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Parents across the country are facing the daunting task of working from home around their children for an indefinite period of time. Self-isolation, quarantine, uncertainty about jobs and long term business prospects are all adding to the stress faced. 

We spoke with business coach Orlaith Brogan, who has been working from home around her son for over 2 years to share her lessons and tips learned during that time. 

1. Protect your mindset

The most important factor when working from home is getting your mindset right so you can stay sane and also be a productivity ninja. Get some inspiring podcasts, YouTube videos and audiobooks playing while you work (if you can’t listen to things while working then find a way to stay motivated).  Schedule in daily calls with friends on the ‘outside’ and maintain that much needed connection. 

2. Have a plan but don’t feel the need to follow it

Kids relish in the prospect of ruining even the best laid plans. Depending on the age of your children … sit with them and create a rough plan for your week. What do they want to achieve each day in terms of fun and learning and what key outcomes must you achieve for your work/business. This is a great opportunity to show your children the importance of ‘outcomes’ versus ‘tasks’ and using creativity to achieve these. 

3. Create clear ‘work’ boundaries

When you leave the house to go to work, your mindset switches immediately and you are focused on work. You can forget about housework, the children, the amazon delivery due that day and focus on your job. Working from home means you have to be disciplined and this can be hard with all the distractions.  

Identify what distracts you most (washing, dirty kitchen, doors left open) and remove all these distractions before you start working. Try and create a dedicated work space that when you sit at it - you go into work mode immediately. 

4. Work with your children’s schedule to create your own

Your children will be worried and missing their school / nursery friends. They’ll need time to adjust to this new normal and their new routine. Involving your children in the weekly plan is a great first step and you can take it further by asking: 

What time do your children usually get up at? Can you get up an hour or two earlier and get some uninterrupted work in? 

When do your children need some dedicated interaction with you and for how long? Your children will need that dedicated one to one time. When do you think this will be? Can you diarise this time and involve your children in choosing some cool activities you can both do at this time? 

When are your children naturally happy to watch tv? Now is not the time to beat yourself up for recruiting youtube to help you work form home in this unprecedented  time. There are times your children will want to wind down with some tv … when is this? Can you agree a set time with them, provide them with snacks and get some work done. 

5. Become a productivity ninja

Recent research by Rebootonline showed that UK workers spend just 3.7 days out of five doing office-related / business work. According to the survey– workers spend more than two hours a day procrastinating; including around three hours and five minutes of a working week on social media. 

This means that despite the distractions and upheaval of working from home … there is a real possibility that you can become more productive that if you were working on site.

Adopting the done by one method has been transformational in my business. Identify the three key (needle moving) tasks you need to achieve every day and aim to have them done by one. Don’t delay, overthink or entertain distractions - know what you have to do each day for it to be a success and commit to doing that by 1pm. This leaves you the afternoon to focus on other tasks. 

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