Whether it’s half term, lockdown, illness or the summer holidays, working with children around can be tough. Read our tips for staying motivated and productive - and sane! – when working from a busy home…
If you’re a parent, then it’s likely that at some point (especially during the last 18 months) you’ve had to work with children at home. While working from home means you have more flexibility to be there when your child needs you, it rarely means that work stops.
So what can you do to get the best out of your day with the little ones in the house (other than locking yourself in the bathroom, that is)? We’ve compiled six tips to keep everyone happy so you can tackle your to-do list.
Chat to your family and explain how much work you will need to do and that there will be times when you’re off-limits. Agree on a plan - maybe you want to be flexible, working as and when you can throughout the day or, if you prefer structure, a daily schedule for the whole family might work better for you. You could set times that you will work, eat and take breaks.
Don’t expect too much and try not to stress when things don’t go to plan. Allow yourself a bit of wriggle room, you’ll soon find a way that works for both you and your kids.
For young children, try getting up and starting work early - having a bit of work under your belt can ease the stress when you take a break later in the morning. Then, you can catch up when they sleep, eat or are happily watching their favourite TV show.
Make a List
Be realistic about what you can get done. Setting too many tasks can be overwhelming so think about which ones you can do during quieter times. If your partner is around, swap so you each get time alone to focus on important tasks.
Multi-platform sites like Google Docs can be helpful if you have a young child - if you get trapped on the sofa during naptime, you can log on from your phone and make use of the time.
Set Up a Workspace
We don’t all have the luxury of an office, but try and set a space where you work so the children know when you’re off-limits. Try to log out and put everything away when it’s family time, so you’re not tempted to reply to an email or schedule another meeting.
Take a Break
It’s easy to lose track of time when you work from home, so maybe set an alarm so you don’t forget. By giving your children quality time when they can talk and play with you – even if it’s just for an hour here and there - they are more likely to play nicely on their own so you can make important calls.
More people at home means more washing, cooking and cleaning so make sure everyone does their bit - if you have older children, you could draw up a schedule with a task to do each day.
Go Easy on Yourself
Try not to worry if you don’t get as much ticked off your list as you’d hoped. Catch up where you can, during the evening or early the next morning and set realistic targets for the next day.
Don’t feel bad when you give your child their favourite toy, the iPad or turn on their favourite film at times when you need peace and quiet to concentrate. It’s important to cut yourself some slack - we’re all doing our best!
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