No commute? No gratuitous meetings? Being a work-at-home parent can cut down on a tremendous amount of stress and can actually boost your productivity! But there are some common mistakes that many work-at-home parents make, and our five strategies can help you to avoid them and become as efficient as possible, even from home.
Create a Schedule
Think about your day strategically, and block off time in the day to perform certain tasks. For instance, if you’re more communicate and energetic right after your morning coffee, set aside time first thing to return phone calls. Able to focus in the mid-morning? Make that time of day a time to finish up projects which require close attention. Feeling a little exhausted by the afternoon? Check off to-do list items which require less brain power.
Arrange for Outside Childcare
While having a babysitter or nanny can be convenient, many work-at-home parents report that the convenience factor is mitigated when your child continuously runs into your office to “see what Daddy is doing” or when you become distracted by the sounds of every cry or loud “boom” from the other room. Enrolling your child in daycare means that you’ll have a quiet, kid-free zone to work from, and your child will learn valuable social skills, will have a solid routine, and will be better prepared for school.
Separate Your Roles
After you’ve wrapped up a big project in the middle of the day, it can be tempting to weed through the pile of clothes in the corner and start the laundry. But the next thing you know, once the laundry is running, you’re thinking about getting dinner prepped a bit early. Your workday can easily screech to a halt when you’re also on “household duty”. Keep your domestic role and your work role separate.
Create a Private Office Area
In fact, you may want to create a physical space that is yours alone to work from. Having an office space can allow you to focus on work instead of looming laundry piles or toys that need to be organized. If you have a spare room, creating an office is a no-brainer, but even if you don’t, you can easily find a nook in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom that can house a desk and some shelves. Make it as comfortable as possible and know that once you’ve settled into your office, you’re officially “at work”.
Get Dressed Every Day
Sweatpants and pajamas are comfortable, and it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day when you’re not leaving the house! But taking a shower, grooming yourself, and getting dressed in business casual clothing can make you feel more energetic and lead to greater productivity.
If you work at home, have you employed any useful tips that have made you feel more productive? Share what has worked for you in the comments section!