The ultimate tips to make your WFH lifestyle work for you.
When my daughter was a newborn, working-from-home was easy! My little girl had her schedule, and most of it spent sleeping all day. Because of her predictable schedule, I was able to do so many things from house chores to project presentations.
Eventually, things changed as she began to sleep less. Surprisingly, I was still able to keep up.
The reason: I keep a schedule and flexible work routinewhich I regularly update to match my deadlines and baby’s needs.
Follow these work-from-home hacks dedicated to hands-on parents:
1. Know the basics to working-from-home
There are only a few things you need to start working-from-home – a reliable Internet, earphones for taking video calls and a laptop. But as soon as you get responses from your cold emails, bid wars and proposals, you’ll know that it’s time to set other matters straight. In my blog about the three basic steps to get started in online freelancing, I shared the steps I took when my online freelancing started picking up. You can check it out first before getting to the other tips.
2. Have a dedicated work area that is safe for small children
When my daughter was still an infant, I had no issues working-from-home because my baby was satisfied staying in her crib. As soon as she learned to crawl, she enjoyed exploring and found happiness climbing my lap and my home office chair. Unfortunately, these cute little humans have no concept of boundaries and deadlines. So, make sure to have space for them to crawl in safely with toys to keep them entertained during crucial work hours.
3. Block scheduling
Try block scheduling or working on smaller tasks on different blocks of time during those hours that your baby’s calm or entertained with toys. You can block an hour in the morning for client meetings or at least 30 minutes in the evening to catch up with a client who prefers end-of-day meetings.
4. Break time could be play time
One of the things I learned while taking care of my kid is that they would always need playtime sessions. These playtime sessions are essential to improve their social interactions and brain development. Reading books to my baby has been my favourite break-time activity at home. I would always read parenting and advertising books to her. But as she turns into a playful infant to a toddler, I started giving her age-appropriate educational toys that we play together during those 15-minute breaks. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.
5. Use online tools to make your work easier
Back in the day, we are limited to using paid office software to help us with our office work. Today, there are so many free online tools to help you work efficiently. I, for one, use those scheduling and calendar apps that send notification about my appointments and meetings. You can also check out this list of online tools that I use to help me with my digital consultancy business.
6. Recharge with a 20-minute afternoon nap with your baby
Most of the time, parents, especially moms, have to tend to their babies several times a night to care for their babies. It becomes less as soon as the baby learns to sleep through the night, but it doesn’t mean work-from-home parents get the right amount of sleep. Instead of binging on caffeine, have a quick nap with baby in the afternoon. It will help your baby sleep quickly, knowing you are in the bedroom with them while you get the much-needed rest.
“Your work conditions determine your work-from-home success.”
– Elle Anorma –
7. Outdoor activities for you and your kids
When you work-from-home chances are you see fewer people every day compared to when you were working in the office. It could get lonely and boring sometimes. Luckily, you have your kids with you who will remind you how important it is to spend your day outdoors. Take your kids to the playground, schedule a trip to the farm or explore nearby museums. It will help you appreciate how much you own your time as a work-from-home parent.
8. Get a part-time house helper
If there’s one mistake that every newbie parent like me have committed that would be trying to do it all. Parents, you have to understand this, you can only choose to do at least two or three roles at home and delegate the rest of the household chores to a house helper. You can choose to have a part-time or a stay-in house helper. It will give you more time to care for your kid or work on a project while providing an income to a trusted house helper.
9. Be in the loop
Working-from-home doesn’t mean you won’t have access to the latest news and tools about the industry you’re working on. Create your list of industry leaders to follow to learn more about the space. Join groups that share your interest and passion and connect with them through sharing some tips in the comments.
10. Set at least 3 to 5 hours of uninterrupted work time
While I’m a believer of block scheduling, it’s also essential for me to have hours of uninterrupted work. It allows me to focus more on those tasks that require my 100% attention. Usually, I wake up at least three hours before everyone does to create my content, edit vlogs, plan my next trip with my daughter, and so on. And then I would spend at least two hours more before bedtime to check my team’s work and plan next day’s to-do list.
11. Dress the part
Although you are staying at home most days of the week, it doesn’t mean that you should look like you’re an everyday home dweller because you’re still working even if you are at home. Be video-call ready for a quick chat with a client. Saying you need 5 minutes to prepare was cute a few years ago but not in 2019.
12. The kids study time could be your work session
At four years old, my little girl has a complete understanding of how our schedule works. It helps that she knows that there is a time for everything. To maximise productivity, I include 15 to 30 minutes of her study time into my work schedule. Those few minutes of working side-by-side give us a sense of achievement that we can carry on with our tasks together.
Your work conditions determine your success in your work-from-home career. As soon as you have your work conditions figured out, it’s now time for you to prepare yourself to get a job!
Check out the blogs below for your next steps:
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