Are you a work-from-home parent who is struggling to get things done while being caught in the whirlwind of chores that seem endless.
If you are thinking of working from home, it would be good to know what you would most likely face in the coming days.
Ready for the spoiler? 🙂
More Productive Working from Home?
The answer is definitely YES.
If you can save your energy and time from daily commuting, there is no doubt you will become more productive and happier.
The bad news is that the home is a nest of distractions.
If you are disciplined, you can put in consistent work hours daily without succumbing to unnecessary distractions that are not related to work.
There are however things that are outside your control. Especially if you are a parent, you understand this well. Your babies are screaming for attention (milk, comfort, diaper change) and unlike toddlers and adults, they don’t do it at regular timings. You have to ‘serve’ them almost on demand.
In between the feeding, diaper change, laundry & routine chores, it is no wonder that many bemoan saying they couldn’t get anything done in the course of a day.
What Can Be Done?
The fact is working from home has its challenges and as a friend once said, you have to roll with it.
The flexibility of being able to manage your own time can also mean things can fall apart pretty quickly and randomly since there is no BOSS to account to.
Below are some steps people can implement to be productive at home.
1. Plan for Each Day
If you don’t plan, it’s hard to get anything done because you will be reactive to situations. There will always be urgent cases you need to attend to. Don’t let such distractions come in. Plan your time and be firm. Being firm does not mean ignoring your spouse or family, it means communicating in advance your plan, blocking out time and being there to help each other achieve the set goals.
You should also set duration for each task, so that things do not overrun and cause you further anxiety. If you are already doing this, then that’s great. If not, it’s a necessary skill to pick up and you will because it is not that hard. You just need practice and focus.
[ Related Reading >> 10 Tips for a Productive Life ]
2. Try to Establish a Routine (with your baby / children)
It is important to have uninterrupted work time. Four segments of 15 mins spread across a 3-hour period is not as effective as a 1-hour of uninterrupted time. To achieve anything, we need a fair bit of time and momentum. Anxiety comes about when you are struggling to find a time to focus on work but things just keep cropping up left, right and center.
Knowing the routine of your family needs can help you plan around those daily events, so that you won’t feel so anxious.
With a baby, you need the help of your partner so that you can focus while your other half is tending to the baby. Do the same for your partner when it’s his/her turn to work.
3. Wearing the Right Clothes
When you work at home, no one sees what you wear or whether you wash up before appearing in front of your work desk. You can be very flexible and there’s no penalty or shocked stares.
Having said that, people tend to focus and work better if they are dressed appropriately.
Granted that you need not appear in formal wear, heels, neck tie etc, pyjamas and sleeping gowns form the other end of the spectrum and it is prudent to avoid that extreme as well.
4. A Designated Work Desk
There is no need to set up a room for working from home but a designated ergonomic work desk is important.
The work desk and its immediate surrounding area should be designated as work space. This helps to channel a sense of focus.
As written in an earlier blog post, working from home does not mean working in a free-flow mode. Structure and clear boundaries are still crucial if you want to be productive consistently.
5. Be an Entrepreneur, Own a Business
When it comes to home-based work, it can take on varied forms.
Some are corporate employees working for companies flexible enough to allow them to work from home. Then, there are those who are running their online businesses from the convenience of their laptops.
Both face very similar challenges but over time, the business owner will find it easier to get things done from home. This is because as the business gains traction and takes off, you can put it on autopilot more regularly. This is not possible if you are working for a corporate. For the salaried employee, active involvement is always required and the time to render that service is almost non-negotiable (9-to-5 workday grind). The entrepreneur can work anytime, as he is not bounded by any company policy (it’s his own business!). However, he should remain accountable to his own success and plough in the same or usually greater amount of hard work.
This article was written with my baby just a few steps away. She is happily sleeping after her meal and so, it’s my work time from now till she wakes up. Yes, it is not always easy but it’s possible if we plan ahead and adjust along the way. There are many ways to get around the challenges and to start enjoying working from home. If you are also working from home and have something to add, then please comment below. Let’s share notes.
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