There are so many factors that can affect daily focus while you’re a stay-at-home parent. As if the kids and work didn’t take up enough of your time, there are other chores, pets, or people that regularly demand your attention.
Especially if you became a sudden stay-at-home parent because of a work-from-home order, your routine may have a plethora of holes or conflicts. Here are a few ways you can establish a successful routine for greater efficiency.
Full-Time Parent Needs
The main lesson of this article is going to revolve around constant communication. This is because as a parent, your full-time focus is on the wellbeing of your child regardless of what kind of projects are going on. While it’s important to have other friends, family members, and trusted adults to reach out to if you’re in need of a deadline completion, your coworkers should also be aware of the circumstances.
Managing your time and communicating with your coworkers is the key to having a productive day. With a child running around, you may feel like a schedule can fly out the window: lunch may run longer because they decided to pick at their food; there may be a bathroom accident in the middle of your workflow; or they may need to be comforted from a naptime nightmare while you’re answering an email from your boss.
Bite-sized objectives and communicating your daily goals with your workgroup can be the small steps needed to work in those full-time parenting needs. Don’t forget to make some of those objectives Regular Personal Breaks. Mental health professionals recommend isolating time throughout the day to collect your thoughts, disconnect from work and home needs, and reduce your risk of increased stress and anxiety levels. Click here to learn more about connecting with mental health professionals.
Shift Your Idea of the “Workday”
As a parent, you’ve already experienced how quickly a child can throw off your schedule. In a similar fashion, you’re going to need to redefine what a workday looks like and the hours you’re constrained to. In many cases, you’re not going to be able to sit down from nine to five and crank out the same about of work.
Especially if you’re switching to remote work from a regular office job, it’s important to communicate your modified schedule with your teammates and boss. While emails and calls are typically more easily accessible, you may have different times you’ll be at your laptop. When working around providing attention and care for a child at home, you may need to split your work time into smaller increments, stretching the day from eight to six instead.
As many of the other parents in the office will probably understand, accidents happen and duty calls. You’re just as responsible for a small human’s wellbeing as you are for the project deadline. If you need to take a moment away from the workload or push back a meeting, excessive communication is necessary so that everyone is on the same page and you’re still meeting your objectives.
Develop boundaries with everyone from your boss and coworkers to your spouse and children. Occasionally, the idea of having boundaries can be misconstrued as having walls up and closing yourself off from others. This is because many people don’t always properly explain why they’ve suddenly set up these limitations and needs to be met, veering off their usual social path.
First, it’s important to have your own workspace. This shouldn’t be in the room where you sleep or in a loud and crowded area; it should be somewhere you associate daily work, projects, and – hopefully – productivity. Because this needs to be a personal area, those in the house should understand it’s your designated area that shouldn’t be disturbed.
Next, sticking to the times you set aside to get work done should be adhered to as strictly as possible. As mentioned earlier, accidents and exceptions can happen – but if they become frequent problems, this is where it may be time to look for outsourced assistance. You may be used to being the house hero, but everyone in the household should understand there are times where you’re not to be disturbed.
Finally, set boundaries for yourself. It can be difficult to get into a productive workflow if you’re allowing yourself to break these habits and routines too frequently. While an accountability partner may be what you need to ensure you’re making adequate projects, your phone or web browser could also be a distraction. Try attention-fueling techniques like the Pomodoro Effect to keep your mind sharp and focused on the task at hand.
Knowing Your Needs
The needs of a younger child or infant will typically be drastically different than those entering school-age. It’s important to know when your limits have been reached in taking care of different age groups. Whether you have the ability to hire a part-time nanny or you ask a friend to help watch your children for a few days, there is no harm in reaching out for assistance.
To be productive and efficient, having that extra boost of assistance can go a long way. When it comes to organization and scheduling, the most efficient processes look different for everyone. With these general guidelines to get you set up, you have more time to run trial and error tests on what works for you and your surroundings. Balancing work and home life can be difficult as a parent; to stay productive, develop healthy boundaries, routine requirements, and maintaining constant communication with everyone involved.
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