Holding down a job from home and raising children at the same time isn’t an easy feat. Whether you’re in the baby, toddler, or teenage phase, kids require a ton of time and attention, and it can be challenging to juggle their needs along with work ones. Those of us in the trenches with you can empathize. Fortunately, there are some ways you can increase your productivity and hopefully feel a bit less frazzled too. Read on for seven valuable tips that will help you successfully manage it all every day.
Sometimes when you work from home it can feel like everything blends together: kids, work, and personal. It’s important to set boundaries so you’re more in control and less apt to burn out. Talk to your employer about setting up a flexible work schedule, set designated available/not available times with your partner and kids, and schedule regular dates with friends and for personal activities.
Identify Your Peak Work Times
Before kids, you might have worked the regular 9-5. Nowadays, you have to be more flexible so you can accommodate nap schedules, school pick-up times, and so on. Pay attention to the times of day when you’re generally able to focus on work. Maybe it’s from 8 to 10 in the morning after the bus run and then from 7 to 8 in the evening after dinner. Whenever it is, these are the golden times – take advantage of them.
Batch Similar Tasks Together
Be strategic about when you choose to do things. For example, make all your phone calls in succession so you can knock them out all at once. Or spend one morning catching up on all your personal to-dos so you can spend the rest of your non-kid time that week on work projects.
Tackle the Small Tasks First
This tip is akin to the snowball method of paying down credit card debt (paying off your smallest debts first to gain momentum). Similarly, if you take on your smaller tasks first, you’ll feel great as you check them off your to-do list versus struggling all day to knock off one big task. You’ll be surprised at how effective this little mental trick can be at increasing your level of productivity.
We all know how it is with social media. You only plan on five minutes but end up spending 30, right? When you work and parent from home simultaneously, it’s crucial to avoid tempting distractions so you don’t waste precious time. Consider using an app that limits your social media use, and consciously stay away from any other distractions and their triggers.
Set a Routine for Your Kids
Not only does establishing a routine give your kids consistency, but it also provides you with the expectation of dedicated work times throughout the day. For example, if you spend quality time with your children from 10 to 11 in the morning, depending on their ages, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to go then play elsewhere until lunch. Schedules are your friend.
Be Open to Help
Finally, recognize that when you hold down a regular job from home while also taking care of children, you’re doing double duty. It’s not at all easy, and you can’t expect to do everything perfectly by yourself. Be open to asking others for help, whether it’s hiring an occasional babysitter, asking family members to sit, or arranging a childcare swap with a friend.
As you can see, there are many ways to boost your productivity, even when you’re managing both kids and a job at once. While it can be quite a challenge to juggle all these needs, it is doable – trust us! In the end, the rewards you reap from spending quality time with your children while also growing your career will truly be worth all the stress and hard work.