So, you’ve landed a job, and the best part is that you have clearance to work from home.
But you are a mum and have kids who are probably on a break and home all day.
In search of sure ways having them around will not disturb your work from home schedule?
Well, you can stop now; below are a few ways to keep your kids occupied so you can get your work done.
1. Have The Talk
Assuming they’re old enough to keep themselves occupied, explain the situation and that you’ll need to remain focused throughout the day with minimal interruptions.
Communicate to them that they are a part of the team and their role is to help mommy remain productive.
To minimize this risk, run through a series of simulations to prepare them. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but it’s worth a shot.
They could resemble prompts like:
- If the phone rings and mummy quietly steps into the office, do you run after her screaming. Quietly have a seat and wait for her to end the call.
- When the door is unlocked and you come in and notice mummy on the phone, you are to stay calm until she drops the phone.
- If mommy is staring at the computer screen, typing or writing something down on a sheet of paper, do not interrupt. Wait for her to lift her face and then you can tell her all you want.
Over time, they will get the hang of things and let you have a quiet time when you desperately need it. But until this happens, keep practicing.
2. Set Up Playtime’ Accordingly
Have a designated time slot set aside for when you are most productive and use this for the kids’ playtime.
Set aside a few cool toys for your kids to play, or have tablets or ipads available for mobile games.
Nobody says no to mobile games, and is totally acceptable to use that to your advantage.
3. Designate An Area For Your Home Office
You definitely don’t want to completely isolate yourself from the children if no one else is around to tend to them, but the kitchen table won’t serve as the optimal work space, either.
Search for a well-lit area in your home, preferably a spare room with a door, that will enable you to organise your files, stay on task, and minimise interruptions.
If you have a playroom or designated play area, then let your kids use that space while it’s work time for mommy.
Make sure you set up a home office area for yourself that allows you to work and focus comfortably. This separation of space also makes it easier to “draw the line” and set boundaries.
4. Use Technology To Your Advantage
Whether it is movie time or game time, kids love it! So, use this wisely.
There are several websites that are educational and allow your children to be entertained at the same time. Try sites like pbskids or sesamestreet.
Also, remember the right television works like magic.
Put on the newest Disney movie when you’re on a strict deadline or don’t want to be disturbed in any way.
5. Always Have A Backup
Indeed, it is realistic to understand that sometimes our children just want attention, and there is nothing wrong with that.
For this reason, it is best to have a trusted babysitter or better still, discuss with your spouse to have him handy for the days where you must work from home and get work done.
Remember, for maximum productivity, you cannot afford to be distracted for too long.
6. Offer Rewards
Set goals for your children to keep them occupied.
If they successfully meet the target, offer them a reward.
When all else fails, this won’t.
Whether it’s 1 hour of uninterrupted YouTube streaming, popcorn and a movie, or pizza and ice-cream, once they earn it, deliver on your promise.
7. Work The Graveyard Shift
As the old adage says, desperate times call for desperate measures.
If you’ve had a rough day at the home office and are on the brink of missing an important deadline, pull an all-nighter.
Before doing so, take a power nap to boost your energy levels for the long night ahead.
Don’t make this a habit since sleep deprivation has negative side effects, like decreased productivity levels.
8. Use Your Time Wisely
Do you have an infant or toddler on your hands?
Naps may be a part of their daily routine, but they don’t need to be a part of yours.
As tempting as it may be to unwind for an hour or so midway through the workday, you totally have to stay on track.
You’ll more than likely be surprised at how much you can accomplish in an interruption-free zone.
9. Flex Distractions
If a kind neighbour, friend or relative stops by unexpectedly for a few hours to give you a break, make the most of your time by using it as a window of opportunity to tie up any loose ends or get a head start on forthcoming projects.
Especially when you have deadlines to meet, restrain from seeing this as time to relax and gist.
Besides, it’s more fun and relaxing to hang out when you don’t have a ton of items on your to-do list that are roaming in the back of your mind.
10. Take A Pause
Occasionally, it helps to rid yourself of any internal guilt and take a break!
Take your kids on a walk, sit for a movie, bake cookies, walk the dog, or even play catch.
Regardless of the activity you choose, they will be grateful and stay out of your way when work resumes (hopefully).
11. Plan Ahead
Always add a few hours to each project and avoid waiting until the last minute to get started.
If possible, take control of your schedule by establishing your own internal deadlines, because you never know what each day will bring when you have kids in the house.
Should any accident occur, and your kid need’s your attention, of course you’d choose your child over any project or client.
However, the emergencies that can be saved thanks to effective planning and avoidance of procrastination, will sure be rewarding.
12. Become An Early Riser
This is the perfect opportunity to cross a few items off your task list and have a good head start before the craze sets in.
Even on days you are not exactly in the mood to start working at four o’clock in the morning, you can use the time to get things organised for the day and do a few chores around the house.
You can’t ignore them all day long, so why not early in the morning when no one’s in your way to create more messes or disrupt your flow?
13. Hire A Nanny
You understand your schedule and you know your kids like no one else.
With a busier to-do and more active kids, there might not be so much you can do.
However, getting the service of a nanny who can just step-in for a few hours each day to keep the kids occupied while you work from home could just be the magic wand.
14. Work On Weekends
If you’re way behind schedule and desperately searching for a way to get caught up, bite the bullet and rise early in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday to meet up.
It’s definitely a sacrifice, but it beats spending the weekday dealing with the past week’s assignments while glancing at the pile of the new week’s tasks.
To get yourself in the mood for working on the weekend, you can set a goal and an attractive reward, such as a day off or allowance to enjoy an evening out without your family.
Remember, it is very important to make time to pamper yourself on occasion to avoid burning out and crashing into a mental brick wall from work overload.
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