How parents of small children can cope with the chaos of working from home
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So, you’re going to be working remotely for the foreseeable future. You’re happy about avoiding the commute, and you’re definitely looking forward to more free time and flexibility. There’s only one catch: You’re sharing your new workspace with your small children. Yes, you love them and love spending time with them — but you’re also wondering how you’re going to be able to get anything done when you share an ‘office’ with the little ones. It can take some getting used to, but with careful strategizing, parents can achieve a satisfying work/life balance — even when both are on top of each other.
1. First, set boundaries. Then, set them again.
It’s essential that you have space designated for work only — where everything you need is in easy reach, and you’re free to focus entirely on the task at hand. Does this mean that this line won’t be crossed? Of course not! You may end up having to set up a playpen in your work area or nurse your baby at your desk. Alternatively, you could find yourself taking your work device with you into the nursery or checking emails while prepping a meal. Keep that workspace all the same. That way your work won’t end up taking over the whole house, and you still get that sense of putting work behind you at the end of the day to focus on family. Your work area will remain tidier, too.
2. Speaking of tidiness…
It can be hard to keep a home free of messes when you have small children in it — and even harder if you have to reorganize everything to fit a home office in. Nevertheless, the work of decluttering will pay off drastically in terms of energy, productivity, and stress management. Studies show that a messy workspace makes you more easily distracted and increases anxiety.
It’s important to keep your home space decluttered, too, for your family to stay upbeat and positive in the face of these additional challenges. Consider minor home modifications to brighten the spirits, such as getting rid of stress-inducing colors and adding décor that brings nature to mind. If your family has been quarrelsome or critical lately, consider fixes to cleanse your home of negative energy.
3. Make yourself a schedule.
It can be overwhelming to face a day full of tasks, as well as hard to know where to start first. When your daily obligations are a mix of work duties and childcare, it’s easy to feel like you’re losing control. Setting a schedule — even if you don’t necessarily stick to it — is essential. Ticking things off your to-do list is satisfying, and if you don’t get to them in their set order, don’t worry — you’re still getting to them! Having a good planner or planning app can be especially useful to help you stay on track.
4. Don’t forget self-care.
The many duties, big and small, of staying on top of work while tending to small children may leave you feeling drained and with little time left over for yourself. Nevertheless, you must prioritize self-care to avoid burnout. Your productivity and relationship with your family both benefit if you are rested and recharged. It’s also important to remember that you matter. Take breaks and enjoy yourself — for your own sake, as well as for the sake of your work and relationships. Check out the resources at Human Design Tools for more transformational tools and advice like how essential oils can enrich your life.
5. Know how your energy works.
Knowing even just a little about your own Human Design can help – like Type. If you learn about your family too, even better. But, it’s just the little things that can ease things along when you know how your energy is exchanged. If you are a Manifestor, for example, informing is huge for you. Inform your partner and your kids about what you need, like the space you need for your work, or inform them of the schedule. If you are a Generator or Manifesting Generator (MG) – it’s important to move your body – try to make a slot in your schedule for some movement, whatever works for you. This is self-care because sometimes sitting still is not the best way to get more energy for Generators and MGs. If you are a Projector or Reflector, you take in a lot of energy from others, make sure the space you create is a little separate (if you can!) and if you can’t, step outside for a few minutes during the day to get out of the energy in the home. If you can, schedule time to go outside in your schedule (even if it’s going outside to take a walk with your kids). If you can’t, just do it when you can – or even just lay flat (horizontal) on the floor/couch/wherever– it’s also breaks your tie with the energy around you. When you know how your energy works, it can make things a little easier, even when you have small kids at home – while working.