Alexandra Sampson

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May 20, 2020

How I Work From Home With School-Aged Children

Personal, Work

I’ve had periods in my career where I worked from home a lot, and periods where I didn’t 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, stop running out of time to even make one). Seriously, visions of working while running a load of laundry and skipping over to the fridge to grab a snack danced in my head.

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

My COVID Pandemic Work-From-Home Schedule

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

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

A few things to note:

  1. I use “deep work” 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 “shallow work” shifts to handle shorter tasks that don’t require longer blocks of time. This includes tasks like responding to emails or participating in conference calls.
  3. I don’t keep the exact same deep work and shallow work time blocks / 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 to 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. I’m only human, so flawless execution should not be my goal.

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

Work From Home with Kids
  1. […] Writing this post is giving me all the feels about the transition to working from home at the onset of the pandemic. Check out how I navigated working full-time while parenting and homeschooling 2 school-aged children. […]

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