10 Time-management tips while working from home with kids
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Managing your time while working from home with kids can be a bit challenging if not done properly and effectively. There may be two scenarios when working from home with kids.
One may include a set schedule like a typical 9 to 5 scenario, while the other may be a flexible work situation, for example, Blogging. However, in both cases, whether structured or flexible, time management is key to ensuring that productivity is at its optimal best.
I am going to provide some tips and tricks to ensure better management of time while working from home especially with children.
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“An effective work from home situation requires effective time management skills especially with kids."
1. BE REALISTIC WITH THE FAMILY OF YOUR WORK EXPECTATIONS
If you are in a position to work from home while having your children at home with you, be realistic of what it entails, and make the necessary adjustments. Having a family talk with a spouse or older children who are more responsible is really important and can help to eliminate any wasted time while on the job.
The more aware your family is of your work expectations and schedule, the better you are able to manage your time more effectively.
Have you seen that video that went viral, with the kid popping in on dad's live meeting at work?
You don't want that scenario to happen to you, do you?
So ensure that proper arrangements are made before working with children from home. That may entail having a babysitter or older children be responsible for the younger ones while attending to work.
If your job is however flexible then your time can vary in between activities that your child can be doing while you're at work. If it is not flexible, but rather a set schedule, you may have to arrange babysitting for younger kids and activities for the older ones ( unless they are doing e-learning).
2. HAVE A SCHEDULE
Have you ever gone through a day and looked back only to realize you missed an important job-related activity? It does happen often especially when you don't have a schedule.
Having a schedule is important because it sets the tone for your day. Without a schedule, you are more likely to waste more time and miss events or activities.
A planner is key when organizing the day ahead. Jotting down or recording in your phone what should be accomplished throughout the day is key when it comes to time management. Yes, you may not accomplish everything on your planner, but at least you made an effort to utilize as much time as possible.
Planners are available that enable you to list your top priorities for the day to ensure that those are done first before anything else. With kids, this may be a little different.
If you have to pick up or drop off children from school, check to ensure that your schedule includes those activities. Also ensure to pencil in doctors, dentist visits, and school or sport-related activities, etc.
3. HAVE A SET ROUTINE
Sponateinity is definitely required when you have children, especially in a work-from-home situation. However, it will vary tremendously.
You may not have the flexibility with structured jobs and therefore you may need to be a bit more routined to ensure that your productivity is not affected. With that being said, you have to ensure that solid arrangements for child care are done prior to doing a routine work from home situation.
Even if you do have flexibility, I still recommend having a set routine because, we know what happens, when we have no plans. We do not get anything accomplished (for me that is definitely in the colder months).
Plan a routine of what will work for your family based on your children's age group and the work arrangement you have.
4. KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE SPARSE INSTEAD OF COMPACTED
Even though I recommend having a set routine, I don’t expect you to pile up a list of tasks that you may not even get to finish especially while working. Leave your schedule as loose as possible to allow spontaneity, as that will be needed especially with children at home with you.
The less rigid your schedule, the more likely that you will be able to allow for any unexpected changes or emergencies. That may include an unexpected doctor's visit or even a visit to your work office etc. Whatever the scenario, the flexibility allows room for that.
5. MEAL PREPARATION
Meal preparation, whether you are aware of it or not, requires a lot of time to ensure your family is getting the nutrition needed without all the fast food options available. Meal Planning may be tedious for you to get done, but it actually helps to maximize your time spent trying to figure out what to prepare each day.
You can opt in to do bulk meal preparations on weekends or a weekday. For example, in our household, sometimes on Saturdays or Sundays, we may turn the grill on and cook a good portion of chicken, meat, fish, etc.
Throughout the rest of the week, I may prepare different quick dishes that cut back on the cooking time tremendously. I may only have to prepare a salad, rice, or potatoes, that I can quickly do on the stovetop or in an Instapot.
Breakfast can also be prepared the night before, for instance, oatmeal can be cooked in a slow cooker or instant pot until the morning hours when it will be ready and available for your family.
Another idea is to make larger batches of waffles or pancakes and freeze the rest. You can use a weekly meal planner or daily planner to help you get started with meal preparations.
Do check out my Mommy Inspired Meal Planner printable available on my website to help you get organized.
Great time management requires being organized. The more organized that you are, the better it is to handle the day ahead.
Being organized can also lessen the time or effort it takes to get things accomplished. an organized working environment is really key especially with kids to ensure optimal productivity while on the job.
It is best to keep your workspace only with the things you need for work and less of the children's toys or activities unless you are doing homeschooling. In addition to that, an organized work area is key in keeping you in a work frame of mind being more engaged with work and less engaged with the clutter around you.
I am fond of post-it notes or a whiteboard for example. Post-it notes are ideal for jotting down reminders, lists of things to be done, tasks, etc.
For Post-it Notes, get different colors so that you can personalize them to specific activities. For instance, blue for work/business related, red for grocery/shopping, etc. A whiteboard on the other hand keeps things visual for you.
Another option is to use your phone to set reminders, but I do prefer actually written reminders than the digital ones because let's face it, I put my phone on silent all the time and then never end up hearing the alarm go off. However, whatever method works best for you, stick with it.
7. MAINTAINING HEALTHY HABITS
It is going to take habitually routine and practice to ensure time is managed well while working from home, especially with kids. The more you continually try to practice this routine, the better you're able to adapt with fewer mishaps along the way.
It may be a little rocky at first in the beginning but eventually, you will be able to get it accomplished.
Leaving enough flexibility in your schedule can help with any changes that may pop up along the way, especially when home with kids.
8. ROUTINE WAKE UP AND SLEEP SCHEDULE
Whether you are driving to work or staying at home, in both scenarios no matter the situation, it is best to have routine waking and sleeping hours. Have a set time for waking up and try to stick with it without snoozing the button.
We are all aware of the mad rush whenever we are running late for school or work, because of the snoozer, the enemy of our sleep time.
Do you remember the popular saying that goes like this "You snooze, you lose"! Let's all approach our waking schedule the same. Have a set time for working from home, and stick with it.
I also recommend that you have a similar schedule as if you had to actually commute to work. I suggest this because in the event you do have to return to a working environment, it would be much easier for you to adjust back to that schedule.
If however, you do have a gap in your schedule because maybe commuting to work was long, then use your time wisely to do something that you like to do. You can read a book, journal, have a cup of morning coffee, etc. before starting work.
9. BE AWARE OF DISTRACTIONS AND MINIMIZE THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
If you ask me, distractions are an enemy of time. I may have had a set schedule to get some work done and then comes the Pinterest distractor of the day and I find myself in Pinterest land wasting time.
Whatever your time zapper is, try to see how best to eliminate it. I am not saying that you can't have a time-out if you need one, but a time-out that was intended for work and productivity can really harm you.
See any hidden time wasters that may be available in your schedule and try to either get rid of them or tweak them a bit. For instance, you could save that Pinterest distraction for after-work happy hour, if in fact, you do get to have one while the kids are at home.
10. MAKE THE MOST USE OF TIME
I am sure you probably have heard this saying a gazillion times before. Well, let me introduce it to you again. "Time wasted can never be regained"!
There are 24 hours in a day, eight to ten of which are dedicated to sleep. With that being said, what do we do with the other 16 hours? Be aware and appreciative of how you spend your time especially at work, home, and with your family. Wasted time really has no benefit to you or your family.
Therefore understanding that you can't really get back the time you wasted will enable you to be more productive when it comes to prioritizing your, work-related and family-related activities. I am not a fan of an overworked person, burning through the midnight oil, trying to get every ounce of time on their side.
I am however keen on having balance in both my work and family life. Both should be cohesive and healthy for time to be the most effective and productive. There should be a partnership with time when working or balancing family life.
Without that concept, one may suffer drastically, whether your productivity at work suffers or your time spent with family suffers. Be aware of this and make adjustments as necessary.
Overall, taking on the challenge of working from home with kids may seem overwhelming and impossible at first, however, it can be done if you take the time to make the necessary adjustments suggested, and then implement changes along the way.
Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.
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