For full-time work-from-home parents, it can be extremely challenging. In short, you don’t have the luxury of having your work life and your home life being two separate things.
For you, both are running simultaneously. Because of that, you need to be clever. We’ve put together 7 awesome tips that will help you optimize your time and be more efficient at work as well as at parenting. Let’s dig in!
1. Find a dedicated workspace
Working at home with kids will push your limits, especially if your kids are really small. Still, the job has to be done. Finding a quiet, remote space in your home and turning it into your designated office is the only way you can expect to achieve a satisfactory level of efficiency.
It doesn’t have to be a massive space, either. All you need is a place where you can focus on your work.
2. Optimize your workspace
As work-from-home parents, it’s easy to compromise with your workspace. That quiet, remote room in your home is just a foundation. To make it truly optimized, you’ll need to buy ergonomic chairs, get a good work desk, and generally make it a comfortable place to be in. You can get all of this done on the cheap, but keep in mind that you’re investing in your own health and efficiency.
3. Create a schedule that works
Working from home sometimes means that you don’t have fixed work hours. If that’s the case for you, you’re in a unique position to make your daily life so much easier. What you need to do is create a schedule that works for you. For instance, if your kids go to school, you can time your work hours so that you work while they’re in school.
Alternatively, you can make a schedule that will allow you to get most of the work done before your kids wake up. The key is to be flexible and, most importantly, realistic.
4. Meal prep when possible
Cooking food for your kids can be time-consuming. If your schedule is tight, and you feel like you’re not finding time to cook every day, there are two things you can do — delegate cooking to your spouse, or meal prep.
Meal prepping means cooking a batch of meals that will last you a few days, or an entire week. This is a great way of getting all the cooking done at once. All your kids have to do is take a plate out of the fridge, warm it up, and they’re good to go. Another perk of meal prepping is the fact that your family will be enjoying home-cooked meals.
5. Keep work life and home life separate
Work-from-home parents get to enjoy plenty of perks, but there are also a few potential issues that can quickly overshadow all the potential benefits. When you work in an office, or any other place of work, you’re usually done when you punch out. Working from home makes it so easy for your work hours to drag on, whether by accident or on purpose.
The only way to counter this issue before it even becomes an issue is to have a defined schedule and to learn how to say no to your employer or clients if you’re running an independent business.
As previously mentioned, don’t let yourself work anywhere other than your designated work space, as this is how both concepts end up bleeding into one. Whether that’s replying to emails in bed, or completing admin tasks on the sofa, it can easily become a damaging habit that seems like nothing but in the long-term can have serious consequences.
6. Give your kids the attention they need
One of the biggest mistakes that work-from-home parents often make, is neglecting to lay out their boundaries with their family members. Having your kids run around the house while you’re working can be distracting, to say the least. Talking with them and letting them know that they can’t bother you with every little thing is a must.
However, you should also make sure that you’re giving your kids the attention they need. In other words, spend time with them either before or after you’re done with work. Make it all about them. Shower them with affection and enjoy yourself. Reminding your kids that they are loved is the best way to have them respect your boundaries and to maintain a healthy family dynamic at home.
7. Do a test run
Once you’ve come up with a schedule and made a plan, do a test run. Take a few days before you start working to put your plan through its paces. While this isn’t a necessary step to setting up a work-from-home situation, it can prove to be extremely helpful.
Giving yourself a few days to test your plan can be enough to uncover some issues that could have impacted your efficiency at work. Also, it’s a good way to see how your kids will react and whether they’ll respect the boundaries you’ve set when you had the talk with them.
Working from home will push you to your limits. Your patience will be tested, as well as your ability to focus while surrounded by distractions. It’s essential that you remain flexible and roll with the punches. Once you settle in, you’ll get used to the new dynamic and everything will fall into place. All you need to do is persevere until that happens.