Everybody's having to work from home. If you'd told me that a World Pandemic would make millions of people work from home this year I wouldn't have believed it.
Yet here we are. Anybody that can continue working from home has now been told to stay at home to help flatten the curve. And, to add to it, the kids have also been told to stay at home and not go to school cos they're the most contagious of all of us.
And you can't even send them to the grandparents to care for them because we're all trying to keep our elderly safe.
If you're not used to working from home (and staying at home) with the kids around, I thought I'd put together some tips for you.
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1. Keep a WORK FROM HOME routine
It's more important than every to keep a routine when you work from home.
Make a timetable and stick to it.
It's important for you because you will still have to stick to your work timetable but it's good for the kids to have a routine they can follow as well.
Why not get them to create and decorate a timetable for themselves?
And it's OK to stagger the timetables so you can get their lunch ready or do some chores while they're busy doing something.
If you can move away from working 9-5, get up a couple of hours earlier than the kids or work for a couple of hours after the kids have gone to bed, so you can spend some quality time with them too.
It's a bit tiring but you can do it for a little while.
2. Don't stay in your pyjamas
It's tempting to stay in your pyjamas when you're not going out to work, but getting dressed gives you a sense that things are still 'normal' or as 'normal' as they can get.
You don't have to dress up formally when you work from home, but wear something that you can wear outside the house without feeling embarrassed.
And it will help when you want to get the kids dressed as well.
3. Create a work at home distraction free area
Watching videos on Facebook or Twitter and chatting to people on WhatsApp is not only very tempting but will also end up worrying you these days.
The amount of articles and videos about the COVID-19 being shared on social media is staggering and they're not always good articles. I've seen several FAKE NEWS articles going around and they don't help. Or people that don't really know what they're talking about are ranting about one thing or another.
So avoid them and you'll save time and keep your anxiety level in check.
And another time-waster is to watch funny videos. I know we need some cheering up but don't do it during the day or you won't get anything done.
So try to limit the amount of time you spend on social media during work hours.
4. Take care of your workspaces
This includes the kids.
Working from home when everybody is in the same room is one of the least productive things you can do. You'll end up trying to keep the peace and not being able to concentrate on your own tasks.
So you need to organise them so they spend some time doing quiet activities. It helps if the kids are old enough to organise themselves, though.
If you can't help having everybody in one place, the kids can do some of the quieter activities that don't require your input, and try to limit this to times when you're doing some of the more mechanical tasks.
Also, get the kids to use this time to do their homework.
Or think of other quiet activities they can do: drawing and puzzles are also good because they will keep their minds and hands occupied.
When you need to really focus on something important, it's their time to play in another room if you can manage.
5. Keep active when you work from home
Try to fit in exercise for the whole family during the week.
Some things you can do:
- Go for a bike ride or a walk, if you're allowed where you live.
- Watch the Joe Wick's Workout every day at 9:00am UK Time.
- Get GooNoodle for the kids.
- Dig up all those Workout DVDs you have in a drawer somewhere. I know you have some.
- Do some gardening every day...
6. Use Pomodoros
One technique I use to be more productive is the Pomodoro Technique. It means that you work non-stop for 25 minutes and then have a 5 minute break. If you prefer you can do 50 minutes and have a 10 minute break.
It also helps you focus when you're working and then you have 10 minutes to get a brief rest and fit in other activities that you need to do. Like hanging the washing out, doing a few pots and pans, tidying up...
Can you get the kids to do this as well?
This way their chores are spread throughout the day.
7. Stay organised
Make lists for everything: to-do lists for work, lists of chores for everybody so everybody knows what they're doing every day.
Any piece of scrap paper will do, but using a pad or a planner, and getting the kids involved to complete it and then tick things off, can be more motivating for them.
Here are some planners and to-do lists if you prefer to keep everything neat or if want a more comprehensive list of planners read this.
It's a great time to catch up on your reading, for work and for fun.
And the kids can read too.
For the kids, there's plenty of reading in their Fire for Kids, so you're sorted there as well .
9. Make time to play
In the evening, play together.
We all have phones and tablets full of games, but that means everybody plays separately. Why not make time to play a card or board game with the family?
They're a brilliant way to spend some quality time together. Here's some we love:
Want more ways to keep the kids entertained? Here are some great activities for them to do while you work.
10. Keep in touch with videochats
You're probably already having to do some videoconferencing for work, but it also applies to your private life during this time.
Spending time with the kids is great, but you'll end up missing adult conversations.
Use WhatsApp, Duo or any other videochat tools to keep in touch with family and friends.
Using video is better than just texting and you can have group calls with all the family.
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