Updated: Apr 7, 2020
I know you might be working from home today. And there’s a good chance your kids are there, too, whether school has moved online or closed. To help you get the most out of these days with everyone’s sanity intact, here are some key tips to making work work at home:
Adjust your schedule. Can you work early in the morning or post-bedtime to give you a couple of hours of flexibility during the day?
Do your most important things first. Let’s be realistic. Your productivity is going to take a hit and your days might be unpredictable. Do your big rocks first.
Enlist your partner. If you have one, this is the time for true partnership. Divide up the day (or week) into hours when you are the lead parent, dealing with kid issues that arise.
Set a schedule, and keep it familiar. Make sure everybody wakes up at their normal times and gets dressed for the day. Have your normal breakfast routine, if you’re usually with your kids then. Then, go over the schedule for the day. Kids are much more likely to let you get your work done if they know what to expect.
Give kids a to-do list for the day. Guess what? Kids like checking things off their to-do list, too. Brainstorm (with them!) a list of activities and chores they can do. It can be fun stuff, school stuff, useful stuff, you name it. Make a list every morning or the night before, and let them cross each one off as they go.
Take breaks together: Let your kids know that you will have meals, snacks and scheduled breaks together. If they’re old enough, ask them to be ready to go outside at 11am for a walk or tell them to meet you by the TV for some YouTube yoga.
Create a physical barrier when you need one. You don’t have to lock yourself away in a home office all day, but pick the times you do need to—for calls or spurts of head-down work—and make sure everyone in your house knows you need that time, no interruptions. And put a sign on the door to remind them!
Be honest with your team. This is your new reality. Telling your team (and manager about your situation) will help them support you. Hiding this will only cause unneeded stress.
Be kind to yourself. Your kids will survive extra screen time or you not being a perfect parent. In fact, this might teach your kids to entertain themselves more, which is an essential life skill.
Connect with other moms. To prevent isolation, get a group text chain going with your other mom friends.
The bottom line: see if you can find a new rhythm, and don’t aim for perfection.
Oh yeah… and wash your hands.
Oh yeah… and wash your hands. You've got this, mama.