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Working From Home, With Kids

We have all been launched into a new way of living, but it means something different for each one of us. In a way, it has exacerbated each of our individual situations. Some are bored and restless; others are busier than ever.

And for many of us, this means working from home in the same space as their family. I have spent the better part of the last 6 years trying to figure this out and have learned a lot along the way. Here are my lessons:

  1. Break everything down into 10-15 minute micro-tasks. You may only have snippets of time in front of a computer. Don’t waste it thinking “okay… where was I?” It may not be much, but it will allow you to accomplish something (anything!) with whatever time you can pull together.
  2. Write down each day’s must-do tasks (both personal and professional). I use a post-it and keep it on the back of my phone. Separate tasks by online vs. offline. Kids and their noise dramatically affect memory and concentration. So, when a moment comes up, you don’t find yourself not sure what to do next.
  3. Separate work that requires thought or concentration from work that does not. Save the stuff that carries a cognitive burden to either the morning or evening when kids are asleep or go for a walk to think it out.
  4. Use headphones for phone calls so your hands are free to clean up whatever mess comes your way while on the phone. Also, set your phone to stay unlocked so you can un/mute quickly.
  5. Don’t put off jobs until later, later when you are working in an office with adults. That day isn’t coming for a while. Putting jobs off and just checking in will cause you to feel like you’re spinning your wheels -busy while being ineffective. Be creative in getting things accomplished now.