May 20, 2020

Work From Home with Kids

How I Get in 8 Hours of Work While Working From Home With School-Aged Children

Personal

I’ve had periods in my career where I worked from home a lot (more days at home than in the office), and periods where I did not work from home at all. Prior to COVID-19 I was in the latter bucket. I dreamed of days where I could cut out the commute, drop the office attire, and stop forgetting my lunch (or let’s be real, not have time to even make one) and just work from home while I multi-tasked running a load of laundry, or just skipping over to the fridge to grab a snack.

Then COVID-19 hit, and my dreams came true — sort of.

However, in my dream there were no kids at home, no competing conference calls with the hubby, and there was always the option to head into the office if I needed to focus on taking care of items that were easier to handle with an in-person meeting.

While my dream of working from home more or less came true, it certainly came with additional people and obligations than originally envisioned.  So I had to crank out a plan to navigate a full day of work, parenting and homeschooling — all under one roof.

Here’s my general work from home schedule that allows me to crank out (at least) 8 hours of work in a single day:

  • 5:30 – 8:30am: morning focus time block
  • 3, 30-minute morning work “shifts”
  • 1 – 2pm Lunch Break
  • 3, 30-minute afternoon work “shifts”
  • 8:30pm – 10:30pm: evening focus time block

 

A few things to note:

  1. I use “focus time blocks” to get work done that I need to accomplish uninterrupted. I generally do these while the kids are sleep to maximize my focus. This is the time I use to draft memorandums, conduct research, review long documents, etc.
  2. I use short “work shifts” to respond to emails, participate in conference calls, and take care of shorter tasks that don’t require longer blocks of time.
  3. I don’t keep the exact same “focus” time blocks or work “shifts” everyday. They change based on my work calendar and my husband’s work calendar.
  4. I generally try to take a solid one hour, non-working lunch break. There’s so much juggling going on throughout the day it’s nice to take a mental break and just focus on family and eat lunch without feeling like I need to keep an ear out for a child or an email. 
  5. I’m gracious with myself. Some days I rock this schedule. Some days the schedule is a #fail. I try to remember that navigating work from home while homeschooling and maintaining familial relationships is hard and I’m only human, so flawless execution should not be me goal.

 

I’d love to hear your approach to working from home with a family. Shoot me an email.

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