Another week of sheltering in place. Is anyone else’s home starting to feel and look like a three-ring circus? Children screaming, significant others yelling and pets doing tricks for snacks. We as heads of households are juggling it all while trying not to fall on the balance beam. Trying to be a parent and employee at the same and in the confines of your home is stressful! Add on top of that the responsibility of feeding the family.
Now this challenge is escalated to a new level because work, school, and home are now one. Trying to complete all of your work tasks with these added distractions can be difficult. You not only have your schedule to manage but you also have to manage your children’s school schedule (being Mom/Dad, teacher, and an employee all at the same time). Through all the commotion in your home, one of the very last things that’s on your mind is taking care of yourself. Hopefully, this article will help you become the ringmaster of your three-ring circus.
To be successful at working from home you need to have a schedule. You not only want to create a solid schedule for yourself but also your children. Try making this a fun activity by allowing everyone to customize their schedule with a theme (Superheroes/princess). If possible spread your work throughout the entire day so that you can be sure to complete all tasks and not get too bored which may get you off track. Optimize your time by scheduling tasks you need privacy, or quiet time, during your children’s nap time. For example, conference/video calls.
Lastly, if you have the ability to work after hours don’t be afraid to do so. You can get a lot more done when everyone else is sleeping or watching television. Having a schedule keeps everyone’s day in order and nothing gets missed. Just remember that having a schedule is only half the battle. You need to actually use it to manage your daily tasks.
The saying, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”, is definitely a true statement. Poor task managing can be an easy way to ruin a good plan. Think of task managing like grease on a gear. Without the grease, the gear will still run however, it will not run as smoothly. Also, it is more likely to break and need repair. The same is to be said for your schedule. First and foremost at the beginning of the week write out all your weekly objectives. It would be best to write these in order of importance or by their due dates. Try getting your children involved in writing out their weekly tasks. How about a little friendly competition? Whoever completes their list first, with the most accuracy, wins. Lastly, we all know it is hard to keep the house clean and it takes a team effort. Be sure to incorporate chores into your weekly tasks and make sure everyone helps out. No sense in doing all that clean alone when you’ve got so many helping hands.
My biggest issue with working from home is I never stop, I am literally typing this while preparing for bed. We need to make enough time for work and home in order to help maintain our mental wellbeing. Doing this can be as simple as sticking as close to your schedule as possible. You also want to refrain from doing household tasks while at work. Although very difficult, this can be achieved by having a designated workspace so you’re not distracted. An ideal space would be somewhere isolated where you can focus specifically on work. Don’t forget to let your kids run free sometimes. Maybe allow them to have “recess” and run free in the backyard. Remember they are probably just as sick of being in the house as you are. Don’t make it worst by holding them hostage in the house all day. Another important person that needs some “me time” is YOU! Be sure you take time for yourself. Start a new hobby, read that book you bought months ago. Find something that is not working or household related. Just keep in mind once that bell rings and it’s time to clock out, walk away from your workspace and pick it up again tomorrow.
Being a household ringmaster has its challenges. The employees cry and bicker, lunch is never there on time and your office mate is constantly begging for more belly rubs. Having a proper work/life balance can ensure that the show goes on and help you keep your sanity. Take control of your schedule and map out your daily routine. Create a mental filing system for your weekly task to ensure everything gets done. Finally, separate your workplace from your living space so that work duties don’t spill over into family time. I can’t promise that following these steps can keep your home from being a circus. With a little effort and a lot of focus I just bet you’ll have the greatest (stay at home) show on Earth!
Robert Nelson V, Financial Education Coach