If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working from home with kids you know the drill. You face the guilt of not focusing on one because you’re focused on the other. Not to mention your child’s incredible ability to interrupt you at the absolute worse time (every single time).
Whether working from home is your norm, or you’re juggling work while taking care of a sick kid or covering a snow day, our tips are here to help you navigate the challenges and survive the day.
Set Boundaries - and Stick to Them
Creating separation between work and family is critical to work-at-home success. If possible, we recommend creating a physical barrier and making sure your kids know the rules: when the door is closed, they cannot interrupt. The separation of space will also help keep you in the work mind-set. Don’t have a separate room you can escape to (and truly, have you thought about an underused closet as a work-nook)? We’ve found an extra baby gate can come in handy - and keep little hands off important papers! Beyond physical barriers, try to set a routine. Whether that means setting established hours for work (and sticking to them!) or setting short ‘bursts’ of work with goals. Having dedicated time for working will keep you focused and make sure you’re getting enough work done to allow time with family when you’re done.
Early to bed, Quick to Work
Ever heard that the best time to work is while your baby sleeps? Those people were right. So if that’s the case, why not aim for that early bedtime? Of course we recommend sticking with a schedule and not going to bed so early they get up at 3 AM. But if it all possible, try and move bedtime up a bit and take advantage of those early evening hours to crank through some emails.
When in crisis, Mute It
Kids are loud. Who knew? And they have an unnerving ability to be particularly loud precisely when that important call is happening. The mute button is your friend - find it and use it as often as you can. Mark it with a neon sticker if you need. Looking for something next level? Many headsets now come with noise canceling microphones - sadly it won’t stop your baby from crying, but it does mean your manager (hopefully) won’t hear it.
Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Nap times only last for so long. Whether you opt for a nanny, daily care or a few afternoons a week, acknowledge that in order to actually work while you’re home, you will likely need help. If possible, it’s great to have that help take your kid out for a bit - go to the park, go to the library or a class, even a walk around the neighborhood. The quiet time will be hugely beneficial. Bonus tip? When you’re sitter or nanny arrives, go through your ‘goodbye’ routine like you’re actually leaving and then head to your work area, it will help you get into the mindset.