New to telecommuting?
Whether you’re new to the telecommuting game or you’ve been doing it for years, you already know; it’s not as easy as it seems. Add a child or two into the mix, and you have yourself a little bit of chaos. You might not think you’re going to survive or get your work done, but you will. If you stick to these telecommuting tips, your ship will be sailing into the productivity port before you know it.
1) Put yourself in time out.
If there’s anything that kids understand, it’s the concept of time out. Why not set your timer for 20 minutes at a time and tell the little ones that you’re in a telecommuting time out? They might have to wait for their 14th snack of the day, but they’ll be fine. Plus, seeing you working until the timer goes off shows them a little something about self-discipline.
2) Set your boundaries and encourage independence.
When you’re first telecommuting, you might have to practice this one with the adult-sized kids in your life, too. When you’re working, you’re working — and that’s that! No, you can’t run to the shop for milk right now. No, you can’t find that extra sock right this second. You are working, and you will be happy to do those things later when the timer goes off. Until then, strongly encourage your offspring to try to solve the problem themselves.
3) Turn off extra distractions.
There will be laughing, there will be loud videos, and there will be running through the house while you work. There’s little you can do about it because kids are going to be, and should be, kids. It doesn’t mean that you also need the bedroom TV blaring or the obnoxious ceiling fan squeaking too. Minimize the distractions and turn off every unnecessary noisemaker that you can.
4) Wear earplugs.
When the video game noises and random whining into the headset gets to be too much, there’s an easy solution. Grab a pack of foam earplugs from your local chemist and use as needed. Ear buds and soothing music are great, but being able to hear what’s going on — only muted — makes you feel a little more connected to the parent action than completely tuning them out.
5) Take a break and enjoy telecommuting.
If you were at the office, would you have five minutes to talk about Debbie’s poodle during the middle of the workday? Of course, you would. Since you have the freedom to walk away from your computer without being questioned, you have the freedom to check in with your kids – or to find that extra sock. Take a break and catch up with them. They’ll feel great knowing you took some time just to focus on them. Telecommuting with children is a challenge, but it’s a manageable one. Take it day by day and hour by hour, and you’ll develop a working routine.
Until then, put these five telecommuting tips into action and go easy on yourself.