Social distancing has made it mandatory for everyone to stay at home and re-organize the life they lived before the pandemic. This means that life, wor and school has to continue, albeit at home. Working remotely, and homeschooling can be stressful for parents as time dedicated to working weaves in time dedicated to studying or homeschooling.
In addition to this, each household has to come up with a routine that ensures they have enough time and gadgets for Zoom preparatory school, Zoom meetings, cooking and family time. It’s a lot.
Life was a bit easier and less stressful back when we had nannies, daycare or could have a babysitter for some days of the week. Nonetheless, we have to make do and come up with productivity strategies that will help us thrive or accomplish tasks.
1. Find 4 Hours During The Day For Dedicated Deep Work
It’s easier to get more done when you’re focused in your work, than when trying to juggle your laptop and a toddler dangling over your shoulder. This productivity strategy is particularly great for parents whose children are toddlers and need constant watching and tending to.
If this is you, choose 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening for uninterrupted deep work. Alternatively, you can work around your child’s nap time to get more done. The first 2 hours of the morning, before your household wakes up are ideal as the day is still young and silent.
2. Have A List Of Tasks To Be Accomplished At The Beginning Of The Week
Split these tasks into schoolwork, work/career, and household tasks. We get stressed out when we feel that everything has to be done this instant, and we get more anxious when we feel that we have a lot of work to do but we can’t identify the productive strategies we need to keep going.
If you have a partner, talk to him/her and see how they can help, ideas and how you two can have a routine that best optimizes your productivity. For example, maybe he works in the afternoon while you like mornings. Or maybe he’s a night owl. Look into these working patterns and allocate household tasks, feeding and play time based on these patterns.
You can also do this on a day to day basis.
3. Have A Family Menu
Raise your hand if you’re tired of the whats-for-supper/lunch question. When your family depends on you for meal suggestions and nourishment, it doesn’t hurt to have a family menu. This family menu has a Monday to Sunday meals time table and has been a lifesaver for mums in our community.
Download the family menu, print it and pin it on the fridge. It will give you a bit of structure and you can substitute these meals as you choose.
4. Prepare The Night Before
Waking up to a sink of dirty dishes when you need to make breakfast and prepare the children for Zoom preparatory while managing to get started on your work doesn’t feel right. It feels rushed and hurried and will probably make you feel stressed and anxious.
Set up everything the night before. Clean the dishes and layout the children’s clothes for the next day. Trust me, the next day will feel so much better as you’ll start on a clean slate.
5. Allow Your Children To Solve Their Disagreements First
How many times have your children reported each other in the past 36 hours? Most times it’s never that serious and they can work it out themselves.
If you calm way too many and unnecessary fires, you’ll end up being so depleted and your children won’t learn how to negotiate with each other or solve problems.
6. Let Your Children Play Independently
You can buy them age-appropriate toys and books and leave them to entertain themselves. You don’t have to be their sole entertainment or overschedule their day with lots of kid’s activities.
Buy them building blocks, wooden puzzles or toys and let them play. They’ll be fine.
7. Take Mini-Breaks and Turn Off Social Media
The greatest obstacle to being productive is thinking of time in terms of hours and waiting to feel inspired in order to do something. Action brings inspiration. Think of time in terms of 5 or 25 minutes and get started on a specific task.
You’ll find that you’ll be inspired to keep going or get a head start in what you’re supposed to do. It helps to keep your phone at bay when you need to concentrate.
Hopefully, these productivity strategies will be useful to you as you stay home and stay safe. Don’t forget to share them with another mum or dad who might be struggling.
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