The #1 key to making your work from home situation function productively is to create a schedule. Making a weekly schedule will help you plan and review your entire work week ahead of time.
You’re probably thinking that you don’t need to make a schedule because you already know your working hours.
However, anything can happen during the day to throw your schedule way off.
Having a schedule already made will help to keep you on task with your work assignments. Using a schedule to plan your entire day is a simple way to increase your productivity.
A weekly schedule creates structure for you and your children to efficiently get through the day. A good schedule will ensure your family is well informed about the tasks ahead. Also, your schedule could change based on other factors.
At least you’ll have a basic plan set for your day so making a change won’t disrupt your calendar. Your schedule will help you figure out how you can spend your time while working from home on work stuff and mommy stuff.
I want you to keep in mind that working from home, with kids, means that at some point your meeting will be interrupted.
Okay, it may not be a meeting but definitely a phone call with a coworker will be interrupted with your child’s voice asking for something.
Please do not beat yourself up about it.
No matter how much you prep your kids to remain quiet and busy while you’re on a call, things can happen.
Laugh it off and keep it moving.
Okay, let’s get back to creating a schedule.
Write a list
The best way to get into making a schedule is to write a list of everything you’re responsible for during the workday.
Even though I love automating things, I still write them down first. It helps me to conduct a full brain dump of everything I have to do that day.
You don’t realize how much you actually do in a day until you see it written down.
Truthfully, a lot of my ‘Lists‘ turn into my ‘To Do Lists‘, which turns into my weekly and monthly schedules.
Include tasks that happen before you start your work day — all through to your bedtime.
This first list is a brain dump so don’t worry about how it’s organized at this point.
Structure your day
Pre-pandemic mornings were likely the time when you and your kids were running around trying to get out of the door on time.
Now, with you and the kids being home, your mornings probably look very different.
This is more of a reason to structure your day.
It’s very easy to get comfortable with being at home — without structuring your day, you risk the chance not staying focused on your tasks.
Group your day by: morning, midday, and evening.
There are some work assignments where I purposely leave for late afternoons. They are rather boring and I’d rather stretch the tasks out until I get off of work.
Mornings are when I schedule tasks that involve programming or planning. Midday tasks usually include a check in with my kids, lunch, and some less involved work tasks.
Of course, this changes but with a schedule already created, I have my basic weekly agenda set.
Consider when you work best.
Group your tasks into the time of day that makes the most sense for when you will best complete them.
Create a schedule
This is the point of the scheduling process where you get specific. Take the groups you’ve created by morning, midday, and evening, and set each task with a specific time.
Start your schedule from before you start working to avoid any missed morning tasks. allow time for breaks and self-care; even if it’s just 15-minutes for a break.
Account for every task in your weekly schedule to avoid becoming too relaxed.
Your schedule should include activities for your kids so everyone is on the same page. If you find paper schedules aren’t working, you may want to move to a calendar tool such as Google Calendar (as seen in the image above).
It’s very easy to use and might be more preferable for single moms with older kids.
Set regular work hours and stick to your schedule
Working from home without a set schedule can become dangerously comfortable — fast. You don’t want to start slacking on your work productivity, so creating a schedule is best.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, start with the most basic tasks.
Mimic a regular day in the office. As you create your schedule, mentally walk-through your normal day-today work activities.
Walk-through the normal activities you’d do at home with your kids.
Fill in time on your schedule with your regular work hours. Then, fill in your kids’ tasks and mommy tasks.
Your schedule will fill up quickly.
This method helps you to ease into scheduling if you aren’t confident with the process. Teleworking isn’t something all moms want to do but many have been forced to do it.
Let’s not add the stress of planning to your plate.
Create a schedule with breaks
Please, whatever you do, make sure to give yourself breaks.
Breaks were mentioned earlier but sometimes us moms don’t listen. If you’re anything like me, you take pride in your work and have been guilty of skipping breaks more than once.
It’s easy to get engrossed with your work when working from home.
The comfort of being at home, surrounded by your kids, but in your own workspace. It gives the illusion that you can work starting through the day.
Don’t work straight through the day. Doing so will make you feel burnt out.
Your work productivity will decrease, eventually.
Working from home could start to feel suffocating. For every hour you work, take 5-10 minute break. That should be enough to keep you from feeling overworked.
Aside from helping your children with their studies while home, you have to ensure your job is secure. You can do that by completing the work assignments that are given to you.
The best way to make sure you’re completing your work assignments is to create a schedule that is easy for you to follow.
What’s the one thing that helps you stay on task while working from home?