For many work-at-home moms, it seems like the distractions never end. From the laundry to the phone calls to the errands, there is always something around the house demanding their attention. With kids at home, this makes concentrating on certain tasks during a work day a bit more difficult. When my kids stayed at home with me during working hours, I tried my very best to plan time to work as well as plan time to be present. I learned that I could still work from home, but I wanted to make sure I had a good balance between work and kids.
While the abundance of distractions can be a problem at any time of year, it often hits its peak at the beginning of the summer. The kids are out of school, the weather is amazing, and it’s incredibly difficult to get anything done.
For those of us who are used to working while the kids are in school, working from home with the kids underfoot can present quite the challenge. Thankfully, however, it is possible to get your work done without sacrificing your kids’ summer (or your sanity) in the process. Here’s how.
How to Get Work Done with Kids at Home
1. Lay Out Ground Rules
In order for this to work, everyone needs to be on the same page with the same expectations. Therefore, you’ll need to lay out some ground rules ahead of time so everyone knows what to expect. For example, you will want to set rules concerning what the kids can and cannot do or go while you are working and how often they are allowed to ask you for things.
2. Schedule Office Hours
Without set office hours, you’ll inevitably spend all day on the computer, never really getting anything accomplished. Combat this by alternating between intentional and focused time with your kids and periods of interrupted work. Try to schedule these blocks at the same time every day so your kids know what to expect. You might also want to work as much as you can before or after your kids wake up or while they are napping.
3. Arrange for Childcare
While being able to give your children all of the undivided attention in the world would be ideal, if you are struggling to balance work and home life without any help, you aren’t doing anyone any favors. It is okay to sign your children up for childcare or summer classes so you can get some work done. If you can’t afford paid care, set up a trade with friends so you both get some quiet time.
4. Find Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy
If you absolutely must work with your kids around, get creative in finding things for them to do to keep them occupied. You might create busy boxes for them to rotate through, set them up with books and coloring pages, or even let them watch movies on occasion. Find an activity they’ll consider a special treat and only let them do it during your work time, and they’ll stay occupied for hours.
5. Use Your Time Wisely
The truth is, no matter how you prepare, you likely are never going to get as much done with your kids around as you did while they were in school. This means that using your time wisely is more crucial than ever. Start every day with a to-do list so you waste less time between activities, and always cross off the most important items first. That way, if you don’t get a lot done, you will have at least accomplished the tasks that matter most.
Will you be working from home this summer? How will you keep your kids entertained so you can get some work done?