Prior to being confined during the lockdowns to the house with my husband, mother-in-law, two kids, two dogs, and a gerbil, my favorite time of day was during school when everything was quiet. I could cram so many productive work activities into those hours.
Now, everything has changed!
Trying to work while your kids are asking for a snack, asking to play a game, or fighting with each other is pretty much impossible. I either end up angry and yelling at my kids for interrupting me or spending 4 hours rewriting the same three sentences.
If this sounds familiar, here are some tips that are helping me stay productive while working from home (even with the kids being here!)
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Find a time that you can be productive while working at home
I have found that it is important for my sanity as well as my productivity to find a quiet time that everyone knows not to interrupt me.
If you have small kids, this could be nap time. For older kids – having a quiet hour where everyone goes to their room to read, draw, write, or play quietly can work.
You can also try getting up early – but if you are like me, that is a hard no! (The best part about this whole crazy time is not having to get up and get kids ready on a schedule!!!)
I have been finding that 9:00 – 11:00pm is my new time. It’s not ideal, but it is so quiet and no one interrupts me because they are all in bed!!! Plus, I miss out on the evening news which is a good thing for my heightened anxiety!
Practice Mindfulness to Boost Your Productivity
Another helpful tool to up your productivity is to practice mindfulness. This can seem sort of counter-intuitive when you are trying to cram as much as possible into really short amounts of time.
But, starting your work time out with writing 10 things you are grateful for or doing a round of EFT tapping, or even just spending a few minutes breathing deeply can focus your mind and help you become much more productive. Here’s an article on deep breathing for kids which can also be really helpful for adults if you need some instruction.
Practicing mindfulness has the added benefit of lowering your stress levels which can really help keep the peace around the house during this trying time.
Get Your Kids to Help
I know that there is a vast array of ways that we all are handling schooling, home-life, and chores these days. Here’s what I want you to know if you take nothing else from this article…
You can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all.
It isn’t realistic to expect yourself to make three meals per day (plus 57 snacks), become your children’s home-school style teacher, keep up with work, and keep your house immaculately clean (including the extra sanitizing we are all doing.)
Get your kids to help! If they aren’t already – now is the perfect time for them to start learning some age-appropriate chores. Not only will this help to lighten your load, but it will help them become better adults! (Their future spouses will be grateful – I’m sure!)
If possible, you might also try to get your kids involved in your work. I decided to post video lessons of facebook for kids teaching the normal social/emotional skills that I write about on this blog. I have asked my kids to help me with these and it has been so great.
Because my kids are helping with my work they have a better understanding and excitement for what I am doing. They also understand that the time I spend working is important as they see the kids and families who are being helped by what we are doing.
Ask for Help When You Need It
This last tip is probably one of the most important tips for being productive. You will need help. You cannot do this all on your own.
If you have a spouse or partner in your house – be honest with them. Communicate your levels of overwhelm when needed. Ask for help.
Last night I was just wiped out. My boys had been fighting for a good portion of the day, I had gotten little to no work done, and I just wanted some quiet time to myself. My husband graciously heard my request and took over the evening activities and put the kids to bed for me.
Today, my productivity has been through the roof. That break was exactly what I needed to keep going.
I hope these tips have been helpful to you. If all else fails, maybe these noise-canceling headphones will do the trick? I don’t know, all I can say is that we will get through this…
Sending you Love and Light,
PS if you are looking for parenting resources to deal with the extra anger, fear, and other big emotions that your kids are probably having during this time, I have a parenting resource library with some great options. My favorite is the Mini Calm Down Skills Card Deck that helps calm fear and anger by teaching kids coping skills.