Do you want to become a more productive work-from-home parent? A recent Yahoo Finance/Harris Poll showed that about 40% of Americans were working full-time from their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The option for parents to work via virtual offices using PCs, email, and IM platforms might seem like a practical way to be strictly business at boosting work productivity. Is it the real deal?
The problem is many telecommuting parents might experience new challenges. These include ones related to getting kids ready for school, meals, or bed; flexible work schedules; and Netflix binging. Ironically home-based parents can experience a drop in work efficiency. That’s right!
When doing a balancing act of job and family life here are some helpful tips & tricks:
Tip #1 Make a Home-based Workspace
If you’re going to work from home then it’s important to create a workspace that’s dedicated to your job. There are lots of home-office ideas you can try out.
Keep It Simple
When designing your workspace keep in mind it doesn’t have to include a $200,000 Spiral Desk with several exotic woods. Your home office setup could be as basic as a small desk and laptop computer in the corner. Another good option is a garden summerhouse if you happen to own one.
One of the main benefits of having an official working space is it’s easier to shift into work or home mode.
Tip #2 Get up Earlier for Quality Me-Time
If you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad then consider getting up a little earlier. You should still be getting a full 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night after you pick a mattress that suits your sleeping needs. This means you should be catching Zs a little earlier.
One of the main benefits of waking up early for virtual workers is you’ll have more time for yourself.
You can spend this time taking a warm bath or shower, drinking your morning coffee or tea, or doing some light exercise. A home is quieter early-morning even if you have kids. This makes it an ideal time for more “me time.” It’s also a good mood-booster before you start pulling double duty as a working parent.
Tip #3 Set Realistic Goals You Can Usually Achieve
If other telecommuting friends make social media posts showing they’re achieving all their work, home, and family goals every day—then it might be too good to be true. A clean house, home-cooked meals, and successful business are all possible but it’s more complicated than Instagram photo-sharing.
Set Goals and Get Help
Make sure to set realistic goals as a working parent. They can be challenging but ones you’re likely to achieve with some effort and planning. You should also complete one item at a time on your to-do list and get help when needed.
Tip #4 Get Virtual Help from Distant Relatives
If you have isolated or lonely relatives they might be willing to help through social media like Facebook or virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. This could be for an hour or two daily. For example, a faraway grandparent could help your little one with schoolwork and answer questions.
This frees up time for at-home parents to meet work deadlines and hold Skype or Zoom meetings, for example. If you have a few free relatives who help your kids for 2 hours, for example, that frees up several hours you can dedicate to weekly reports or client calls.
Tip #5: Say ‘No’ to New Work When Necessary
This is a classic lifehack that’s usually related to general time-management advice. An irony is that parents often have to tell their kids “no” when they make a request. However, they often don’t give the same reply about their own workload when they’re already swamped.
Studies show that parent burnout affects up to 12% of Mommies and Daddies, according to Frontiers in Psychology.
Every day you should compare your to-do list with your available time. If you get a professional or personal request that doesn’t fit within your daily schedule then you should say “no.”
Tip #6 Plan out Your Working Hours
Many home-based workers mistakenly don’t schedule their workday. A better approach is to make a schedule and aim to stop working at the traditional 5:00 PM. If you finish earlier then it frees up more family time.
Weekly Work Times
Try to avoid the mentality that you have all day to finish your work. Yes, you have flexibility to work during times that you’ll be the most productive. That could be early morning, late evening, or a few hours here and there between preparing meals for your kiddos and picking them up from school.
Try to create a weekly schedule that includes your working times. This will help to prepare you for a busy day like an excellent mattress selection.
Tip #7: Do Regular Exercise during the Morning
How could taking a morning jog or lifting weights boost work productivity? Home-based working parents tend to spend a lot of time sitting and standing.
Exercise can provide many health benefits that involve your:
- Blood Flow
Doing morning exercise can help to prepare you physically, mentally, and emotionally for a busy day handling your work and familial responsibilities. This can make you a more effective (and healthy) stay-at-home parent.
Tip #8: Avoid Working in Front of Your Kids
This isn’t something you’ll be able to achieve 100% of the time and especially if your kids are toddlers. However, it’s a general rule to make sure you’re 100% “present” during family time.
It all starts with scheduling quality time with your kids during the day. This will help to make sure you’ve scheduled time to be present from the get-go.
When you’re around your kids, try to avoid doing tasks like answering emails or taking calls. Even sitting in front of your computer can blur the lines between work and family life. One of the best steps to take is to close the door of your home office when you’re working.
Tip #9 Be Flexible with the New Setup
While it’s good to make daily schedules and to-do lists, it’s also important to go with the flow. There are times you might have to take work calls during family time. Your work schedule might also change suddenly. The key is to stay flexible about the “new normal.”
Tip #10: Outsource Work When You Can
When you’re an at-home working parent, it might seem that your work never ends. Try to get help when you can from friends, family, or food delivery/cleaning services. You could even outsource some of your job’s work, like data input or design work.
Working from home can be a practical option for many parents. The key to more productivity is to create things like daily schedules, yet be flexible for on-the-fly changes during the day. This provides the perfect blend of planning and spontaneity. You’ll then be more likely to get everything done on your to-do list, including video meetings, soccer practice pick-up, and a good night’s sleep.
About the Author
Brett is a writer at ID-Mag. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Brett dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Brett has probably reviewed them all. Brett also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!