School is now over for the summer and the kids are over the moon, with 6 weeks off for most (7 for others depending on where you live) they are certainly looking forward to no lessons and lots of fun filled days. You, on the other hand, still have to work and this can be especially hard if working from home.
Some of you, like myself, may be lucky enough to be working from home this summer, however creating that work/home balance can be rather tricky when the kids are home for so long. No matter their age as soon as your attention is elsewhere they suddenly need you.
This guide contains everything you need to know to make your summer perfect both for your family and your career, without having to compromise at all.
Set Some Ground Rules
If you’re going to have the kids at home with you while you work, you’re obviously going to need to set some ground rules for during work hours. This will allow you to enjoy spending time with them, but not get distracted from your work. Depending on the ages of your children, you may need to make the ground rules more or less explicit. For very young ones, staying within sight of you is a good idea, although might not be practical depending on the layout of your home and where you intend to work.
For teenagers, the ground rules are likely to be much simpler. They will, most likely, want to spend a lot more time in front of a screen than with you, so rules relating to how much screen time they are allowed will certainly come into play. For all children, it is important that they are able to create a sense of independence by not continuously interrupting you while you work. Make sure they understand that the less they interrupt you, the quicker you can finish your work and spend time with them.
Master Self Discipline
Self discipline is one of the biggest problems of modern times. From food consumption to work productivity, humans are some of the worst disciplined creatures on the planet. Make sure you maintain clear time slots and goals for working, whether it be finishing a particular task or work on an ongoing project for several hours. Sticking to these guidelines will allow you to achieve much more than you would if you were constantly deviating from the plan and taking breaks.
Turning off social media during these times really helps – just how many times are you in the middle of a task/post and a notification has pinged through from Facebook, Twitter or even an email? You will then find yourself scrolling aimlessly through your feeds and half an hour or even an hour has disappeared before you realise! – we’ve all done it too often.
Working from home offers a great deal of challenges. Temptations are everywhere, as there are so many things we want or need to do at home, playing with our kids being just one of many. Remind yourself of your goals by sticking post its around your workspace, to bring you back into the moment when you get distracted. It may also help to practice mindfulness or meditation in order to improve your focus and productivity.
Working from home is notoriously difficult, and at times motivating yourself to sit at a desk instead of going for a bike ride with your kids can be really tough. Try to keep yourself motivated by getting up at the same time as you would for work and sticking to a routine. This can sometimes be half the battle, as for many of us a lie in during the summer holidays is just what we need.
Rewarding yourself with breaks and enjoyable activities is a great way to keep up both your momentum and sense of motivation. It could be a cup of tea or an hour of walking around the park, but whatever it is make sure you prioritise it as much as you do your other tasks. It will keep up your morale and make you much more productive when you are working.
Make Some Home Improvements
If you’re looking to make a few changes to your home this summer, remember to take into account how it will affect you as a family. Too often we are quite literally putting up walls between members of the family, when what we really need to do is take them down. An open plan living area is the perfect space for working at home, as it allows you to keep an eye on younger children and be in the same room as others while still working. Investing in a little remodelling work or some internal bifold doors can really transform your working and living space, as it allows you to feel closer to your family.
Get Out of the House
If you’re working from a laptop or tablet, it can be a great idea to take advantage of the sunny summer days by taking your kids to the park and sitting on a bench or under a tree as they play nearby. Providing that you don’t need to bring reams of paperwork with you, this is an excellent way to mix up your work routine a little. Don’t forget to take a picnic for your lunch, and take that well deserved afternoon break to join your kids for a walk. Whatever you do, don’t forget to spend time as a family during those fleeting summer months.
You can easily do the simple tasks of replying to emails while watching the kids bounce on the trampoline – during the day is the best time to reply to these as those who have sent them will still be behind their desks until 5pm. Dropping a few lines via email doesn’t take too long and it will ensure they receive your response before they go home. I do this during the day and save the actual work which requires time and concentration for the evenings once the children are in bed.
What are your working from home tips? How do you make sure your work still gets done in the holidays?
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