21 TIPS & HACKS TO BE PRODUCTIVE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME WITH YOUR KIDS AT HOME
You are at home, you are working from home (or at least trying to as humanly as possible), your kids are at home, your partner is at home, and you are homeschooling your kids at home (or at least trying to as humanly as possible).
Everything but life itself has been canceled for the foreseeable future!
Nobody saw it coming, and nobody signed up for it, and yet, here we all are… trying to figure out this new normal of co-existing with everyone in each other’s face 24/7 (cooped up inside the house).
You are locked up inside the house, you are trying to teach your kids, you are trying to feed your kids, you are trying to fight the germs, you are trying to keep everyone at home healthy.
Your kids are not themselves right now!
And you are most definitely not yourself right now!!
You are losing your s*** (and there’s not enough toilet paper for that, whoops!) 😮
If you are yet to check out my 11 foolproof tips to be productive while working from home then please read that blog post first and then proceed to read the below.
- How to stay positive and productive during these unprecedented times
- Coronavirus precautions, do’s, don’ts, and best practices
- 50+ Kids Activities & Ideas, plus more here, here and here
- 100+ Freebie Educational and Entertaining Resources for adults and kids
- Inspiring quotes to overcome stress and keep pushing forward
- How to self-care during the Coronavirus pandemic
- Tips & hacks to increase productivity while working from home
Everything is completely new, and yet, everything is still the same old, same old…
It’s panic mode ON!
It’s utterly and completely overwhelming!!
But the good news is, you are not alone, everyone is in the same boat as you!
We are losing our sanity #aparttogether :-/
Yep, scarier times have never been witnessed before (at least not by this generation).
But the great news is, most of us have our loved ones at home, and we get to spend these precious and uninterrupted times with our kids and partner. Probably something that will never happen again (hopefully not, at least not this way)!
So we all have a lot to be thankful for!
We will figure it all out.
And we will all survive #aparttogether
If you too are on the #strugglebus with this new reality of working from home with your kids at home (and your partner at home), then these productivity tips will help you restore some of your sanity, I promise, but only if you promise to give these tips and suggestions a try with all your heart and try to implement them as best as you can.
So, let’s go…
And if you did not hear it the first time, I repeat that you are doing a great job, so cut yourself some slack!
21 TIPS TO BE PRODUCTIVE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME WITH YOUR KIDS AT HOME
But first, read the (basic) 11 foolproof tips to be productive while working from home before you consume the below tips.
12. MAKE YOUR KIDS REALIZE THAT THEY ARE IMPORTANT
Who else got a dose of your kids screaming (at the top of their voice) in the background when you were on that important video meeting?
If we are being honest then most everyone got a taste of it this the past few weeks. Unless, your child is a saint, then lucky you, I guess!
The thing is, kids need our attention, lots of it, especially when we have other important things to tend to. So they do what they do best to get your attention, and luckily for them it almost always i.e. 100% of the time works.
So be proactive and make sure that your kids know they are extremely important to you, but you still got work to do during work hours. When you are done with work or even during work (based on your schedule) give them your undivided attention and spend some quality time with them.
The more you do this the more they will be willing to leave you alone when you need to hop on that important work call.
13. BE FLEXIBLE
As much as I stress in this post about having a schedule and sticking to your routine, I know all too well that with a kid(s) in the picture things are always unpredictable and no matter how prepared you are, there will always be something that will come up and throw a wrench in your plans.
Which is totally ok!
Just take a deep breath, walk away from the scene for a minute or two (if you are able to), let it all out, and then come back to it with a calmer frame of mind.
Bottom line, create a schedule which gives you some room for error and one that can be easily tweaked and modified as and when needed.
14. DIVIDE & CONQUER WITH YOUR PARTNER
Set some ground rules (expectations) and discuss with your partner how you two can split time between work and taking care of the kids (among other things).
Identify time slots that are flexible as well as slots that are DO NOT DISTURB. This way you know when the other person can step in to help out if needed and when you simply cannot afford to go crying for help.
Also, have separate workspace setup (if possible).
What works best for Vinay and me is that we have tried to stick to our old routine with our little one when it comes to morning and evening schedules, and for the rest of the day we take turns and split the work (for the lack of a better word).
For example, Vinay takes care of the morning routine and tries to keep our little one engaged until about 1, and I take over after that and continue into the night.
And between us, we alternate feeding him lunch between 1-2 pm (cuz he is a PIA to feed, no joke). And whoever feeds lunch also ‘tries’ to have him take a nap for a couple of hours after lunch (some days we get lucky and some days we give up, lol).
This rough schedule works great for us and we switch things up as needed based on upcoming deadlines, calls, meetings, etc. Also, these basic relationship practices help us always together as a team, sure we get mad at each other once in a while (but which couple doesn’t? ;))
Sometimes (once a week more like), one of us takes care of the little one all day long while the other gets a break from parent duties and can fully focus on work and vice versa. This has made a huge difference for us and our sanity!
15. GET AN EARLY START TO THE DAY
Wake up earlier than your kids and family to complete the most important work-related task(s) for the day.
This way you get that uninterrupted time to focus on projects that require your 100% attention. And you do not have to be stressed about getting it done during the day amidst all the chaos.
You might probably hate me for suggesting that you wake up early, but it is essential for your own sanity.
Plus, this would be a perfect time to get into the habit of waking up early if you don’t already do that.
P.S. Almost all highly successful people are early birds, just saying! 🙂
P.P.S. I still wake up between 4-5 AM daily, Coronavirus and quarantine or not, again, just saying!! 😉 I used to wake up even earlier than that but I am trying my best to get 7 hrs of sleep this year and sticking to it for the most part.
Read these tips to set yourself up for success. Working from home or not, these tips are sure to help you grow and succeed.
16. TIME BATCH YOUR WORK
Utilize nap times and other sleep times to get tasks of similar nature done. This also implies to the duration of the time when your partner is in charge of taking care of the kids.
Dedicate these times to tasks that require your 100% focus and energy and get those out of the way before you have to take over.
And if you have older kids set some ground rules/boundaries and let them know that this is a ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ time and hang a sign outside your ‘home office’ door to make sure no one bothers you at that time. Also, holds true for times when you are on important calls, etc, get that DND sign up, even if it is outside your time batch schedule.
Read more about time batching and task batching here. Something to practice and get in the habit of regardless of the current situation we all are in.
Being organized and disciplined is really the key here.
17. LET GO OF THE (MOM) GUILT
Do not be hard on yourself and do not feel guilty that you are not doing enough!
The reality is, even though schools and colleges are closed, us parents still have to work, and parents with school-age kids still need to homeschool our kids.
This is a lot to juggle especially with everything else going on. So don’t try to get everything done and end up guilt-tripping yourself when you are unable to do every.single.thing you want.
You won’t ever be able to do both at the same time, i.e. work as well as spend time with your kids, and that is perfectly ok. Let’s be practical and accept that!
This is also a teaching opportunity for you as a parent, not stuff from their school syllabus, but real-life syllabus (that is not written anywhere). How you deal with the current situation sets a great example for your kids, they are seeing you and they are learning from you.
If you come from a place of guilt then neither will you be doing justice to your work and kids nor will you yourself enjoy the whole process, you will simply allow that (mom) guilt suck the joy out of your day!
So please please let go of that (mom) guilt, now and forever. I know it is easier said than done, but it’s the only way to set the right example for our kids.
18. TEACH YOUR KIDS HOW TO BE INDEPENDENT
Piggybacking on the above point, this is also a great time to teach your kids how to be independent, a much-needed life skill to succeed!
Plan playtimes and activities when your kids can play/learn by themselves for a certain amount of time.
And rotate between their toys/activities that you plan for them. This way they will find the toy/activity interesting for longer periods of time and will keep themselves busy.
Plan virtual playdates with their friends where they can keep each other busy.
Not only will all of this keep them engaged and entertained for a while but it will also allow you to get some work done.
P.S. Depending on your kids age, now is also a good time to involve them in helping you with small/big chores at home.
19. TAKE REGULAR BREAKS AND ENJOY QUALITY TIME TOGETHER
If both your partner and you can afford to take a break at the same time then do so and enjoy some quality time together with your kids during your workday.
That could be enjoying mealtimes together or playing a game or two before you have to get back to work.
I say this because everybody would have lost it by the end of the day (especially given the current circumstances) and nobody will bring their full energy to the table. All Everyone wants to do by the end of the workday is simply crash on the couch.
So if you are able to then use break times to connect and bond with your family.
20. ENJOY THESE PRECIOUS MOMENTS
This is probably the only time when we will all get to be in each other’s faces all the time and love on each other.
I mean, when else will us parents and kids all get to be at home for weeks together (maybe even months?) at a time?
So enjoy this unusual bonding time and all the little memories you can now make with your kiddos and loved ones.
Granted, it is a bit too much of each other trying to get it all done. But it is what it is so we may as well make the most of this time (and make history while at it)!
21. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
If it doesn’t matter in a day or two then it should NOT matter today!
The house is always messy, let it be, don’t let that bother you, clean if you can and let it go if you don’t have the time or the energy for it!
The kids are fighting with each other, it’s ok, they are siblings and it’s what they do! They better learn to sort out their issues among themselves, sometimes you have to exhibit tough love!
They are throwing more tantrums than usual? Of course, they will, cuz they are locked up inside the house and they need to burn that energy somehow. I mean, us adults are throwing tantrums too, in our own way!
At such times of tantrums, put down your phone, close your laptop and give them the 5-10 mins that they need, it will be worth it!
If they have to spend more time on the devices than what is originally allowed for at home, it’s ok, this is only temporary. Just make sure that they know this is a temporary luxury and that they cannot expect the same when this is all over.
Whew, now that is quite a list of tips to increase your productivity while working at home with your kids at home.
I sincerely hope that these tips and suggestions are going to help you tackle some of the areas you are struggling with as you are settling into this new routine of working from home with your kids at home.
Bottomline is, working with kids at home is not easy, it is challenging and it is overwhelming, there is no denying that! So we can all only hope to do our very best!
And this is all a trial and error, we live and we learn. Some days will be tougher than others, so identify What is working? What is not working? How can you improve things? What needs to be changed? Etc.
Right now the real challenge in front us is not to ensure that our kids learn everything they would if they were to go to school, but to ensure that they are fed, that they are healthy, and that they are safe!
As I have been saying over and over again, focus on what you can control…
And as we all juggle working, parenting, and homeschooling, let’s be grateful for this opportunity and embrace the extra uninterrupted time that we are getting with our kids and partner because this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Things will get better, hang in there mommas (and dads), we got this!
“You can go to work or you can be the boss.”