Well, the pandemic isn't going to go away, is it? As soon as people go to the office, they are again slowly closed at home. About six months ago, we already did a lot of material on how to work from home. There I shared the most important, in my opinion, rules and tips that help you work comfortably on the remote and not lose productivity. But what I almost didn't talk about there was the kids. And this is a big, big problem.
The fact is that almost all articles about working from home say: "Make arrangements with your family so you don't get distracted." Haha, yeah, go make a deal with my three-year-old daughter.
The child needs your time and attention.
This is the main problem. Yes, you can shift the focus to another parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, nanny, and so on (I'll tell you more about this at the end of the article), but sooner or later your participation will still be required. Therefore, if you have a child and you work from home, your main tasks are:
- give your time to the child,
- find time to work.
In this article, I will share my experience and ideas that I have not yet had time to experience in practice. Everything so that you can learn how to manage your time properly.
Set a schedule
A schedule is a very important thing when you need to manage your time wisely. Plan what time and what tasks you are doing.
As I have already said, the morning is the most productive part of the day (it is not for nothing that exams are set in schools and universities in the morning), so in the morning it is better to do the most important tasks that require maximum concentration (they can also be done when the child sleeps during the day, but this is not possible for everyone).
Routine tasks, such as checking email, setting up ads, or something like that, can be done whenever you want - even when a child is yelling songs in their own language next to you.
Keep a list of tasks
Multitasking is impossible, but it is very difficult to stop trying to do it. With children at home, it is problematic not only to do several tasks in parallel, but also in general not to get lost in them. Save task lists. And not only working, but also personal: pay the bills, and so on.
To do this, you can use a notepad, a marker board, or special applications, such as WEEEK or Things (these are the ones I use).
Evaluate the timing correctly
Here everything is simple - to make a competent schedule and have time to do tasks on time, you need to understand what task can take how long.
Secure the house
Working at home, sometimes there is an irresistible desire to leave the child to himself, regardless of age, to get yourself 15-30 minutes.
When the child is very small, you can do with a playpen - normal or improvised. Well, he sits there, playing with soft blocks or some other safe toys. And in the meantime, you can more or less calmly do your business.
With age, independent games in children become more and more destructive. Therefore, the children's room (or the entire apartment, if you have a "one-bedroom", as I do) will have to be made as safe as possible. Soften the sharp corners, put window blockers, close the sockets - in general, do everything to check every minute, and whether everything is all right with the child.
Set tasks for your children
I like the concept that children are new "colleagues". That is, you need to interact with them not as an abstract parent, but as a leader.
Like you, a working parent, you have your own list of tasks, and the child should have his own. For children under three years old, this is not relevant, but with older children it is a great help.
These can be both tasks around the house, and some useful, interesting and entertaining activities: from drawing to washing floors. So you'll take the child and free up your time.
Reward your children for good behavior and completing tasks
Like real employees, children need motivation. If your child likes to draw on an iPad or watch cartoons, make it a reward for completing certain tasks: cleaned toys, made bed, or something more complicated.
In general, I am an opponent of the concept of "cartoons are evil". First, I myself watched them as a child in unreal quantities and nothing happened, I grew up a decent person. Second, my daughter by the age of three learned a lot of songs, poems and other educational things, not least thanks to cartoons. That's cool.
Have breakfast, lunch and dinner with your children
As you usually have lunch with your work colleagues, have lunch with your children. Do you remember how much you usually enjoy going from work to lunch to chat with your colleagues? These are the same feelings you need to awaken when working from home.
I don't always succeed, but I try, because I keep the thought in my head all the time:
Working at home with a child is a gift.
Before the full transition to remote control, I worked in the office and sometimes saw the child for only a couple of hours a day. Now I see her every day and watch her grow. It's priceless.
Don't be afraid to close the door
Due to the fact that we live in a one-room apartment, I can not completely isolate myself from the child. But for the rest of you, I have a piece of advice: don't be afraid to close the door to the room where you work - sometimes being alone to focus is just necessary.
Setting boundaries is important. This is a good example for children — so they will understand that without work in their life there will be no toys, no books, no delicious food - nothing at all that they want.
Go to sleep with your child
Many parents take care of their children during the day and work at night. It is not clear where the time for sleep is. Yes, children sleep longer than adults (for example, my daughter falls asleep at 10 pm and wakes up at 8-9 am - 10-11 hours of healthy sleep), but this is still not enough to keep up with everything. And, to be honest, by 11 o'clock in the evening I'm not in a condition to work at all.
Therefore, I am now trying to switch to a different mode: go to bed with the child, and wake up early, around 5-6 in the morning. This should be cool, because the morning is the most productive time. By the time everyone wakes up, I'll have some important work to do.
The downside is that my wife and I usually watch TV shows or read in the evening. And with this sleep mode, there is no time left for TV shows at all. I love TV shows :(
Help and don't be afraid to ask for help
This advice does not directly concern children, but is directly related to them. The point is, you need help. And it does not matter who it will be: wife, husband, mother, father, sister, brother, neighbor, nanny or someone else - you can not do without help.
If you have a normal full-fledged family, divide the responsibilities. In half, if you both work. For example, I always cook breakfast, feed my daughter dinner and put her to bed "at night". The wife does the rest. Well, at the weekend, I take my daughter completely on myself, so that my wife can rest and work on her own stuff.
I hope you spent these 5 minutes not in vain, and some tips will help you work at home more productively, less distracted and do more. Of course, my advice is not limited to everything, and each parent will have something to add. So we will return to this topic again and again.