The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has turned our world upsidedown. As families quarantine and practice social distancing, they also struggle with how to manage endless downtime.
But I recognize that working parents are trying to figure out how to work from home and simultaneously entertain and educate children.
WORKSPACES AND HOMESCHOOL SPACES
A few years ago, I homeschooled my son. Most of the time, we traveled but here’s the room I used for several weeks. I simply adjusted the height of my existing desk. We didn’t buy a new desk. My son worked here for 1-2 hours a day and preferred to be near me.
REPURPOSE OR REUSE – DO NOT BUY
Perhaps your kitchen or dining room table is the answer to this temporary situation. Don’t rush out and buy something that will become clutter. Flat surfaces are notorious for attracting clutter. My son actually prefers to work on the floor of my office. He thrives here. Don’t force kids into a desk. A clean floor may be more important.
HOW TO WORK FROM HOME
Take it from someone who has worked from home for over 10 years, you can do it. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t figure it out immediately. It may take a few weeks to adjust and find your rhythm.
For kids, every day does NOT need to be scheduled. Robust lesson plans need not accompany every weekday. One of my clients said it best, “structure with flexibility.”
- Reading is learning.
- Exercise keeps them healthy.
- Legos are creative.
- Board games involve problem solving and math.
TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME
First, I suggest finding a place to designate for work. Even if it means using the liquor cabinet or an ironing board as a desk. Seriously, people are getting creative during these crazy times. This signals to the rest of the house that you’re working. And will help you separate from work at the end of the day. Work and home will run together. There were times when I was too good at working from home.
Depending upon the age of your children, you might need to work near them or move a few toys to your workspace. I also give my son a rough schedule for the day. There are a lot of suggestions online, however, a rigid hourly schedule will come back to bite you. A rough schedule means that mom can meet a work deadline without breaking her promise to bake cookies in the afternoon.
I prefer to break down the day into broad categories. As a working parent, I can’t monitor an hourly schedule for my son and me at the same time.
- Get up early – I’m always more productive in the early hours. Work before the rest of the house wakes up. Tackle your worst task first. Eat the Frog. Save easier tasks for midday when you’re likely to be interrupted.
- Set a start and end time each day and block your calendar accordingly.
- Get outside – A 15-minute walk or shooting hoops is a great transition from work to home.
- Break for lunch with the family – Block your calendar. Take a real break, without the phone.
- Schedule kids’ screentime for mid-late afternoon. Starting the day with non-screen activities is best. Let kids know screens are allowed, but later in the day. Seriously, it works. Avoid the screen uglies.
- Read a book every day – We host family DEAR Time. (Drop. Everything. And. Read.) This is a great time to read that career development book your boss recommended.
- Set boundaries for your screentime.
- How often and when will you check personal email and social media? (Twice a day)
- When will you shut down the work laptop?
- When will you put your phone away and ensure no disruption to family time?
- It’s important to model the screen behavior you expect of your kids. They view your work laptop as a “fun screen” because you spend so much time on it.
- Maintain Your Sanity – Read the CDC website for new information. Check the news just once a day.
Teleworking is the new normal for many parents. And while it can be difficult at first, you might just come to enjoy the flexibility. And you definitely won’t miss the traffic. 🙂
What challenges are you facing with work from home?
About the Author
Amy Slenker-Smith is a member of Rowan Tree. Simply Enough is about helping you to declutter and organize your home. But it’s also about challenging you to live differently. Living simply means creating clutter-free spaces where your eyes can rest. We believe your home should be your sanctuary at the end of a busy day.
Simply Enough specializes in helping busy moms create a beautiful, peaceful, and functional home where families can thrive. We offer video consults, workshops, and hands-on services. Our services will transform your home, calendar, and lifestyle. And calm the chaos of your busy life. #OwnLessLiveMore