I wasn’t sure how to tackle this issue. With what’s going on in the world, I have stayed knowledgable and open to everyone feeling different and having different emotions. I didn’t want to touch on the virus itself as I am not an expert.
But after many of us have started social distancing and self isolation this past week, I have had an influx of DM’s to my Instagram asking how we handle working from home while we have kids in the house. I can see why you guys would come to us. This is our normal. Though we usually do have the older two in school and day care, we still manage two businesses, tackle renovating this home, all while taking care of a baby. So yeah, we kind of look like experts to the outside office job world.
With all that being said, and without a long winded intro to this blog post, and I am tallying up my top tips for how we personally make working from home work while surrounded by 3 kids.
Create An Office Space
Having a designated space is probably the top of anyone who works from homes list. Not only is this going to help you have the mental stimulation to getting work done when you are in that space, but having a spot that becomes mommy or daddy’s office while the kids are home, let them know that when you were sitting there you are getting your work done. We find this helps tremendously as in the past, I’ve tried to work around the house and the kids don’t have that mental click not to bother me because they don’t think it’s associated with work when I’m not in the office.
Break Your Work Up
I think the main reason we are successful at working from home with the kids here is because we are able to break our jobs up throughout the day instead of working for a certain amount of hours straight. With that being said, if your job is one that needs to be strictly worked from 9 AM to 5 PM, this list of tips may not work for you.
We don’t work straight, get everything done for the day, and then call it quits. We tackle one task at a time during our downtimes which allows for us to get multiple things done throughout the day while also keeping our children alive and fed.
Know The Down Times
The first thing that you should do when building a work from home schedule, is figure out your kids downtimes. This can be your nap schedule, or even just when your kids are usually a bit quieter throughout the day. For example, in the morning our kids love to eat breakfast on the couch and watch TV or quietly play together. They are still groggy from the night before so this is the perfect time to get some things done.
Emmitt also naps twice a day, so those are also built-in to my work schedule. And finally the hour or two before supper starts is usually another quiet time, where the kids are playing up in the bedroom or they are outside.
We also allot 1 to 2 hours after bedtime to finish up any work we couldn’t get done throughout the day.
Make a Daily Task List
Now that you have your work schedule loosely planned out based on the down times, devise a list of tasks that need to be done for that day. I usually start building this the night before and then finish it off during coffee the morning of, adding to it or to tomorrows list as work emails come in.
This list will keep you on track for getting what needs to get done, done, while also allowing you to break up your job in tasks throughout the day.
Know The Tasks You Do Best At Certain Times
This one might be a hard thing to explain and maybe even harder to figure out. But, I know that I write way better first thing in the morning. For some reason my brain is firing and I can get all of my thoughts out on the blog without having to stop and start and try to remember what I wanted to say. Because of that knowledge, I make sure that I schedule my morning down time and nap time work slot for any writing that I may need to have either up on the blog for you guys or into a brand for approval (it’s currently 8 am as I write this). I find I do administrative things before supper really well, as that’s when the emails start to slow down. And after supper, once the kids are in bed, I usually am doing email work and editing.
Knowing this information about how you work is probably one of the Single most life-changing things you could do for your work life whether you work from home or not. I’ve tried writing in the afternoon and my brain just isn’t there, so why waste time trying to tackle a task that doesn’t work with your creative flow.
Let Yourself Relax Through It All
As you probably know being a parent already, if you come into a situation with your kids stressed, it changes the entire vibe of the home. This is hard even for us, especially when we’re working on large campaigns. But, one of the biggest takeaways from being a work from home mom for the last four years is to not stress so much about the work aspect. When you are calm, your home is calm. So yes you may not be able to get as much work done as you would in an office setting, but you’re there and you’re trying and what gets done is enough. When you are less stressed, you allow yourself to get more work done without even knowing it. Your brain focusses on the task at hand instead of all of the negative thoughts about work that it could be focussing on. So think positive and don’t stress.
So, with all that being said, we want to wish you good luck in finding a new normal for the foreseeable future as we wait out this storm and from the bottom of our hearts please stay healthy.