Ways to be productive while working from home
How can you get work done with that beautiful newborn demanding your attention? Working from home is a lot like working from work, but with a thousand extra distractions, and learning to manage them while you're already adjusting to being a parent to a new baby all at once is not easy. It’s totally doable, though.
- Give yourself a schedule, and let your family know it
If you don’t carve out time in your day specifically for working, no one else will. With a new baby around, you’re liable to get interruptions from friends and family, or even co-workers just looking to chat. If you set a time that is completely devoted to work, you’ll be able to squeeze a lot more productivity into your day.
- The rest of the time, be flexible
Outside of your designated working hours, keep your schedule as loose as possible. You’ve got a new baby around, so who knows what will come up? Flexibility gives you the opportunity to take care of personal business, work, or baby-related emergencies when they happen.
It can be important to communicate the need for this flexibility with your employer. Find out how many hours you’re expected to log, and if possible, evaluate your work based on projects delivered rather than hours put in. Sometimes a typical 9 to 5 becomes 8 to 10, 11 to 2:30, and 7:15 to 9:45.
- Create a workspace
As much as possible, give yourself an area that is devoted to working. Maybe you’ve got a room that can convert into an office, or a corner that can be devoted to a desk. Sometimes your work area will simply the kitchen table, and that’s okay! However, when you’re using it for work, try and create an actual workspace. One of the challenging things about working from home is not being in the right state of mind because you don't feel like you're at work, and setting the stage right can do a lot to fight that feeling. How would you decorate your desk in a workplace that wasn't your home? What things don’t belong on your desk? For instance, if there are placemats, move ‘em!
- Dress for the day
Recreating the simple ritual of getting ready for the workday is a fantastic way to put yourself into a productive mindset. It’s all about compartmentalizing what is home and what is work. Get out of those pajamas. Or, at the very least, put on your work pajamas! Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable…
- Think about some part-time childcare
As your baby gets a little older, you might want to consider bringing in someone to watch your child while you work. Even just a couple of hours a week will give you some much-needed freedom to tackle your work. Because they’ll be coming to your home, and you’ll still be there, any local babysitter is probably plenty qualified to lend all the help you’ll need.
- Capitalize on naptime
Baby is finally quiet, there’s no distractions, time to….relax? Sorry, but probably no. This is the crunch time. When your baby is down, you’ve got a great opportunity for focus. If you can learn to challenge yourself to be as productive as possible in these moments you’ll be surprised what you can get done.
- Be with baby
You’re probably working at home as a way to be with your baby, not in spite of her. If you need to take a walk, grab a cuddle, or take some time with a feeding, do it and don’t feel guilty. When your baby is your primary responsibility, people will quickly learn to respect that and help you work around it. Being a full-time parent and a full-time employee is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but with a lot of focus, a bit of help, and a little luck, you’ll do just fine!
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