working from home

Striking a balance when working from home with kids

You’re probably at home right now, but it’s likely that the kids are not in school for the time being too. Naturally, as children, they need attention. But, as an adult with bills to pay, you need to do your work.

The magic medium? Balance.

But how do you achieve this?

It can be difficult, but working with the little monsters in the house is very possible. Here are a couple of tips to help you be productive while still having time for family duties.

Set boundaries 

We touched on the importance of remaining professional last week, even if your office happens to be a corner of your living room right now. Oh, and on that note – you should have a designated workspace. This should be somewhere away from where you relax (so preferably out of your room), so your brain knows that it’s time for work when you sit there.

Setting boundaries comes in handy when we talk about children, too. Explain to them that you need to work and send them to another room. Take advantage of technology and put on their favourite TV programmes, or let them run around in the garden. This will enable you to get more done without distractions.

Schedule time with them 

As we said in the intro, your children will naturally want your attention at some stage during the day. And you should schedule some time to give them that.

Think about how long they’re going to be away from school for. You know from personal experience that while that seems like heaven for the first few days, the novelty wears off fast. They will probably get bored and when that happens, they’re more likely to be irritable.

Keep a consistent schedule each day, so they know when they can expect you to be with them. And plan a range of activities too. Homeschooling and hiking are two ideas. This will both their minds stimulated and keep them satisfied too.

Be present in your current task 

This is something that you should be doing anyway. While you might have a lengthy to-do list for the day, you’re only human. You can only do one thing at a time and if you try to multitask, the quality of your work will suffer.

Prioritise your tasks and don’t move onto the next until you’ve completed whatever you’re already doing.

Some days, you may find that you only complete two or three items on your checklist. But as long as those were the most important ones, that’s okay. You’ll find that you produce better-quality work if you immerse yourself in one thing, rather than jumping around.

Final thoughts 

Planning and balancing are two of the most important things to being productive while working from home with children around. Make it clear when you can spend time with them and when you need to put your head down and get things done.

Children in particular need to be stimulated. Ignoring them and telling them to go and watch Spongebob for six months is not only going to make them restless – it’s also bad for their development.

Be present with whatever you’re doing. If that’s completing a project, then put all of your attention towards that. But if you’re teaching your children, then focus fully on that. Keeping these thoughts in mind will lead to you being more productive and a more peaceful household too.

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