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The ultimate survival guide for parents who work from home

Although the unexpected breakout of Covid-19 and the lockdowns that followed the crisis affected everyone, it has especially been burdensome for working parents.

Parents who previously had to rush from home to work with little time left for themselves now had to overcome other problems such as in-house distractions, the absence of a personal workplace and challenges about time management and task division. Here is a quick survival guide with useful tips for parents who work from home.

The remote working parent’s survival guide

Before the pandemic, working from home came off as a dream for many people. But especially for working parents, the downside of the dream was the urgent necessity to balance work and family life and find ways to reduce the stress caused by the unwanted merge of these two.

By inclining your ear to the solutions below, you can find a way to prevent the undesired consequences of being a parent who works from home.

Create a flexible routine

The initial action is to maintain a daily structure as it was typically the habit of most parents who used to go home from work and vice versa. In addition to the benefits such as familiarity and order, keeping a schedule of flexible nature will provide you a solid roadmap both for your work and for taking care of your kids.

Secondly, come up with a weekly schedule that is open to changes and unexpected hang-ups occuring in your routine. Such a flexible routine will help you make time and space for responsibilities other than work and childcare.

Schedule meetings wisely

Have you ever heard of the saying ‘don’t work hard, work smart’? joking apart, we are sure that scheduling meetings smartly will be a life saver. Sometimes it may feel like you are required to be productive every minute of every day.

The reality is that you need to make sure there are breaks and free times to catch your breath again and get ready to restart. Since single parents who work from home may lack the necessary support and the extra hand, we think that this is especially a useful tip for you if you are one of them.

Know your mental and physical energy patterns

It’s true that some of the working parents were already performing their profession from home before Covid-19 but still, it is a pretty new reality that now a larger number of parents have to work that way.

Unexpected situations test our mental and physical durability. Therefore it is important to know your mental and physical energy patterns so that you can orchestrate your parental responsibilities and your professional obligations accordingly.

During the day, try paying more attention to the periods and spans when you feel exhausted, energetic or productive. Then see if this is a one time thing or a regular pattern.  Knowing how your mind and body behave at certain times during an ordinary day will help you schedule events better.

Set your priorities

As a parent you know the needs of your kids better than anyone and as a professional you are likely to be able to determine the important things and not so important things on your to-do list. There’s no need to rush from one task to another being completely lost in the procedure. Assess your priorities according to the amount of time that you have and set priorities.

But as you would expect, even competent work-from-home parents can sometimes have a hard time establishing priorities. So even if you are inclined to fail at the beginning, don’t feel that prioritizing is bound to turn out badly. Practice makes it better just like everything.

Separate your roles

One major hindrance of being a work-from-home parent is that the border between your professional life and personal life faces the danger of eroding. If you went to your workplace everyday it’d be easier not to get distracted because of the household errands and kids constantly running up and down the house. Additionally, it’d be simpler to leave work-related matters at the office because of the separation of locations.

There is a solution to this for parents who are willing to try. You can have separate areas of lifespace and workspace at your home. For instance, a vacant room that hasn’t been in use for ages or the storage room that you had been planning to renovate forever can serve as your new office.

Plan what you can in advance

Despite the fact that modern life is in a constant ebb and flow of changing situations, it doesn’t mean that you can’t plan anything in advance and therefore completely go with the flow. Planning out fun activities for your kids to do while you are working will make a considerable change in your life.
Similarly, organizing some relaxing evening or weekend rituals such as a movie night with your partner or friends or a weekend getaway to a quiet destination will help you recharge your batteries.

Focus on the positives

Before the pandemic, few parents worked from home willingly. Apart from these parents, millions of others had to adapt themselves to the new and unexpected circumstances. In spite of the specific challenges and hardships of the conditions, all of us can try and see that there are some positive sides to all of this.

Whether it’s not having to go through the tormenting traffic and the crowd of the commute or the chance to spend more time with family members, being on time for social events or not having to put up with what you didn’t like in the office, focusing on the positives of the new work-from-home reality is much better for your mental and physical health then constantly seeing the negatives.

Use technology for your benefit

Don’t believe in dystopian fiction that says technology is your enemy! Under these circumstances some technology such as useful apps is your friend. You can benefit from various apps depending on your needs. While an exercising app like MoovBuddy can help you stay active, healthy and in shape, others like Headspace can help you maintain a clear state of mind through various meditation practices.

Champion good communication

We can’t stress the importance of this point enough. Establishing good and effective communication with your colleagues, friends and family members will make you avoid many problems caused by the lack of communication.

For instance, setting some non-negotiable boundaries between you and other people will not only improve your relationship to them but also enhance your overall quality of life. Your non-negotiables can be based on your aims in life, values and golden rules. As soon as you decide about where you want to locate other people in your life it should not be so complicated to communicate those values with your colleagues and loved ones.

Suppose that the time you spend with your extended family is highly important to you. You can then block out, say every Friday evening, and spend time with them. Similarly, if you feel that corporate events for socializing matter, then you can adjust your schedule according to it. Let people know what your limits and expectations are in order to avoid frustration.

Be easy on yourself and ask for help

Rome wasn’t built in one day. It’s okay if you can’t handle several things at once at the beginning and be a single parent working from home or working parents. You can always ask for help from your friends, colleagues, family members, professionals and needless to say- your partner.

Getting help will lighten your workload and it will reduce the amount of your stress, enabling you to maintain a positive attitude towards your kids and colleagues for a longer time.

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Arno Yeramyan
Arno Yeramyan is a polyglot who’s a fan of constantly learning new languages.

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