Working parents have always pulled double duty and since the pandemic it has only increased the pressure we are under. Virtual work and school have resulted in parents spending additional time each week on household chores, childcare, education as well as our current workload. This is roughly equivalent to working a second job!
You may be thinking, “I just can’t do it all”, or “I can’t focus at home with kids”. Your thoughts are subconsciously stuck on “replay”, which gradually chips away at your self-belief. By switching your mindset, you can change your outcomes. I am going to share six tips that have helped me be successful with working virtually and dealing with virtual school.
1. Create a Schedule
My number one rule of working virtually is to create and keep to a schedule. Imagine each morning you are getting up to go to work. Schedules are a proven way to keep yourself focused. Continuing with the same morning routine that I did prior to working from home has made a major impact on my productivity throughout the day.
2. Define your Working Hours
Part of creating a schedule is defining your working hours and finding a balance between work and life. For most, the good news is that working from home can give you the flexibility to do a split shift schedule, working some hours in the morning/afternoon, and then putting in additional hours in the evening so that you can spend some time with your kids. One caveat to this is that work and home can become one and the same with blurred lines between your professional and personal life. It is important to set those boundaries, and “clock out of work” to ensure you are being present in your home at “off” times.
3. Less Travel/More Time
Important to note; with working from home, there is less time spent commuting, which means more time for you! Take advantage of this extra time to strategically plan your next move, recreate yourself, create a new brand or a new service offering for your line of work. Even better, spend that extra time starting up that side business you always wanted to own.
4. Lunch with your Kids
The most important tip I can offer is to take the lunch break with your kids. Put it on your calendar and block that time out. Time is precious and you will (most likely) never have this opportunity again. Make it a priority – you will not regret it!
5. Be Flexible
Virtual learning can be frustrating to you AND your child. Know when your child will be engaged with school, and schedule your detailed, thought intensive projects or client calls during this time.
If your child is struggling during the day with a school project, remember that you can always spend time at night or the weekend reviewing their work with them.
I have also found that just like adults, kids thrive on a schedule. Keep a morning and virtual school routine to help everything move smoothly throughout the day.
6. Don't Forget Recess
Lastly, do not forget recess! Take time for a break, a walk, or any outdoor activity. Fresh air can really do wonders for all of you.
As a working parent, virtual school and work can seem insurmountable. There are unique challenges we face every day. By reshaping our mindset and getting organized, we can learn to embrace AND enjoy these times.
I’d love to hear what’s working (and what’s not) for you…please email your comments! firstname.lastname@example.org