If you’re one of the thousands of moms working online from home due to the pandemic, or as a personal choice, the whole juggle between work and home life can be a challenging endeavor.
But it is possible. By following the tips below, you can parent your kids, keep your house in order and still be able to work from home with as little stress as possible.
- Choose your gear properly. You have to treat your workspace as your office and invest in quality equipment. For example, a good work chair and table can prevent any backache you’d likely get if you just bring your laptop to bed and work there. Pick a monitor that was designed specifically to protect your eye even during long hours. Prioritize this because it can be hard to juggle everything at home if you have a migraine from staring on the monitor for too long, or suffering from a bad office chair.
- Have a routine, but be flexible with it. You should write down your daily schedule from the moment you wake up to your pre-sleep routine. Try as hard as you can to follow it, but be open to the possibility that things won’t go your way. When working from home, it usually doesn’t, so you just have to go with the flow and do better the next day.
- Plan make-ahead meals. If you have the luxury of preparing meals for the entire week, do it on the weekends and save them in the fridge for quick reheating. Not only can this help you get more work done, it also saves you time and money, while ensuring you wouldn’t have to be forced to order unhealthy takeout when you run out of time to prepare dinner.
- Take small breaks. There’s a tendency to stay “working” way past work hours with this setup. When you’re planning your routine, add small breaks into the mix. Make sure there are breaks in the morning, lunchtime and afternoon to encourage stretching and a bit of walking.
- Keep younger kids busy and older kids bored. If you have young kids, you need to prepare activities to keep them busy while you’re working. But if you have older kids, a strict schedule wouldn’t work as effectively. Instead, it is best to leave them with no gadgets and just their imaginations. You’d be surprised at how your pre-teens and teens could keep themselves busy.
- Communicate your current situation with your boss/clients.If you began your work as an office-based position and was forced to work from home under various circumstances, make sure to communicate your situation to your superiors. Tell them that work calls may not be as peaceful with a baby in the house, or that you may not be able to commit to night shifts anymore.
- Respond to work emails and chat messages only during work hours. It’s easy for the work-home life to blend this way. Don’t let it. If you’re done with work “for the day,” make it a habit to log out of your computer, make messaging apps silent, or just simply ignore work emails and messages during non-work-hours.
- Hire help. If you can afford it and you can’t find free help from your family, hiring help may be the best solution for you. “Help” here can be anything from babysitting to cooking your meals that would follow a specific diet.
- Use tools to your advantage. Embrace technology and tools that could help you with your work. For example, an email management program could organize and prioritize emails for you, so you no longer have to sort through them and just tackle the most important ones first.
- Share home responsibilities. Don’t shoulder everything at home. For a work-from-home setup to work, you have to let go of other things on your plate. Maybe this is the right time for you teenager to learn how to cook and prepare your daily meals while he/she is on a school break.
On a related note, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your partner may have an hour or two of free time to help tuck kids into bed or do other chores you have no more time to do. Your mom may be free to help you with preparing meals or babysitting infants or toddlers during your work hours. Your teenage kids may be willing to teach their younger siblings with their homework.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect to work at your normal capacity, especially if you’ve just switched from an office-based to a work-from-home setup.
It can be overwhelming to work at home with kids to take care of, but with good planning, people in your corner willing to help, and a change in mindset, online work can be a worthy endeavor.