Work from home. How to stay sane and productive while juggling kids
I’ve worked from home close to 20 years now. Without kids, with newborns and all the way up to my boys in their teenage years. Now that school is off until September for us this year, there’s going to be a longer time than normal juggling kids and work from home.
It’s one thing to run your business without having kids, it’s something completely different to juggle kids while you’re at it.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to working from home and I figured now would be a good time to share these as many people’s routines have been thrown upside down with closed schools and daycares and you may be wondering how to get it all done in your business and manage to stay sane in the process…
I’ve learned so much since I first started this journey. I remember when my first boy was a newborn. We lived in a new city after having moved across the country when he was three weeks old. I didn’t know anyone where we lived and had no family to help. My husband at the time was commuting and working super long hours, leaving me alone from early morning until evening to run my business and care for a newborn all alone with nobody to help me.
I was up on average three times each night breastfeeding but still needed to get my work done during the day, answer client calls and complete several reports and deadlines each week…. Did I mention having post partum, healing from a c-section and having a baby with colic? Yeah…you get the point. It’s not always easy and it could drive you insane if you don’t know how to best handle things. (Which I didn’t back then!)
But I can promise you, I’ve learned so much since then and there is a way to manage work and children, and still manage to care for yourself and stay sane. I can assure you it was a very different experience by the time I gave birth to my second son.
While my kids are a bit bigger now, teenagers, and I’m not up to date on all the small kids stuff, I’m not going to focus on tools and tips for the kids. I’m mainly focusing here on the work aspect of your day. You likely know what will engage and be good for your own children to do while you work.
Below are my top tips for how to get your work done, take care of your kids and feel like you still have a life and time for self-care.
As much as possible. I know this is easier said than done if you’re dealing with an infant or small child, but unless you do, I encourage you to wake up and go to bed around the same time each day. If you work consistently from home with small kids, I highly recommend getting an in home nanny. But I realize that during the Covid, that may not always be possible, so please read my other tips below for more ways to manage your day.
Create a set work schedule & boundaries
Set specific hours to work and create boundaries around your work time and personal time – unless you have a newborn or small children under five at home, this should work. It’s time to practice your boundaries. Exactly when do you plan to work each day? What time is sacred for you and your family to spend quality time? How will you enforce these boundaries both for work and for creating precious family moments together? How will you engage your children so they can also be busy and productive while you work?
Have a plan and set goals for your week and each day
What goals are you working towards? Make sure you have clear goals for what you’re going to accomplish so you aren’t just getting busy with busy work but actually work towards those goals.
When you know exactly what you are doing and why, it’s much easier to just sit down and get it done. I like using the method of Franklin Covey to set priorities for what to focus on. You can sort your tasks into four categories: Urgent and important, urgent and not important, not urgent but important and not urgent and not important.
You want to keep your focus on tasks that are urgent and important and not urgent and important. The rest can wait or be scratched off your to do list.
When you focus on things that are important but not urgent, you’re working in creative flow. You’re spending less time putting out fires because you do things before they become urgent. You’re working in proactive mode.
Follow the 80-20 rule
The 80-20 rule says that 20% of the work produces 80% of the results. Do you understand the power of that statement? It pays to take the time to find out what your 20% tasks are and focus on them. What are your 20 percent and how can you focus on that to transform your results while working less?
Have a system for all your to dos
And keep it all in one place. There are may ways to do this. You may want to do it in a planner, in an online task management system like Trello or Asana, or have some other kind of master task list where you keep track of everything you need to get done. Whatever works best for you, as long as you have a good system that keeps track of everything for you so you don’t have to try to remember things in your head.
Delegate the things you don’t love or are not a superstar at doing yourself. Rather than pushing through doing things that are not in your brilliance, I encourage you to outsource the tasks that are not in your genius to an assistant. There are tons of Virtual Assistants that would be happy to assist you in getting things done for you and off your plate 🙂
Create a morning routine to set yourself up for daily success
This is probably one of the most powerful things you can do. I know this can be challenging if you have tiny little ones at home that wake up super early and you need your sleep. But if you don’t have any kids at home or they are older – or if you have a spouse or partner that can take care of the kids in the meantime, I encourage you to implement this step.
It may just be the most important thing you could do for not only your productivity, but for your health and sanity. My routines change from time to time and with the seasons, but I usually include the following in some form: Walking in nature, exercise and meditation.
For me, this IS part of my workday, and I plan accordingly and don’t schedule meetings during the time set up for my morning routine. This is my ME time and it is sacred.
If you start meditating every morning, you’ll see how much more productive your day becomes. Plus, you’ll get out of procrastination mode and will easier focus on your highest priorities and what you really need to do.
Did I mention that people who exercise daily make more money? Yeah, there’s something to this…I promise.
The key is to commit to doing something every day. You will not only build a routine over time, but the effects of doing it every day will compound over time. Even just 10 minutes of meditation can be a life saver, if that’s all you have time for.
Shower and get dressed
Okay…so I know you may think it’s really cool that you can work in your PJs. But how about this. You get up and start working. You’re not dressed or groomed. Someone suddenly asks to jump on a video call. Your hair is a mess and you’re wearing your pajama. You’re like, NOW? While trying to figure out how to respond, lol!
Later on in the day you need to run out for groceries to grab something to eat and you realize you’re hot mess. Now you wonder why you didn’t get dressed earlier….
You would be so glad you actually got dressed in the morning instead. Plus, you’ll feel so much better after a fresh shower and wearing some nice clean clothes. How can you be your best if you’re feeling like a bum? Just saying.
In the close to 20 years I’ve worked from home, there’s only been a small percentage of days I haven’t gotten dressed in the morning, and I never feel quite right.
Don’t underestimate the energy cleanse you get from a morning shower! I never feel the same without showering in the morning. Showering cleanses your aura. It clears your energy field as well as your body.
Work in the same space each day
Set up an office space if you have the space for it. Energetically, you will start to tune into the energy of working when you go to this place. I know this may not work for everyone and you may have a small space to work with. If you don’t have an office, how can you create a comfortable place for you to work that will allow you to get work done effectively and without constant distractions?
Personally, I find that I work best from my office if I want to just get things done. Operational tasks in my business and things that don’t require a lot of creativity gets done so much faster when I sit at my office desk than if I try to do it from anywhere else.
However, when I do creative work, like writing this blog, I love sitting in other places where I feel more in the “creative zone” than in the “work zone”. Right now I’m sitting in the sun on my deck and the inspiration is flowing faster than I can type.
In what kind of environment do you work best?
Everyone works differently. I’m the kind of person who gets hugely distracted by anyone around me. I am so sensitive and pick up everything that happens around me and it’s really hard for me to focus and be productive if there are people around me.
Maybe you can focus while multitasking and having distractions around you, but I certainly cannot. Set up your work space accordingly.
Set intentions for your work
Intentions are powerful. Don’t underestimate the power of setting intentions for each day. You can set intentions like: The work that I’m doing today is going to bring me X, Y, Z. This can be clients, money, opportunities etc. Whatever it is you want the work to produce.
An intention I often set is that I always have more than enough time to do everything I want and need to do. And whenever I set that intention, it always turns out that way.
The meeting I didn’t really feel like having suddenly is canceled and the things not meant for me fall away, opening time and energy for the right things. Try it!
Be aware of the energy you put into your work
Everything is energy and how you feel when you work will be “imprinted” on the work that you do. If you’re working while being upset, stressed or frustrated, you will infuse the work that you’re doing with this energy. I find that it’s not productive to work when I’m in the wrong mindset or energy. It’s better to wait and get things done when I feel inspired.
Plus, when I work from a place of being inspired, I usually work many times faster and get things done so much quicker and with less effort.
Use tools to stay productive
The essential oil Motivate from Doterra is also great if you’re looking for motivation to just get things done. Somehow it works like magic when you’re working on stuff you need to do but don’t love doing.
Take a proper break for lunch and get a good meal in your stomach
I notice that if try to work without having a proper meal around lunch time, I tend to not be very productive in the afternoon. The break for lunch is well worth it and you’ll get more and better work done afterwards.
No more eating next to your computer screen. Your stomach will thank you 🙂 Oh, and don’t forget breakfast either.
Give yourself some slack
Having been a type A workaholic and perfectionist in my prior life, I didn’t always do that….but seriously, being hard on yourself doesn’t benefit anyone. Life is not a sprint and you are right where you are meant to be. If things were supposed to be different, they would be.
Honor where you are and don’t forget to love yourself. Chose love over fear. People rush because they are afraid of what would happen if they don’t go so fast. Give yourself permission to go a little slower if needed.
Don’t forget: The Universe always supports you!
Stop before you exhaust yourself
This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. But you’ll be sorry when you crash and burn because you didn’t listen to your body in the first place. It’s so much easier to stop and recharge before you’re exhausted than it is to catch up and rest after you completely crash. I’ve had to learn this the hard way! Do you know when enough is enough?
Put your own oxygen mask on first! If you don’t you’ll be no good to those around you. When mama is ok, the entire family is ok!
Turn off electronics a while before bed
As a business owner, you’re online enough already. Give yourself a break from electronics and cellular radiation. You’ll sleep better and it’s good for your health.
Oh, and please, don’t sleep with your phone within your aura. If you must, turn it off or on airplane mode. The energies from your cell phone have a huge impact on your energy field and you’re even more vulnerable when you sleep.
Celebrate your successes!
So often you work hard and forget to pat yourself on the back. Don’t forget to celebrate every small step and take time off to have fun and enjoy life.
Life is not all work. Plus when you have something fun to look forward to, you work more effectively to get things done so you can go play 🙂
Need more help with this?
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