Cracking the "Working From Home and Home Schooling" Code

As the new school year approaches, many of us have transitioned from working outside of the home to working from home. This includes our children, who have moved to remote home school learning. Although this change is temporary, it can be difficult to adapt and create the right surroundings when you are not used to working remotely. More importantly, it can be challenging to remain productive and minimize distractions while transitioning from our usual home routine to work within the comfort of our own home…and even harder with the kids remote schooling from home.

When working from home, it’s easy for the lines to become blurred. Having the urge to do household chores (I’ll just throw in 1 more load of laundry, and THEN I’ll get started with my work), or procrastinating by snacking (yup, we all do it…) and being unmotivated because we are “working” in our pajamas, or want to watch 1 more Netflix episode…

Not to mention, many parents who are now working remotely from home and are also trying to balance work, homeschooling their children, refereeing fights between their children, being a short-order cook, housekeeper, mom/dad and spouse! Exhausting!

Have you secretly wished you could sneak away and hide out at your office outside of the home so you can get a few hours of uninterrupted work done?

Here are a few tips to make the best of your home work/school environment:

1. Create a designated workspace

When we blend our home space and workspace, it’s imperative to create boundaries and not blur the lines.

Make a dedicated workspace with a desk or table and a supportive chair. This does not include the couch or bed! If you are working from home with your partner, create necessary boundaries to minimize distractions.

If your children are being homeschooled remotely, set them up in a workspace that also minimizes distractions so everyone can get their own work done.

Keep your workspaces free of clutter. Clutter creates distractions and chaos. Remove anything from the desk except the immediate work tasks. If possible, limit any distractions in and around the room. Organize all papers into labeled folders.

2. Create a daily routine/schedule

Most people thrive with a schedule and routine. Especially children. Set the alarm to wake up the same time each day. Shower and get out of your pajamas. Wear something comfortable, but get dressed.

Make your coffee and eat a healthy breakfast. You will feel more motivated after showering and getting dressed. Do the same for your children. Get them up at a reasonable time in the morning, have them shower, eat breakfast, and get dressed before remote learning begins.

Post the times that your workday begins and ends. Post the times of remote learning. Post the times your child should be spending working on independent school work. Post the time, you will take a lunch break, a mid-morning break and an afternoon break. You may even want to set a timer.

It is helpful to have this schedule posted on a large calendar or whiteboard, so you and your children know exactly what to expect each day. Schedule in free time, bath times and meal times. You can even check the tasks off as they are completed. Kids love to do this!

3. Create a “feel good” space

When surrounded by things that make you feel good, it is more enjoyable to work from home.

Here are some of my favorites:

Set up in a room with a window. A view and fresh air are important, so you don’t close yourself or your kids off from the world completely.

A diffuser with your favorite essential oil. I like ones that help with focus, concentration and energy.

A plant. Plants keep the air clean and promote creativity.

Water to stay hydrated.

A few healthy snacks such as nuts or fruit to keep energy up.

Soft music. This may not be for everyone, but some people find it easier to concentrate on soft music.

Most importantly, get outside for a few minutes each day for “Brain Breaks!” Sunshine and Vitamin D are essential for keeping spirits up. Engage with your kids and do some jumping jacks, short sprints up and down your driveway and some deep cleansing breaths. Take a short ride around the neighborhood. These “brain breaks” are fun, healthy and essential to your wellbeing, productivity and gets the endorphins pumping in the brain!.

*Published in Brainz Magazine August 11, 2020.