Working from home as a parent can be both a blessing and a curse. You have the freedom to work when and where you want, but it can be hard to stay focused with all of the distractions around you. Here are some tips for staying productive while working from home as a parent.
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1. Establish a routine for your work and your kids
If you’re a work-from-home parent, you know that productivity can be a challenge. After all, it’s hard to focus on your work when your kids are running around the house or when you’re constantly being interrupted by requests for snacks and homework help.
However, there are some simple things you can do to boost productivity and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- First, establish a daily routine for yourself and your kids. Decide what time you’re going to start working each day and stick to it.
- If your kids are babies or toddlers, start exploring independent play ideas.
- Let your kids know when it’s time to focus on schoolwork or playtime so they don’t interrupt you while you’re trying to get work done.
- Make sure to schedule some breaks for yourself throughout the day so you can recharge.
- If your kids are younger or not in school, decide whether you’ll get up early to work before your kids are up or if staying up after they’re in bed works better for you. One or the other – try not to do both so that you don’t overwork yourself unless you’re really grinding for a deadline.
- Explore block scheduling if you’re into paper planning or digital planning. Block scheduling is a little more forgiving than trying to plan your day minute-by-minute which doesn’t tend to work well when you work from home with kids around.
By establishing a routine, you can create structure in your day and make it easier to get things done.
2. Create a workspace that is conducive to productivity (if possible)
There are a few things you can do to create a workspace that is conducive to productivity.
First, try to find a quiet spot in your house where you can focus on your work. If possible, set up a dedicated work area with a door that you can close when you need to concentrate. Soundproofing foam panels can help nullify random noises for video calls.
Dealing with sound in a small home: If your home is really small like mine is and it’s hard for you to get away from the noice, grab some sound-proof headphones so that you can escape the loud noises that are commonplace in houses with kids, pets, washing machines, etc.
Just make sure that your kids are safe and that anything you don’t want them to get into is out of reach. This is what I had to do for a while because I could not close the door and work alone – I needed eyes on my kids all day for the first few years of working from home with them.
Take some time to organize your space so that everything you need is within reach. Avoid having to get up and look for things throughout the day to save up to an hour per day.
Make your space as comfortable as possible, too. Put a pillow on your chair, have a blanket or hoodie nearby if you normally get cold, light a scented candle or burn some wax melts for an uplifting or energizing scent.
Schedule some “me time” into your day so that you can take breaks and recharge. Whether that’s making time for hobbies (it’s important – read this to find out why) or indulging in some self-care, make time for yourself daily even if it’s just 15 minutes.
3. Take breaks to boost productivity
It can be tempting to try to squeeze in a few extra hours of work while the kids are napping or watching TV, but research suggests that taking breaks can actually improve productivity.
When we take breaks, we give our brain a chance to rest and recharge, which can lead to more creative and innovative thinking. And when we’re more productive, we can spend less time working and more time with our families.
If working during naps works for you in your current season of life, though – please do it! It definitely works well for some households. I did that when my kids were babies and stopped when they were around 3.
4. Set realistic goals and deadlines
Being a work-from-home parent comes with a unique set of challenges. On the one hand, you have the flexibility to design your own schedule and take care of your family at the same time.
On the other hand, it can be difficult to stay focused and motivated when there are so many distractions at home. One way to boost productivity as a work-from-home parent is to set realistic goals and deadlines.
Having specific targets to work towards will help you stay on track, and being held accountable to a deadline will ensure that you don’t get sidetracked by other tasks.
Of course, it’s also important to factor some flexibility into your schedule, as there will inevitably be days when things don’t go according to plan. However, by setting realistic goals and timelines, you can help ensure that you make the most of your time working from home.
5. Stay organized, including digital organization
One of the most important productivity tips for work-from-home parents is to stay organized. This includes both physical and digital organization. A cluttered desk or inbox can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.
To avoid this, take some time each week or month to declutter your space and organize your files. This will help you to be more productive when you are working from home.
In addition, try to set aside some time each week to plan for the upcoming week. This will help you to stay on track and avoid getting overwhelmed by daily tasks. By taking these steps, you can maintain a higher level of productivity while working from home AND parenting.
6. Master the weekly meal plan and meal prep to save hours per week
As any work-from-home parent knows, productivity is essential. And one of the best ways to be productive is to meal plan and meal prep. By taking the time to plan out your meals for the week, you can save hours each week
Meal planning lets you take advantage of sales and discounts, and it helps you make sure you have all the ingredients you need on hand. It also means you can batch cook meals, so you have less cooking to do during the week.
And when it comes to meal prep, there are a few different approaches you can take. You can cook all your meals in advance and then freeze them. Or you can cook some components of your meals in advance, so all you have to do during the week is assemble them.
Whichever approach you choose, master the weekly meal plan and meal prep to save yourself hours each week.