Passing along my latest tips when it comes to working from home and parenting. 10 Productivity Hacks For Work-From-Home Parents!
Be sure to share yours in the comment section below so we can all continue to learn from one another.
Productivity Hacks For Work-From-Home Parents
Finding a flow to your days while working from home and parenting is an ongoing journey. It seems as soon as we get settled in a routine, something changes that causes us to find a new way of doing things. The only thing that has been consistent throughout the years of running KariSkelton.com and being a stay-at-home mom is change! My business has grown and focus changed, our little guy is constantly evolving and growing and his needs are different. The point is – be ready to flip the switch on the plan! It’s just part of it whether we like it or not.
I wanted to pass along what’s working for us right now. Here are my 10 productivity hacks for work-from-home parents!
#1: Be Intentional With Work Time
If you’ve ever felt so busy but really completed nothing – this one is for you. Make a schedule for your work time and stick to it! If you go in with no plan, chances are you’re going to be all over the map and get nothing accomplished.
For example, if I have three hours to work, I look at what the priority is and slot it in. Let’s say it’s a blog post. So for that three hours, I’m doing nothing but writing the post -not checking Instagram or email, or starting supper – I’m writing the blog post. Stay focused and you’ll get more accomplished.
#2: Plan Ahead
You’ve likely heard me preach this one before but I cannot stress enough how much planning ahead and devoting time into scheduling will save you so much time and help avoid so much stress. Whether it’s an hour at the start of your workday or on a Friday night with a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed, devote some time to planning ahead and scheduling. Map out what’s happening that next week, what you’re going to need to make it all work, what commitments are coming up, etc. Having a clear picture of your week ahead is a total game-changer.
Example: I use Google calendar – one for work stuff and one for family stuff. My husband sends me his commitments and I slot those in. Every family member has their own colour code (yes, even the dogs) to make sure everyone’s cups are filled. I then break down each day in a list in Google Keep. If you’re like me, multiple visuals of your schedule help to stay on track. I check things off as we go along and things that don’t get done get moved to a different day.
#3: Maximize Drive Time
Aim to schedule all calls when you’re going to be in your vehicle (hands-free, of course). Whether it’s a meeting, booking appointments, catching up with family – whatever – make sure to have the number you need stored in your phone and use time on the road to have these calls.
If no calls are needed this is when I typically listen to podcasts (or when I’m doing the dishes). 🙂
#4: Make Adjustments
Be ready to change the plan. Sometimes a schedule looks great on paper but you don’t really know how it’s going to work until you live it.
Example: I used to walk the dogs with our little guy Wyatt. I quickly realized that it takes twice as long to do this with a kid. LOL! I could get the walks done in an hour instead of two. I also know that walking the dogs is my self-care time so doing it alone is ideal. Of course, there are days when Wyatt has to join but I aim for most big walks to be done while he’s at school or hanging with my husband.
#5: Set timers
This is such a game-changer! If you have trouble staying on track and can get easily distracted (like me), set timers.
Example: you need to respond to emails, set a timer for 30-45 minutes (or however long you need) and during that time there’s no doing anything else but responding to emails (unless you need to pee). It takes twice as long to do the task if you’re checking your phone or getting distracted by another task.
#6: Stick To Boundaries
This goes for everything. Having boundaries with work time and family time is key.
Example: I schedule time in the day to play with Wyatt and I treat it like an appointment that cannot be changed. So, no meetings, no work, no housework during that time. Only time for him and me. I like to do this right before dinner so his little cup is filled before I go into the kitchen.
#7: Include Your Kids
I know this won’t work every time but if there’s a way to occasionally include your kids in what you’re doing without it causing stress – do it!
Example: if I’m taking photos for a partnership I often have Wyatt there with me helping! It’s such a cool teachable moment to show him my work and get his input. I’ve used his ideas often! He holds the backdrops or even presses the button on my phone to take the picture. It’s a great way for them to feel included in your creative journey!
If your work won’t allow for these moments, just explain to them what you’re doing. “Mommy is writing this report for….”. “In 30 minutes we’re going to (insert fun activity)”. Giving them a time marker to when your time with them is coming.
#8: Quiet Time
When naps disappear but you’re still longing for that time to get stuff done – insert quiet time. Maybe it’s screen time or time alone in their room quietly doing an activity. There’s a whole bunch of research to back up quiet time being essential for your kids and it gives you that time to complete a few things.
Example: We do ours right after lunch and I usually spend about 15 minutes reading with Wyatt at the beginning just to help him settle and to fill his cup before I’m focused on work for a couple of hours.
#9: Plan Activities Ahead of Time
Create a Pinterest board, make a list – however you want to do it but having activities prepped and in your back pocket is so worth it. If you’re stuck in a moment where you need to work another hour and screen time has been maxed for the day – whip out some pre-planned activities!
Example: Wyatt will sit across the table from me working on a Dig Kit or making a birthday card for a friend while I wrap up whatever I need to. I’m mentally prepared for there to be the odd interruption.
#10: Screen Time
Use it but don’t abuse it. There have been days where I need to throw on a movie to get some work done. That’s going to happen and in my mind – it’s okay! As long as your kid isn’t clocking several hours a day in front of a TV or iPad and they’re getting lots of time outside and doing other activities, I believe it’s all good! At the same time, try not to use devices as a crutch. Empower your kids to find other things to do while you work.
Example: I usually provide a few options – you can do a puzzle, colour, or colour sort and line up all of your Hot Wheels. Instead of “go play”. Being specific helps them decide.
Any productivity hacks to add to the list? Share them in the comment section below!
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