As an entrepreneur and director of “Mommy’s daycare”, my one year old and I have had some productive and non-productive days together. Through strategy and often trial and error, I have devised some simple steps in my everyday planning to being productive with work while caring for a child.
Schedule the MOST Important Work during Your Child’s Independent Time
By “independent time” what I mean is time that your child is on their own. Since my child is only one-year old… independent time to me basically means when he is napping. There is not a whole lot of activities that he can do unsupervised. Besides napping, I can get important work done in small amounts if I bring out an exciting activity (like a new toy or coloring). Otherwise, for older children, independent time could be 30 minutes or more of reading, homework, exercise, etc.
Use a Digital Calendar & Set Reminders
It is likely that you are moving room to room and trying to keep up with your kid(s) and work at the same time. Therefore, I highly recommend having a digital calendar because chances are that you always have your phone or laptop with you. Staying digital means that you won’t have to find your paper planner to look up what you have scheduled for the day. Also, if you are synced with home devices or a smartwatch, your reminders will be very convenient and close to you.
Clean as You Go as Much as You Can
After meals and messy activities, try to keep proactive on containing the mess. If it takes two seconds to put the plate in the dishwasher, do it! Do not let the sink fill up and then come to haunt you when your working hours are over. Many cleaning activities could even be done while taking on a business-related call – that is if you can pull it off. For example, quietly cleaning up crumbs while keeping a conversation will help more rather than hurt. However, talking with an important client and hearing dishwashing in the background does not come off too well. Choose wisely if you decide to multi-task!
Change the Scene of Where You Work
Changing your settings is not only good for your mental health, but also creating diversity in your day with your child. If you work every day from the same spot in your home, your child while likely become bored and possibly demand more attention. If you are able to carry your work to different places, rotate locations! If the weather is nice, work on the back patio with outdoor toys for your child to play with. If it is a rainy day, change it up! Move to the bedroom, the living room, and then maybe back to your office or usual spot. If you are confident in a particular work task or project, maybe even take a field trip to a comfortable place where you can still get something done (for example, the playground or the pool depending on the age of your kids).
Designate Family Time –Don’t Answer Those Emails!
This tip is highly important for you and the whole family. We get it – it is hard for you to get so much done at home during the day with the kids running around. But, when work is over, your focus should be your family. Do not continue to check emails and modify files as the night goes on. Put your business calls on do not disturb or silent and log out of the employee portal. Be present with your children and engage with them as if your workplace was out of reach. You will find that prioritizing your family during personal time refreshes you and solidifies your relationships. You will miss less of the important moments!
Ultimately, having a workload and being at home with your kids is overwhelming.
For many, now your home is work and work is home. It is now more important than ever to find a way to cope with the chaos! You may not be able to do all of these things every day and that is ok. What matters is getting through the week and creating a healthy work-life balance.
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