In a bid to keep a rampaging virus at bay, working from home is now the reality of many professionals and parents. However, the transition from the office to a home office is a tricky one. While it presents abundant flexibility and comfort, it is easy to get lost in its perks and lose focus. And if children are in the picture, distraction is inevitable.
But not to worry, there is a way around this hurdle and we are about to teach you the ropes. At the end of this read, you will master the art of working from home, children or not!
Let’s get started!
1. Maintain Your Routine
Working from home doesn’t mean your corporate routine has to change. If you woke up and prepared for work at a certain time when you were working in an office, stick to that time. If you took lunch breaks at 2, take the same lunch break from your home office or workspace. Dress for work like you would on a regular workday because one, it helps you get in the zone, and second, looking good is good business.
But if you find it difficult to stick to your routine, you can schedule a new one, hinged on feasibility and practicality. Admittedly, the first few weeks or even months may be challenging, but with time, you will warm up to your new workspace and routine and won’t even miss your daily commute to work or the hum of your colleagues.
2. Set the Mood with Your Commute Time
Commuting to and from work marked your transition from home to office and vice-versa, which took some time. Your new status quo means you now have some extra time on your hands to do “whatever”. While it might be tempting to use this time to sleep in, use the minutes to set your work mood.
Listen to a podcast, meditate, exercise, read a book and just do whatever prepares you mentally and physically for a work-filled day! Exercise in particular stimulates the release of endorphins that enhance focus and cognitive function; two core ingredients for a productive day. But if there are days you must absolutely sleep, please do (because you might never get that opportunity again!)
3. Draw the Line Between Mom and Office Duties
In other words, separate your roles as a mom and a professional! Maintain a clear distinction between both duties. Set time aside for each role without devaluing either. A good way to do this is to carve out a different space for work (assuming you don’t have a designated home office). Yes, your living room or bedroom is far from a corporate office and is full of distractions like TV and noisy kids.
Though space restriction may be an issue, try to stay away from areas that hold plenty of distractions. Replicate a similar environment to your office so you can work with minimal interruptions. Your workspace should be neat and clutter-free and bright lighting can mimic the feel of a corporate office. And more importantly, it has to be a kid-free zone.
4. Take Advantage of Nap Time
When creating a schedule for work and mom duties, factor in nap time. Note the time your kid (s) usually takes a nap and use this blissful period to get some meaningful work done, especially those tasks that demand absolute concentration and focus.
A bonus tip is to keep your kids engaged and entertained while you work. Distract toddlers with toys or playdates and the older ones with some simple DIY craft for kids. When they are busy themselves, they will be less likely to bother you.
5. Prepare for Unwarranted Distractions
Let’s be realistic, working at home is fraught with many distractions and when you can do your best to minimize this, they can rear their ugly heads at the most inconvenient time. Your husband, kid, or even neighbor next door can come in unannounced or yell something unprofessional (because it is easy to forget that “mommy” now works from home).
One piece of advice: Use the mute button when on conference calls to avoid unpleasant surprises. Also, make your kids and close ones understand when and why you must not be bothered when working. Use a do not disturb sign if you must, or tie something to your door that signifies you are working and should not be interrupted.
Working from home especially for moms is not the easiest, but with the right plan, you can get a handle on it. You can also seek more inspiration and motivation from blogs for working moms if you are feeling frightened and overwhelmed. But hopefully, these tips will suffice!