Working from home whilst trying to home school the kids?
Let me guess, like me you thought that life of "Working from Home" seemed like something you would really like to achieve, soon. It sounded calming and less stressful, without the long commute, being able to work to your own schedule, hanging the washing out between zoom meetings and putting the dinner on during your lunch break, so that your family all came home to a cooked meal and a well organised home!
With the current situation we are all in and the fact that many have been forced to work from home, the nation is suddenly like a fish out of water, with many just not as well practiced in the art of self managing time, like the regular WFH crew.
This new way of working, just seems alien and we are not sure what or how we are to achieve the normal rate of work that we can produce simply at our office.
Added to the pressures of the ongoing situation, questioning job security and ensuring you have a job to go back to, the demands have increased as we are also required to home school the kids, as well.
Many employers have had the opportunity to Furlough staff and this scheme has saved many being made redundant, so they are now home schooling too.
So what do you prioritise?
Ensuring that the kids don't fall behind academically and that they don't become diabetics, by not being so engrossed in your work that you don't realise the number of times the fridge door has been opened or the snack cupboard has been raided, is obviously a important while making sure you do the required amount of work to ensure you don't lose your job!
How do we make this work so everyone succeeds?
Here are my 7 tips to successfully working from home, whilst home schooling two kids.
Plan absolutely everything you can!
Plan your day and create a routine.
Plan your breaks.
Plan your meals.
Plan the kids snacks.
Plan Plan Plan Plan PLAN!
By giving your day a set structure, you have given everyone an idea of what needs to happen and when. My kids love a routine, especially my son, he needs to know exactly what is happening in two weeks time in the morning, It helps know what is coming up, there are no surprises and it is then clear when they should be working, what they are working on and when then can play! - Check out our resources we have a really great download waiting for you to just fill in - Click Here!
2. Get your morning routine sussed
DO NOT try to work from bed, however comfy you are and how you think the laptop can sit nicely just by your side and you can get going, This really is not very productive and you will be in the wrong mindset to get anything with a deadline done.
Get up, have a work out, have a shower, make breakfast, feed the tribe, put on some real clothes, not just a pretty top and pj bottoms ( yep I know we have all done it, no one can see your pj's at a Zoom meeting), I have opted for gym wear most days and are utilising the array of leggings I own.
3. Create a practical space for everyone to work.
Having a place to work, with all the things around you that you need is not only practical but it is also great for our mindset.
When you are at that place you know that it is time to get your head down and get on with it.
We have given up the dining table so the kids can work, they both have a laptop (yep we had to buy another one at the beginning of all this) and have the resources they need next to them, so they are ready to work. Although my kids are 11 & 15 this could work for kids of most ages that are at school. With a set timetable as such whether this is provided by the school or made using our template, you can make sure they have all the work books, they need for each task, in a neat pile, ready to go!
4. Split your time
This may seem pretty obvious but many actually get this so wrong.
Split your time into small chunks of time, also this works great for the kids too. You will find that because you have shorter bursts of time you will adapt the way you work and work smarter.
We limit these to 30-40 minutes depending on the task. This is great for younger kids as the smaller blocks will stop boredom from setting in and older ones will learn to manage their time better, which is setting them up for good practices when they join the work force.
We all use the Toggl app, so we can keep track of how much time we are spending on a specific project or piece of work. My youngest loves Toggl and has all his subjects listed as projects and then at the end of the week, loves looking at the data working out how much time he spent doing Maths for example...
5. Schedule breaks
The kids at school have breaks and it is really important that they still get that time, to recharge, look at snapchat, message their friends or run around outside. I have tried to ban phones and devices during the day, but this has been a bit of a challenge as my eldest communicates with class mates over snapchat so they can support each other through work they don't understand.
You may not take the breaks you are entitled to in the office but while at home use that time to get on top of the chores that you want to get done, other wise you will spend the next chunk of "working time", procrastinating about getting the washing on or the dinner prepped.
6. Define an end time
Your normal working day has a start time and a finish time, so why not be confident to log off at the end of your working day? Even if you are staying online to do a little shopping or using the computer for other purposes, don't be tempted to check the email or finish a report, keep work to working hours or withing your daily hours per day!
7. Enjoy this crazy time
Living through a Worldwide pandemic is not something that I actually ever want to experience again, everyone I speak to seems stressed and I find it totally crazy that we area all still stressing about the small things that don't matter, I was speaking to a friend yesterday and she was panicking because her son hadn't done the school work given and that the download for the work was broken so she couldn't get the work, she rang me in a fluster asking for me to contact the teacher, as she didn't want him to get into trouble. She was so worried that he had missed one lesson, I could hear the panic in her voice and the fact she though she was failing and not doing it right.
Don't stress about the small stuff!
It is important to remember that one day, years from now, children will study this in history lessons and your kids may turn around to their children reminiscing about the time that mum & dad were at home all the time and we spent 3 months all together, how we planted a tree, or grew vegetables, how we made cakes and had dinner all together every night.
You will never get this time with them again and although the situation is stressful we will will survive this and get through the other side all a little closer from spending the time apart and staying at home!
Stay Home, Stay Safe!