The COVID-19 situation, without a doubt, has turned many people's lives upside down. While some find adjusting to the 'new normal' relatively easy, others may not necessarily feel the same way. If you're a parent who had to face a change from working in the office to now working at home, we understand how challenging the transition must be.
Between dealing with tight deadlines, never-ending emails and energetic kids running around the house, the work-from-home lifestyle of a parent is far from easy. So, we're here to help out with a list of tips that'll hopefully kick your productivity up a notch and get you back on the right track.
1. Create a daily routine
True for many things in life, having a schedule is incredibly helpful especially if you want to achieve some level of productivity. As a parent working from home, you should definitely consider establishing one if you want to create an environment at home where you can efficiently get work done. Setting a schedule won't only be beneficial to you, but to others as well. Communicate with your partner about your daily routine and if your child is old enough, include them in the conversation too! By sharing it with them, they can better understand your expectations and workflow which then makes it easier for you to finish assignments.
2. Set up a dedicated work space
This can be any spare room in your house, a desk, or just a partitioned off area of a larger room. Try to eliminate time-wasters so you can keep all work within this area, and make sure you have a comfortable chair and any other gadgets you might need nearby to reduce distractions. Setting up boundaries like this will help maintain the line between 'home' and 'work', and it'll be useful for your kids to know not to disturb you when you're in your 'work zone'. ?
3. Plan and prep meals ahead of time
While you don't necessarily have to plan or prep meals a week in advance (though if you'd like to try, definitely go for it!), all you need is a short window of time to prepare the necessary food for your kids before work kicks in. Without having to commute to work, the free time you've got on your hands now is perfect for getting their breakfast ready and preparing snacks for later in the day. You can even get a jump start on lunch by checking out the contents of your refrigerator and pulling out the ingredients beforehand. By doing this, there's no need to run back and forth from your desk to the kitchen throughout the day. You'll be able to minimize the time spent pondering over what to cook and the snacks you
4. Lean on your family to help
Spending more time with your children is fantastic, but it can also lead to guilt or anxiety if it's taking a toll on your work! If you previously used external caregivers (e.g. babysitters, nannies, or nurses) who can no longer come to your house, you may find yourself shouldering the extra workload of taking care of your kids while jugging your 'regular' work too ? This is the time for you to count on your spouse to help take some of the burden off. You're all in this together, so don't think that you're now
5. Manage your expectations
When working from home, there's a tendency to multitask and more often than not, it hinders your productivity rather than enhance it. Because the thing is, there is always laundry to be done, dishes that get dirty again and endless trail of toys to pick up after. The sooner you realize that you can't do it all, the better your experience of working from home will turn out. Remember that perfection is not the goal and instead of responding to every task thrown at you (both from parenting and work duties), narrow your focus down to a few tasks. If you can get through more than what you planned to do, that's great! Otherwise, invest your energy on a shorter list that is much more doable.
6. Do your tasks in batches
It can be very tempting to use your break between calls to get some household chores done. But switching to parent mode even for just a little while can make it harder to jump back into work mode.
7. Give your children their own task to do
Similar to how you have assignments to work on everyday, set aside a few cool toys that your kids can play with or designate a fun project for them to look forward to. They'll be less likely to interrupt you and you'll be free to catch up on emails and other work related matters.
8. Take advantage of nap time
Younger children typically demand a lot of attention. It can be hard to resist a pair of chubby, outstretched hands and puppy face from your child. So, if this is your reality, then what you can do is to take advantage of their nap times. Once you lay your kid down to rest, it's your chance to kick into high gear and get your work done. Whether it's an hour or three hours, make the most out of this period to complete tasks that require absolute focus and attention.
9. Remain flexible
Sometimes, things don't always go as planned. No matter how much time and effort you spend on making sure everything falls into place, there's no guarantee that it'll run smoothly 24/7. There will be days when accidents happen out of the blue like spilt drinks on the floor to meltdowns, trips and falls. In times like these, you can't help but jump out of work mode and put your parenting hat on to fix the problem. So, give yourself some wiggle room for unexpected situations that are out of your control.
10. Give yourself a well-deserved break
The non-stop news cycle can be anxiety-inducing, and unexpected setbacks can throw you off your schedule no matter how much you plan. If things get disrupted, don't be too hard on yourself if you stumble and need to regroup. ? Give yourself a time-out to rest for a few minutes, and reassure yourself that you're doing your best! ??
Now that you've got this list to help you out, it's time to put them into action and ensure peak productivity when working at home ?