How to Actually Be Productive While Working from Home With the Kids
Whether you're a full-time work-from-home mom or promised to log in while OOO so you can travel with your family over the holidays, actually being productive while Peppa Pig blasts on TV is no easy task. Here, Pink Peonies blogger and mother of two Rachel Parcell shares the tips that help her get it done.
1. Take advantage of nap time.
I've worked out a schedule where I wake up every morning between 5 and 6 to fit in my daily workout, fix myself breakfast, and even knock out some work before my babies are even up for the day. It has made such a difference in my schedule and given me much more free time than I had before! If early mornings are not your thing, plan for the most productive, focused stretch of your day to coincide with their nap times.
2. Enjoy the little moments.
One of my favorite parts of the day is when my babies first wake up in the morning. I love hearing them and going to get them out of their beds. It's such a special moment for us and I love starting the day with them. Take time throughout the day to enjoy those. If anything, it will allow you to be more focused when you return to your desk.
3. Ask for help.
I have a nanny who helps me on certain days during the week, which makes it possible to stay on schedule, allowing me to get work-related tasks done while I know my two kids are being given the attention they need. If you're not ready to splurge on a nanny routinely, consider saving up for someone to come help you watch the kids for a couple hours during especially stressful work periods, like when you're prepping for a big conference call or have an impending deadline. My family and sisters live close so they help me too, which I so appreciate, but building your network of moms in the neighborhood can go a long way too. Get to know other mothers who stay with their children during the day and take turns overseeing play dates (or nap dates if they're too young) so you can both steal some quiet office hours.
4. Let kids be kids.
You have to pick your battles, especially if you're at home with your kids all day. Sometimes I have to remind myself that they are kids and they don't understand everything, and that's OK. So your teachable moment? Maybe it's okay to bring it up later if you're hard at work on that presentation.
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5. Remember the bigger picture.
Some days may be a bit rougher than others, but whenever I get overwhelmed I tell myself that this is the career path I chose, and I remind myself of the benefits and blessings of working from home.
6. Take little breaks.
Try setting time restraints or goals throughout the day—breaks can be very powerful. Whether you take a break to spend some quality time playing with your kids or to spend a few minutes on yourself, breaks actually make your working time more productive because they give you something to look forward to.
7. Let it Go.
Screaming kids in the background of a conference call is going to happen (at least it has for me). Working at home means completing two jobs at once, and the more you own that, the more those you interface with on a regular basis will come to understand what that means. Just do your best, forgive yourself, and them and move on.