FIVE TIPS FOR WORKING AT HOME WITH LITTLES
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
If suddenly working from home with your kids is driving you crazy, grab your coffee, put on your boss pants, and let's figure this out together, one working parent to another.
Raise your hand if you're struggling with the 'work from home while your kids are home oh and now we gotta homeschool too' balancing act.
I feel you.
I've been there.
In many ways I'm still there, and I've been working from home, freelancing and running my own business for the last three years.
While you may feel like you're losing your mind right now, I promise you it does get easier. It just takes some time, consistency and resilience. Here are my top 5 tips to make this transition easier:
Set a Schedule
It doesn't have to be super colorful, or even super perfect, but having an idea of what my day looks like helps me know what to expect, and it eases some anxiety.
Plugging it into the calendar on my phone with alerts helps keep me on track too, and while probably not ideal in the long run (hearing little dings all day will annoy me later, I'm sure), it's been incredibly effective for getting me into a routine now. When my kids start acting crazy and I'm not sure why, I can look at my calendar and see "oh, it's almost lunchtime, they're probably hungry." Crisis averted.
Work, Change Your Scenery, Repeat
Along with a schedule, I find I work better in focused increments.
If I give myself 20 mins, it gets done in 20 mins. If I give myself 8 hours, it will take 8 hours.
So I work for 20 mins, then take a walk or do a task or play with the boys, then work for another 20 mins throughout my day.
For a lot of us suddenly thrust into working at home thanks to the #coronavirus, your day might be filled with conference calls, or obligations that require more of your attention. This is where having a schedule can really help - block out your time for work, and plan something for the kids to do like screen time or meal time, something that will keep them occupied and quiet.
So caveat to having a schedule...
My first day I literally set my schedule, had everything all set up, even color coded it and two hours in my kids had completely different plans and my schedule went to you know where.
Because right then, they needed mommy. And honestly, that was more important.
But, because I knew what needed to be done, I was able to just rearrange w h e n I did it. It's hard to be flexible with a conference call, but what else could you rearrange in your schedule to make sure your work still gets done?
Find Someone to Hold You Accountable
If you're working for someone else, chances are you have a manager or a teammate who's checking in with you on the regular which is awesome. Take full advantage of having someone who understands your position to make sure you're meeting your goals.
If you work for yourself, you might need to get a little creative with this one.
Since the only people I communicate with daily have very limited verbal skills (kids), I make tell my husband everything I want to get done, everything that did or didn't, and what I plan to do the next day. He checks in with me every so often to ask where I'm at in the day. It helps to keep my mind on my tasks without the feel of someone standing over my shoulder to get it done.
But hubby doesn't have the same job as me, he works for someone else.
When I need someone who "gets it," I turn to my fellow indie business owners. I belong to several group pages on Facebook where we can virtually hang out, brainstorm, and set goals.
Give Yourself Some Grace
I know this must seem like a baptism by fire. You feel like you're dropping all the balls, failing at all the things.
Trust me, you are not.
Everyone's routine is off right now, even your kids. Expect some increased anxiety, frustration and misbehavior, from them and from you. You do not need to be perfect at everything all at once. In fact, it's impossible. So stop blaming yourself. Take a few minutes to hide in the bathroom or your bedroom if you need to, breathe, and try again.
YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.
What are some of your go-to work from home tips?