Just when you get on a call with your boss, does one kid came in screaming with a bloody nose, while another kid starts yelling, “I pooped?”
Do you find yourself wondering, “How am I going to get anything done with all of this craziness going on?”
Don’t worry, we’ve got you!
Here we are, living, working at home and doing our best to navigate life in this unprecedented time.
It’s safe to say things have drastically changed in the last few weeks. Now we all home together trying to simultaneously parent, figure out how to virtually collaborate with colleagues and educate children. With everyone under the same roof during the day, the struggle can be real!
Accomplishing the same things you once did at work is a little tougher thanks to a slew of new interruptions.
Here’s a tip, that if explained to your kids and practiced consistently, will help you get more uninterrupted time to be on calls or get work done WHILE your kids are still at home.
Kids have questions, need food, and always want to tell you something (or let you know that they are bored). In their minds, their needs can’t wait. Hence the need for a visual signal to kids that you are busy and their questions will have to wait.
Working at Home Without Interruptions:
The key to making this trick work is using it selectively, not all day long every day. Sorry parents, this works great if you have an important meeting, deadline or call that you need uninterrupted time.
- Choose a visual symbol, preferably something you can wear, like a loudly colored boa or hat.
- Introduce the symbol to your children and clearly explain to them that you are not available when you are wearing this item. Wear it around a bit, for short periods, and let your kids get used to you being unavailable, say while you cook dinner one night.
- Give your kids 2-3 problem-solving strategies to use while you are unavailable.
- Independent box: next to your office space, leave a box full of age-appropriate independent activities for your kids. (Markers, paper, puzzles, etc. all make good choices for them to use until you are available.)
- Snack Basket: If your kids are older, try setting out a snack basket for your kids to choose from when they get hungry.
- Boredom Buster List: Make a list full of age-appropriate independent activities for them to you until you are available.
- Ask a Sibling: Teach your kids to ask each other for help.
- Remind your kids that you won’t be wearing this symbol the entire workday, only when you REALLY need to get something important done! That way, when you do throw it on, they know you mean business.
- Be consistent. Don’t wear it around to the kitchen while you eat lunch for 30 minutes, the effectiveness won’t be the same. Expect a small learning curve, but after a short time, you will be surprised how much more you can actually use this strategy.
For some of you, working from home has been part of your reality for a long time, while others are just now trying to figure it all out. Each family’s situation varies, but we have to find new, creative ways to manage. We want to hear all of your successes and challenges with it. Try this out, let us know how it goes.