There’s bound to be some friction at the onset. When you’re doing work from home (WFH), some time or the other, family life is going to catch up on you. And it is never pretty. Indeed, it can be a tug-of-war, especially when you have toddlers at home.
But WFH is a lot better than no work at all, right? With people’s finances dwindling and mental health issues creeping up, finding work can be a monumental challenge in this COVID-19-stricken country. Luckily, many have adopted remote work. Before the virus, stats show only about 17 percent of America’s workers worked from home. Today, after the virus pummeled the Land of the Brave, that number has risen to 44 percent and rising.
That means more and more parents are juggling their acts and wearing many hats. As children are also home-bound with face-to-face classes discouraged, the home has become the center for everyone to thrive. But how do you, as parents or guardians, balance science projects and conference calls? How do you effectively spend quality time with your child as a tutor guide when you can’t even give ample time with your co-workers online?
The answer to all that is by striking a balance. You really can’t take away one from the other. As important as it is for you to help your kids grow in wisdom, the need to put food on the table is imperative. Below are helpful tips to show you how to juggle family and work responsibilities with finesse.
Factor a New Family Schedule
At the onset, it’s bound to be chaotic. With your work demanding deadlines be met and your kids doing their thing, from playtime to homeschooling to chow time, these responsibilities are bound to pull you in two different directions at the same time. Before you blow your fuse, know that you need to establish structure right from the get-go.
The first step is to set the time element. Factor a new family schedule. To do that, you need to prioritise. Start with a list if you have to. First up, the non-negotiable tasks such as eating time set a time for these things. If you feel alone, know that this task is best taken as a family. Schedule a weekly family meeting to go over key tasks.
A sample of the things you need to consider for the week ahead:
- What assignments need to be submitted this week?
- What role should you play in helping them submit on time?
- What are the things they need to accomplish these tasks?
- How much time do you need to be available to help them?
Then, of course, there’s the meal planning side and daily chores. You’ll have to factor in these things ahead of time. If your kids are old enough, you can delegate tasks such as cooking, groceries, and cleaning.
You need to understand that you need to take the lead in making your precious abode work. That’s the reason why doing a nightly debriefing should be a wise move. For instance, if you have a Zoom meeting in the morning, you need to ensure everyone is on the same page. That means the designated place where you’ll hold the call is reserved for your use only and that no one should be horsing around and shouting at the top of their lungs at that particular time.
In one sense, it certainly helps to have online access. For one, online sales lets you work from just about anywhere at home, be it in the attic or your garage. Apps for finding houses for sale are a good example here. Being available on your smartphone means these apps can help you find houses seamlessly in a jiffy.
Taking time to plan your day the night before is a good way to steer clear of complications. Thus, you should do this even if you’re a single mum or dad working on your own.
Dedicate Space for Work
This is a big one. The problem with your precious abode is it’s not really designed for work. It’s designed first and foremost for people to live there. So there’s the kitchen, sleeping space and all. With that said, you’d do yourself a big favour if you dedicate space solely for work.
With a dedicated space (that has a door as much as possible), you can stay focused away from the torments of home. It’s a given that if you don’t put in place appropriate distance and boundaries, you’re bound to be drowning with all sorts of complications from your family’s needs. That can be counterproductive. If not resolved, your productivity at work suffers, and with it, your job. It’s anybody’s guess what will happen next.
If you’re unsure how to get your workspace done right, learn how to have a good start.
Take Care of Yourself
All the stress at work and home can make you old in no time. Or worse, it can get you sick. And everything comes tumbling down when that happens.
Therefore, the key to your productivity is to take care of yourself. Give yourself some me-time. Observe breaks as they refresh your brain. A good start for you is to employ the Pomodoro Technique.
It’s definitely a tough act, working from home. But if you get it right, it’s actually a glorious opportunity: to earn while in the midst of people you love most.
This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.