Do you find it a struggle working when the children are around? If so, know that you are not alone. It is something many parents face, particularly when the children are young. You don’t want to miss out on that precious time, but you do still need to earn a living.
It’s something that is even more difficult to juggle, when you work from home. You may be able to shut yourself away in a home office, but children don’t always understand that a closed door means you need privacy!
So, if you’re looking for some simple tips to help you be more productive and stay sane, as you work from home, here are some tips that will help!
#1: Working when the children are around? Plan your time in advance
It’s crucial that you get into the habit of planning your time in advance. If you know what you need to do, you ensure you’re focused and productive, no matter how long or short your available working time is. So hold yourself accountable to your goals and plan accordingly.
#2: Set boundaries about work and downtime
It can take a little time for children to understand boundaries, but it’s something worth implementing, if you want to minimise distractions. So, what can you implement, to help set boundaries around your work time? You could hang up a sign that helps them pause and reflect, before they interrupt you, or you could let them know that a closed door means you’re not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
#3: Be realistic with your expectations, if working when the children are around
You need to exercise a certain amount of flexibility if you’re working when the children are around. The reality is you may not get as much done, so ensure you’re focusing on your priority goals first and implement a routine that works for you. Be realistic about what you plan into your working day and look to minimise how many hours you work, so you can spend more time with your children.
#4: Create a schedule for yourself and the children
When you work from home it can be hard to switch off at the end of the day. That’s why it’s essential to have a schedule in place, for you and the children. It helps them to see when they’ll be seeing and spending time with you, and it enables you to establish healthy boundaries and know when to down tools and have some fun.
#5: Work in short stints of time
It can be helpful to work in short stints of time, rather than planning mammoth work sessions. This helps alleviate any stress you may feel, if you need to break into parent mode and go solve an issue (or stop your children fighting etc!). Working in 25-minute bursts is also a great way to ensure you’re focusing on the task at hand and staying productive with your time.
#6: Work when they’re asleep (early, late, nap times)
If you want to minimise distractions, it could be worth working around their sleep times. This is especially useful if you have a young child who still takes regular naps. Getting work done before they wake in the morning or later when they go to bed, can also work really well.
#7: Set them a challenge and reward system
This can be a great way to keep your child occupied whilst you work. Simply set up a system whereby they complete a challenge, in return for a reward. Simple challenges could include reading a chapter or two of a book, tidying their room, painting or drawing, or even watching a film or TV programme for a set amount of time without disturbing you. You can incentivise them to complete it, by offering some good rewards – such as x amount of screen time, taking them to buy ice cream or going on a family outing.
#8: Get help in for the Children (nanny, parent)
Make use of the natural support system around you, as well as those family members who want to spend time with your children. Grandparents are great for this, as they get to spoil their grandchildren, but also think about aunts and uncles, and other family members. And of course, if you have a partner, maybe you could take it in turns to entertain the children whilst the other parent either works or has some much-needed downtime.
#9: Organise a playdate or swap with another parent
If you have children there’s a good chance you know of other parents who are in a similar boat as you. So why not organise a playdate where you can take it in turns to look after each other’s children, so the other person can get some work done.
#10: Get help in for your work
Just because there’s work to be done, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it yourself. Bring in some help. This can include roping in family members to help you or hiring a Virtual Assistant to take some of the tasks off your plate. So, think about the free and paid options that are available to you.
It’s not always easy working when the children are around. Holidays can cause a headache for many work from home parents. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many options available to help make it easier for you – from careful planning through to outsourcing. So, see what options best suit you and implement a strategy that works for you. And if you’re looking to outsource, reach out and let’s chat. We have a range of solutions that could work for you, whether you’re looking for short or long term help. Simply get in touch and let’s discuss your options – you’ll find our contact information here.