Many of you have found yourselves in a position no one ever saw coming. Suddenly, you're working from home while the rest of the world is quarantined away, fighting for health and a future full of unknowns.
Perhaps you've wanted to work from home previously, but weren't sure what to do or how to get started, and now you have no choice.
I'm going to share some of my best work-from-home tips for you, as you navigate your way around this uncharted territory. (Especially if you find yourself homeschooling and working simultaneously. It's okay - I've been doing this for years. I've got your back.)
5 Tips For Working From Home (with kids!)
1. Start Solo
Don't use this time to sleep in. Rest is important, but sleeping in to get it isn't going to help you. Get up early and start your day pouring into yourself before you have to pour out of yourself. Whatever it takes to fill your tank first thing in the day, get it done.
I guarantee you this will help the rest of your day for far more smoothly than any alternative. If it's exercise, if it's prayer, if it's reading, if it's sitting in silence - do what you have to in order to fill your metaphorical cup. This is non-negotiable.
2. Serious Snuggles
Once the kids are up, give them your undivided attention. Morning snuggles, quality breakfast time, reading aloud - all of this energy and focus you give them will help carry through the day.
Once they're confident they're a priority for you, the interruptions will come less frequently, as they'll be more confident in finding ideas to foster imagination over reassurance.
You'll be tempted to steal away and work some while the kids are eating - but they'll sense that. Once the morning time is fulfilled, and they're on their way to getting dressed and starting their day, their tanks will be full and you can't ask for anything better!
3. Command Central
Have a designated work area, and have everything you need in that area. When you designate an area for work, your brain is trained when you're in that spot, it's time to work.
If you have everything in that area you'll need (computer, charger, writing utensils, paper, stapler, printer, etc.) you'll spend less time up looking for items you need, and less time up and around is less opportunity for you to become distracted. Organize your space with the essentials to get you through your tasks.
If you set snacks out for the kiddos ahead of time, they'll spend less time asking you to feed them. Kids are hungry 100% of the time. Mine sometimes ask me for snacks while they're still eating their lunch. It's insane the amount of food children go through, and how often they ask for it.
After breakfast, I set out bowls of almonds, crackers, fruit, and they know they can always grab a slice of cheese, salami, or yogurt from the fridge. Having food available for them makes more interruption-free time available for you.
Along those same lines, organize your snacks in your own workspace.
If you're up searching for something to munch on, the kids will come running to you, want what you're having, want to tell you a thirty minute rendition of a two minute conversation they had with their sibling, and they'll undoubtedly ask you for more food, even though they still have bowls of snacks out for them.
If you've got your own [healthy] munchies at your fingertips, you're ten steps ahead of the game.
5. To-Do Tasks
We've all got things we need to get done. Keeping track of your own lists (I recommend this tool) is essential.
While we're all trying to figure out what on earth is going on, and still maintain some sense of normalcy, tasks we don't keep track of will fall through the cracks far more easily. Get them typed, organized, and assigned to completion dates.
As things change and more or less is expected of you overtime, you'll have a proven way to keep track of all you need to get finished between now and the unknown end of quarantine.
Make lists for your kiddos, too. They love to be productive as much as the rest of us! Keep the lists realistic and attainable. You don't want to assign 30 challenging chores to your child - they'll resent you and any list they ever see again.
Make a list of things they can easily do in a morning or afternoon and include tasks and adventures (or something fun, anyway!) Encourage completion of the list with some kind of reward. Don't bribe your kids, and don't sugar them up for doing what you expect them to - keep it worthwhile and respectable. (I let my kids stay up an extra 30 minutes past bedtime if they get their list finished.)
Start with these five tips and see how your work-from-quarantine situation improves. I'll be back with more tricks of the trade soon.