7 Simple Strategies For Parents To Stay Focused & Productive When Working From Home With Kids

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7 Simple Strategies For Parents To Stay Focused & Productive When Working From Home With Kids
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Working from home during the COVID-19 coronavirus quarantine can seem impossible if you're also trying to parent children and keep your work productivity up.

If you want to know the best way to get through social distancing and isolation while working remotely, then you need to get healthy strategies in place to deal with your work-life balance.

RELATED: 6 Survival Tips For Work-From-Home Moms

Since I launched my own business in 2008, I've been working on the art of balancing the coveted "work from home" status.

While it is enticing to hang out in slippers and yoga pants many days, there are some key strategies that can either make or break your ability to stay focused and productive.

With the added distraction of home and children, moms have it more difficult than most when it comes to getting it all done. So, if you are a work-from-home professional parent these strategies will really help!

Here are 7 simple ways to keep your productivity up while parenting and working from home during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and quarantine:

1. Set regular office hours.

So many entrepreneurs struggle to separate work and home. Working from home causes you to blend many parts of your life.

While you need a place to work, you also need spaces in your home that are not associated with work! Otherwise, you run the risk of blended boundaries. This can hurt you and the ones you hold dear.

So, the first thing you need to do to create work-from-home success is to create regular office hours.

Perhaps you've never considered your work hours. A brick-and-mortar store always posts hours of operation. But when you work from home, you can work all day, every day!

When will you work? When will you shut down for the night?

Find clarity now. Just close your eyes and think of your ideal work-from-home lifestyle now.

Consider the following and see what comes up for you:

  • Consider your "ideal" work hours for you and your family
  • What days and times will you work on your business?
  • What time will you go to lunch?
  • How will you handle family time and make time for your children?
  • What will you do for self-care and how will you create rituals around "me time?"

Once you have decided on an ideal work-from-home schedule, block your work and personal days on a monthly calendar.

Helpful geeky hint: I actually set a recurring appointment to remind myself to stop working and make dinner at 5:00 p.m.

Post it in a prominent place to remind yourself of your commitment to creating a boundary around your work. It's important to create routine and rigor while working at home.

This way you can start out successfully, hold your boundaries, establish a reliable routine for you and your family that will help to maintain your sanity while working from home.

2. Set your work area up for success.

Working from home requires a work area. However, many moms attempt to multi-task their work while staying available to their children and families.

Imagine this familiar scene: Trying to balance your laptop on your lap, in the bathroom, on the potty, trying to avoid the chaos of the kids in the other room. Or juggling papers from the kitchen table to the couch just to get some time to think.

If this sounds too familiar, you need to restructure your home office.

You need a legit work area to make working at home possible without driving yourself crazy. In your attempt to get it all done, you sabotage yourself with no boundaries. There is safety inside walls and behind a door.

I'm not suggesting you restructure your house, but if you're distracted often and running away from the kids, it's time to give yourself the gift of real office space.

Consider whether your work-from-home space works for or against you. At the very least, figure out how to provide yourself with an actual workspace. You need this boundary, especially if you have young children.

For a successful work-from-home office, set up a work area that supports your work. Will papers be a part of your flow plan? Are you right or left-handed? Where will your keyboard and mouse be placed?

Also, give yourself the tools and supplies you need for success. If you need a headset, buy one! Do you need a basket of office supplies, clips, calculator, pen and stapler for the work you do? Then pull it all together in a convenient caddy at arm's length.

RELATED: 6-Step Guide To Working From Home During Coronavirus Quarantine — Without Losing Your Sanity & Staying Productive

3. Separate work from personal space and time.

One of the beautiful things about working from home is the fact that you can attend to your family's needs at a moment's notice.

While it's true that you no longer have a boss breathing down your neck and second-guessing your decision to stay home with your sick child, it's important to create boundaries between work time and home time.

Kids can't see the invisible boundaries you manage while cramming work, chores, and tasks into the nooks and crannies of your life. While it only takes a few minutes to throw in a load of laundry or run the vacuum, it's important for you to create real work, task, time, and space boundaries.

You want to shore up expectations for all of you. Discuss how you will balance work at home and when you'll be able to take care of chores and personal tasks, so they don't compete with dedicated work time.

4. Work out how you'll handle distractions (and emergencies).

There's no better way to derail your thoughts and workflow than by constantly interrupting yourself during the time you're trying to work. It's inefficient.

Human beings are just not meant to jump from deep work to light work. If you're focused deeply, an interruption can derail your productivity. Because when you start back on the task, it can take triple the time to ramp back up into focused work mode.

However, you cannot avoid the interruptions and emergencies in a young person's mind. The younger your kids, the more immediate their needs are to be met.

You'd be surprised at how helpful a non-stressed, planned conversation to help your child define "an emergency" can be.

Another way to avoid a productivity slip due to distractions is to time-block your tasks. In other words, if you need to take care of personal tasks during your workday, do yourself a favor and schedule like-tasks together.

Doing so can help you maximize productivity, and help you take care of yourself and your family.

Another common distraction is pets. If your pets disrupt your workday, consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker. It's important to get help so your pets' needs are taken care of during work hours.

5. Build regular and consistent social structures.

When you're serious about working from home, you'll soon experience yourself needing to say "no" to the endless requests from people. Depending on your friendships, if you say no too many times, it won't be long before they stop asking.

Before long, they may even stop communicating with you at all when opportunities pop up.

The best way to avoid the inevitable disappearing act is to communicate your expectations to them and build time in for social contact now.

To support your social structure and make time to see your friends, create regular gatherings or events. This helps a lot. Your friends will feel like they matter to you and it gives you things to look forward to.

Planned events can serve as the social anchors for your friendships when you start to work from home. Create opportunities that are consistent and easy to manage to be sure you don't lose touch with the people you love most.

6. Develop healthy home-operating procedures.

When you create a dual zone at home, it's important to agree on the ground rules. One of the best ways to do that is to create agreed upon procedures for your work-from-home business.

Ideally, you'll need to cover the regular procedures that include home management tasks, but also you should consider creating a procedure manual for your work-from-home business.

Gaining support from your entire family is possible, as long as family members know what they need to do to contribute to the family unit. When working from home, be sure your operating manual includes chores to delegate to others.

7. Value your services.

Unless you hang out solely with entrepreneurs when you launch a business, your attention shifts away from your loved ones and those people who are in your social circle. As such, many begin building their work-from-home business by providing services and products to those closest to them.

You first sell your services to friends and family. Often though, you offer discounted rates or do all the work for free. But it only takes a few jobs to realize that doesn't work to help you build a business.

The problem is that most friends and family don't value your services in the same way an ideal potential client would. This is an issue of boundaries, and it is up to you to keep them clear.

Remember that working from home during the quarantine and beyond is not a short-run plan. It will take effort, time, and energy.

Keep your perspective, create space to continue to fill yourself up, and celebrate your small successes along the way.

RELATED: Being A Work-From-Home Mom Is The Hardest Freakin' Job In The World

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Cena Block works with ADHD entrepreneurs to turn ADHD blindspots into superpowers through coaching. To learn more about how she can help you, visit her website for a complimentary discovery call.

This article was originally published at Sane Spaces . Reprinted with permission from the author.