Working from home can be a challenge in itself, as the home very often contains many more distractions than the workplace.
When this is coupled with the needs of small children, it is not surprising that concentrating on the task at hand becomes increasingly difficult. Here are some expert strategies that you can seamlessly integrate into your routine that will ensure you tick off all your daily tasks whilst in the company of children.
Remain flexible in your schedule
Instead of trying to juggle important calls and meetings around your children’s most active times of the day, schedule these for when you think will be the most quietest times of the day such as nap time or after bed time. In conference calls especially, their favourite TV shows blaring in the background may not provide the most effective environment for ideation so instead try to ensure the quietest environment possible. Not only will this be preferred by your colleagues, but you can retain absolute focus on the call.
Incorporate your children into the plan
For the home working routine to work most effectively, the children need to be as aware as possible of the new situation – this could include setting goals for them and providing rewards when they achieve these. Even if you are only working from home for one day, it important the ensure everyone is aware of the boundaries that are in place, especially with regards to noise levels. If they know that when they see mum or dad on the phone to be quiet or play in a different room, it is more likely you will be able to concentrate. To make sure they follow this routine as best as possible, you could trial the process a few times before an important call. Additionally, you could offer incentives to ensure you can work uninterrupted, such as a dinner or snack they enjoy or their favourite day out, maybe to the zoo or park. This way, they not only have more reason to let you get on, but you can then spend a whole day with them afterwards without worrying you haven’t finished your work.
Manage your expectations
For some people, it is easy to block out distractions and work with children on their lap, however, this is not the case for everyone so it is always best to be realistic when planning your to-do list. Small children especially need to have lots of attention to ensure they are safe and occupied and there is always a chance unexpected events will occur. Therefore, try to ensure you can get as much work done as possible, attempt to factor unexpected events into your planning as much as possible. Try to provide your child with enough activities to keep them amused for however long you are planning to work. Young children may not follow exactly the activities you have planned for them but as long as you have placed them in an area with these activities you will be much more confident they are safe.
Don’t forget about you
When planning a working day with children involved it can be easy to forget about the breaks, hydration and food you need for yourself throughout the day. Giving yourself a full lunch break is also a great way to switch off for an hour and spend time with your children to stave off any parent-guilt you may have for working. If you are able to, you could also look into getting childcare for one day a week so you are able to use that day to work peacefully or to give yourself a chance to have a well-deserved break. No parent should be made to feel bad for making use of childcare – looking after yourself looks after your children!
About The Author
Charlotte Baldwin, Operations Manager at IQ Cards:
IQ Cards is a fundraising company that provides schools and establishments with the necessary tools to fundraise via selling high-quality and unique gifts designed by pupils. As part of the established on-demand print and digital solutions provider The IQ Digital House, IQ Cards ensures that all requirements and products are produced to the highest standards, delivered on time and at great value prices. Several of the IQ cards team are mothers and PTA members themselves appreciating and understanding school protocols extremely well. IQ Cards is an approved supplier for Parentkind. For more information please visit: http://www.iqcards.co.uk/