressed for Work
It might be tempting to stay in pajamas all day, but staying in your comfy sleepwear leads to a lack of productivity. That doesn’t mean one has to dress like they’re getting ready for a business meeting, but changing clothes lets the brain know that it’s time to work, get things done, and not lay in bed all day long.
- Designate a Workspace
Try recreating the great divide between work and home by designating a room in the house as your own workspace. This could be an area in the kitchen, the dining room table, or a corner at the end of the hall. Just make sure there’s a comfortable chair you can sit in for eight hours. Entering the workspace lets the brain know it’s time to get the workday started, and leaving it tells the brain that the workday is over and it’s time to disengage. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to disconnect after work just by simply walking away from your designated work area!
- Don’t Expect to Work at Peak Efficiency
Working from home is going to affect productivity, that’s just the way it is, and that’s okay. It’ll take more than a few weeks to get the hang of it. So don’t expect to work at the same capacity as you did in the office, especially given the circumstances.
The kids are going to demand a lot of your time, too, so consider cutting your to-do list by half and just focus on the tasks with the most demanding deadlines. As time goes by, your work-from-home situation will be the new normal, and you’ll become more productive.
- Implement Some Quiet Time for the Kids
Try implementing a “quiet time” for your kids after they finished their homework, lunch, or virtual class. Quiet time is a short period of time where kids can engage in activities such as reading a book, playing with toys in their bedrooms, color some books or paste stickers on their sticker books. As a busy mom, you could definitely use those 30 minutes to an hour of “quiet time” to rest and focus on getting your work done.
- Define the Work Day
Just as finding a physical workspace is important, so is defining the working hours. Sticking to regular office hours is best because it will make it easier to get back to the routine once it’s safe to head back to the office. So, once the clock strikes 5, it’s time to stop.
- Fills the Kids in Before Starting Something
Kids aren’t mind readers and they don’t realize how important your job is. They need to be told when mom will be working on a special project and can’t be interrupted. It helps if they’re given a task that will keep them busy during the designated time. If anything, put their favorite show or movie on and set a timer so they know when it’s safe to talk to mommy.
- Give Your Kids a Work Assignment
Kids love doing grown up things, and if they see mom working, they’ll want to work too. So set a workstation for them and give them a computer so they can write emails to their friends, cousins, or grandparents. Give them a pen and paper to write postcards or draw pictures for their friends and loved ones. If they don’t feel like getting artsy, then give them a few words and ask them to write a story that includes them.
- Hit the Mute Button When You’re on a Conference Call
Working from home means there will be at least one or two video or audio conference calls once a week. But that doesn’t mean the kids will pipe down until it’s over. So, hit the mute button so your co-workers don’t have to listen to the kids crying or screaming in the background. But don’t forget to unmute it when the boss or co-worker asks a question.
- Prep a Meal for Kids Ahead of Time
Plan out a week’s worth of meals for the kids. This will make it easier for you during the week. All you’ll need to do is go into the fridge, heat up the food, and put it on a plate for the kids. If cooking isn’t an option, then consider ordering a pizza or stick a couple of chicken nuggets and some fries in the oven. It’s completely okay to make this new routine as easier for you as possible. You can cut down on ordering takeout when you get back to your old routine later down the line.
- Don’t Let the News Suck You In
Avoid turning on the TV and listening to the news or going online and surfing through CNN or any news outlets while you’re “at work.” It’s depressing and it can really affect productivity. Focus on the task at hand. The news will still be there after 5.
- Take a Few Breaks Here and There
Taking two breaks in the morning and afternoon as well as a lunch break was the routine at the office and it can continue to be while working from home. Take a bathroom break, make some coffee, do a 5 quick minute stretching yoga workout, and check up on the kids. This helps the mind and the eyes rest a bit.
- Cherish Spending Quality Time With Your Kids
Although working at home while caring for kids may seem like a burden, try looking at this as an opportunity. This is a rare time to sing with them, watch movies, play board games together and cook a meal together during the workday.
I know things are different and hard right now and I am trying everything I can to make it through. I also know that somethings are going to fall behind and not get taken care. Trying to. make sure the kids are logged on to their class while logging on to work meetings is a circus act in my home.
I focus on things that I can and everything else is whatever.
Reminder to be kind with you and do what you can.
Let me know if you try any of these tips