For anyone who read my last blog post you will remember I had bravely taken on working more than normal over the summer and under the illusion I could do it from home with the kids....how wrong I was. Instead of dropping the kids off at childcare and retreating to a calm office as previous years I was instead after the first week spending more time on crowd control than work. It was not the idyllic situation I had envisaged.
So I set out to find some solutions and thanks to lots of lovely parents who are far more experienced at the working from home with kids lifestyle I gained lots of great tips.
I have tried and tested them over the last week or so and put together my top five. They are five that really work and that I have found make a difference, so if like me you have found yourself longing for peace, quiet and childcare read on......
1 – Gain some order! Dump, Do, Delegate - Empty everything out of your head and off all of your to do lists onto one sheet of paper and label dump, do and delegate.
The dump list is everything you no longer need to do or things that are no longer important. Do is everything that needs to be done and list these in order of importance, is there anything that can wait till sept when the kids are back at school? Delegate is anything you can delegate to someone else whether its work or home related, can you ask someone to do your ironing, employ a virtual assistant for an hour or two, its amazing the speed they can get through things.
2 - Find productive times - Most of us work best in either morning or evening. Personally I would rather get up at 6am and get a hour or two in before the kids wake up than work in an evening, as after 8pm I am not in the least bit productive and prefer TV and a glass of wine. Find your most productive time either morning or evening and grab an hour or two before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Having tried this it's amazing how with a little planning you can get loads of things done. The key is have your desk and your to do list ready to go as soon as you are.
3 – Save screen time – Can you save computer and TV time until you have to work? Don't be ashamed about using computers and TV as short term childcare while you get some work done. If you can get some productive work time in then you can spend some quality time with your kids afterwards.
4 – No childcare but need childcare? - Set up an independent activity that your kids can do without you. A small craft activity, threading, creating a card for granny or even set up their own 'office' and give them a task. However the key is that they know it is an independent activity and there is a start and a finish to it or are your kids the right age for soft play? Then take advantage, make a list of simple tasks that can be done with distraction. If you don't want to take your laptop, have tasks you can do on your phone or in a notepad to type up later? Your kids get an a few hours out and you get some work done while they don't need you.
5 – Swap kids – Do childcare swaps with other parents, rope in any help from family or friends that you can. Other parents have childcare issues to and while you have your friends kids they might keep each other occupied while you get some simple tasks done, plus it makes the holidays more exciting for them.
If someone offers to help say yes.
I hope you can see how some of these tips can help you, they are small changes that make a huge difference. I'm not saying these five tips will always work 100% or will make everything perfect but they have helped me and other working parents and when your faced with a long summer ahead with the kids at home and work that needs doing any little helps.
Most importantly though when you take time out of work to spend with your kids make it's just that, quality time with your kids, after all the holidays are there to make memories.