How to balance your 2021 work from home schedule with kids

Making the move to working from home comes with challenges, especially if it involves kids! If you’re a working mom, our scheduling tips can help make the transition easier. 

Lockdown hasn’t been kind to anyone. Sure, the idea of being able to work from home was fun at first.  But now, almost a year later, the novelty has worn off for many moms. Between monitoring kids in virtual school lessons and keeping them entertained, all while working full days from your dining room table (or home office if you’re lucky), life can get a bit crazy. 

While none of us anticipated how long the lockdown would last or how long it would take for things to get back to normal, we can try our best to start the new year off on the right foot. 

It’s time to get organized and say goodbye to the chaos of 2020. One of the easiest ways to do so is by creating a work from home schedule. 

These tips will go a long way in helping you attain that all-important work-life-kids balance.

Start early

Back when we were still traveling to the office, our mornings were rather different. Getting up and dressed, getting the kids to school, and our daily commute played a major role in helping us wake up and get into a working mindset. However, our morning routines have drastically changed a great deal. 

Gone are the usual get up, get ready and go routines, and in their place is a simple walk from the bedroom to your desk. 

This can be tough to wrap your head around, but one of the most effective ways to increase productivity is by diving into your to-do list as early as possible. If you can squeeze in an hour or two of work before the kids get up, even better. But if not, create a morning routine where you have breakfast together before you start your day.

The earlier you get going, the better. It will give you a head start, and you’ll be able to finish work earlier too. 

If you find that switching into work mode early is hard, give these ideas a try to wake up your body and brain:

  • A quick high energy workout
  • A hot shower
  • A cup of coffee 
  • Fruit for breakfast

Get dressed

At the beginning stages of lockdown, part of the appeal of working from home was the thought of spending all day in your PJs. Plus, there was no need to get the kids dressed, so you’d have all this extra time. 

The novelty and the reality of not getting dressed has worn off, and it turns out that it’s not actually good for you either. The saying dressed for successhas real meaning, and studies have shown that wearing the right clothes for the job helps you shift your mindset.

When you’re at home, you don’t need to dress as formally as you would for the office. You can ditch the blazers and the heels. However, the simple act of changing clothes lets your brain know that it’s time to wake up and get things done. 

Seeing you change into ‘work’ clothes will also send a message to your kids. It will let them know you’re in work mode and they shouldn’t interrupt you unless absolutely necessary. You can apply the same principle to them too—have them wear ‘school clothes’ when attending virtual lessons to create a sense of separation between home and school.

Structure your day like you would in the office

When you’re working from home, you’re your own manager. As much as this can be a blessing, it can be a curse too. Without in-person meetings to break up your day, it can be easy to lose focus and interest.

When preparing your schedule, plan where and when you’ll do certain tasks. For example, dedicate the first hour of your day to answering emails, or perhaps dedicate the hour after lunch to video calls or virtual meetings. Don’t forget to schedule in coffee breaks, snack time, and a lunch hour, and make sure your kids follow the same routine as you.

Asmuch as possible, create online calendar reminders to help you make the mental shift when it’s time to begin a new task. Alternatively, draw up a daily check-list that you can tick off to stay motivated and on track.

Avoid multitasking

As moms, we constantly haveto multitask. However, part of a successful working from home schedule involves staying focused and avoiding distractions. It might seem like a good idea to sew buttons on the cardigan you’ve been meaning to fix while on a work call, but it’s not. Try not to take on any non-work-related tasks during your working hours. 

Multitasking is definitely tempting, as you’ll save yourself time in the long run. However, this is a quick way to lose focus, and blurs the lines between work and home. Be strict with yourself. This will save you from burnout caused byjuggling too many things at once. 

Create a designated workspace

One of the biggest challenges anyone working from home faces is keeping their work and home lives separate. However, it’s important to keep them apart so you can fully disconnect onefrom the other. 

Going into the office gave us a physical separation between the home and workplace. When working from home, we need to recreate that disconnect as much as possible. Assigning a workspace in your home is key. This doesn’t have to be an entire room, but it does need to be an area that’s comfortable, has space for your desktop computer or laptop, and any other tools or equipment you require. 

Ensure your workspace feels separate from the rest of your house. Then create rules your kids can follow aboutinterrupting you while you’re at your desk. Set boundaries and stick to your working hoursas much as you can,  as this helps everyone adjust to a schedule and routine. 

Take the time to adjust

As we adjust to the new year and working from home, a schedule is going to be all-important in ensuring productivity. As you can see, creating a schedule that works for you and your kids isn’t a tough task, but sticking to it is important! 

Be realistic and don’t be too tough on yourself if it takes some time to get used to. Forming healthy habits takes time, but once in place, you’ll find working from home so much easier. 

Photo by Hamza NOUASRIA