Are you forced to work at home and don't know how to balance your attention between your work and your family? Read this article for some tips on how to stay focused on your work while also having time to spend with your family while in quarantine.
With the spread of Coronavirus, businesses are having their employees to work from home and schools are shut down or online. This means everyone is home at that same time, making it hard to balance your work and family life. Below are some tips to achieve a healthy and balanced life while working from home. Splitting your attention between your family and your career is a balancing act. Not being able to distance yourself from your family makes it harder for you to focus on your work.
PLAN YOUR DAY
Working from home means juggling emails, conference calls, and tight deadlines all while parenting. It’s important that you decide how many hours you want to work in a day in order to determine how much time you’ll have left over for your family. Create official “office” hours so your family knows when you are on and off the clock. Think about what tasks or projects require the most attention like conference calls or completing a project with a tight deadline. Do these important tasks when you know your children will be occupied by another activity like napping, reading, coloring, or doing a solidary activity in another room. Put mandatory quiet time in your schedule so that you can make important calls or lead a virtual conference meeting uninterrupted.
A perk of working from home is that you have the flexibility to push work aside if your child needs your attention or if you want to take advantage of a nice day and play outside with your children. For many people, working from home is about how many hours you put in and not what time you put those hours in, freeing you from the typical 9 to 5 work schedule. This is especially true if your job is project-based. Make a list of everything you want to accomplish for the day. This way you’re still holding yourself responsible for completing tasks in a timely manner even if you are not working the typical 9 to 5. Take time at the end of each day to schedule out your next day for both you and your children. This way you know what’s coming next. Front-load your day with important tasks so you can get them over with first.
Have your kids be a part of the schedule making process so that they understand how this new system will work. This will also give them more control of their day. It takes a little while to adjust to a new schedule, but once you get into the rhythm of things, it will be much easier. Create a routine for your children. Make sure that they have a list of tasks to complete for school so that they are staying on top of their curriculum and are not burning themselves out. Be aware of when their teachers might be available virtually to help your children with their schoolwork. Some schools are offering remote counseling from school guidance counselors and mental health professionals to get families through this time of quarantine. Make sure you schedule family time with your children so they don’t feel ignored. If your partner is also working from home, you can assign shifts for taking care of your children while the other focusses on their work.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Make sure that your children understand what “work from home” means. Let them know that even though you will be home all day, that doesn’t mean you will always be available to play with them or help them do homework. Warn your children ahead of time when you’re going to be on a conference call and don’t want to be disturbed by them. Have a “do not bother” sign or signal for when you are on a call to avoid interruptions from your children or a significant other.
It is also important that you communicate with your co-workers. Let your boss know that you need a flexible schedule so that you have time for your children. Before you go on a conference call, warn your co-workers that you have kids and that you might be interrupted.
KEEP YOUR KIDS BUSY
It’s important to plan breaks throughout the day for both you and your kids. Adults can usually maintain focus for about 90 minutes, while younger children will lose their focus after about 30 minutes. Having activities planned throughout your day will help ensure that you and your children won’t burn yourselves out. It will also keep your kids busy while you work. Activities can include arts and crafts, educational programs, playing with Legos, video games, movies, TV shows, and more. Don’t be afraid to allow your kids more screen time than usual during this time of quarantine. Plan activities that don’t require supervision like reading, napping, swinging, educational videos, or apps. Make an activity box and have your kids write fun activities that they can do during the quarantine. Each day, your kids can pick an activity out of the box to complete. Below is a list of some activities that you and your family can enjoy while being quarantined:
- Print coloring books
- Watch movies
- Go outside
- Make a cardboard fort
- Set up a treasure hunt
- Watch the Beluga Whales at the Georgia Aquarium
- Take a digital tour of the Louvre
- Bake together
- Watch the Cincinnati Zoo Livestream
- Have an indoor picnic
- Check out mars with digital 360 camera
- Go for a walk
- Play charades
UTILIZE YOUR RESOURCES
Use online tools to track your children’s progress and their grades. Contact your family members and have them virtually babysit your kids so that you aren’t responsible for entertaining your kids 100% of the time. Take advantage of educational websites that may provide you with tools to help your children stay on top of their curriculum.