5 Tricks for Staying Productive (and Balancing Kids!) When You Work at Home

The key to getting things done when working at home is to train your brain to really focus on work. If you have kids, you also need to find a way to have relative quiet as you work (earbuds are great). Try these 5 tips for staying productive:

1. Mark Your Territory

Cool and professional surroundings can help you stay focused. If you can turn a spare bedroom into a home office, I highly recommend it. Get a work desk, office chair and other décor with “work-at-home pro” vibes. Make sure this area has a door. You’ll need it — trust me.

Don’t work in rooms that feel too informal, such as on the living room couch. Don’t you dare work in your oh-so-cozy bed! If you have to work in your bedroom because of space, buy a table that’s exclusively for work. Also, turn on the lights!

Woman working with baby

2. Choose “Office Hours”

Even if you have the freedom to work whenever you want, set your own schedule. This helps your body adjust to a regular routine, which can keep you alert. Resist the temptation to wake up “whenever.” Respect your schedule and you’ll get a LOT more done.

3. Take SHORT Breaks

It’s OK to take breaks if your brain feels fried. They help you stay productive, happy and sane. However, breaks also present risks to productivity. If you’re like me, short breaks quickly turn into long breaks and before you know it the entire afternoon is gone. Avoid personal time-wasters:

  • Watching TV
  • Surfing the internet
  • Looking at social media
  • Checking out news
  • Playing Candy Crush (guilty as charged☹)

There are better ways to press the reset button for your brain. Grab some coffee, munch on granola, water your flowers or take your dog for a short walk.

2 Minute Ritual

4. Spend Time With Your Kids … Later

You have to be able to concentrate to get work done. The problem is that it’s easy to feel guilty when your little girl is crying because her teddy bear’s head came off and you CAN’T HELP HER because you’re finishing a report with a deadline in 20 MINUTES! You have to accept that ignoring your child for a few hours doesn’t make you bad parent.

Set aside time after work to play with your kids. Eventually (definitely not overnight) they learn the difference between “Mommy is working” time and “work’s over” time.

To do list

5. Don’t Start and Stop

​Once your brain is in high gear, maximize the amount of things you get done in that valuable window. Constant interruptions are like hitting the brakes on the highway. Of course, as a mom you may have to juggle errands and chores. What can you do?

Try to group tasks together. If you need to get groceries, take care of everything else you have to do outside during the same morning. That way, in the afternoon, you’re free to focus on work. Do the same with housework and laundry.

You CAN stay productive at home. You just need to know what to push yourself towards. Many successful work-at-home moms recommend taking a few minutes to organize yourself in the morning. Set specific goals, do your best and don’t give up!

5 Replies to “5 Tricks for Staying Productive (and Balancing Kids!) When You Work at Home”

  1. The article is very handy but when you have a 14 months baby and two boys for home schooling, nothing seems to work.

  2. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing, great written and come with approximately all vital infos.I would like to see more posts like this .

  3. First of all I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d
    like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.

    I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas
    out. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?

  4. Hi Winston! Great question. I think most of us have that initial time where we are settling in to the work. When you work at an actual office, you have your morning routine and your commute to get your head in the game, but when you’re working from home that transition can be a lot quicker. I would recommend scheduling in that 15 minutes you need to get your head into work. Maybe that means starting 15 minutes earlier than you would normally, but give yourself that warm up time to reach your optimal efficiency. I think it’s quite natural to have that. You can also try a quick deep breathing exercise when you first sit down at your desk to really bring the focus in. Hope that helps!

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