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Making your Work from Home Sanctuary
When you’re working from home with kids, chaos can seem like it’s par for the course. Frequent interruptions, folding laundry on work calls, and distracting background noise can make any kind of productivity feel impossible. Read on for tips on how to make your work from home space a sanctuary, relieving stress and promoting productivity at the same time!
Make a Backup Workspace
By now, you’ve probably set up a dedicated workspace. It might be a separate office or a desk in your bedroom. But the truth is, when you’re working from home with kids you probably find that you don’t get to stay in that space for too long before you need to jump up and put on your mom hat. This is why making a backup workspace can be super helpful.
Plan A is always to have your own quiet space to focus. But making a Plan B workspace or two will save you on those days when you can’t seem to catch a moment of peace. Maybe it’s a standing desk at the kitchen counter, a folding desk in the living room or, as the weather gets nicer, a lap desk that can be carried out to the deck.
Use this backup workspace when you don’t need pure quiet – maybe when you’re catching up on emails or making a to-do list for the following week. When you have a little wiggle room to answer your kids’ questions or oversee them doing schoolwork, you’ll be thankful for this dedicated backup workspace that’s ready to follow you where you need to be.
Communicate your Needs Clearly
Sometimes an interruption for one more snack is a small annoyance – but other times, like during an important video call, it’s a huge stressor. Communicate your needs clearly with a door sign for your family members.
Using construction paper, cut out three circles: one red, one yellow, and one green. Glue them to a paper to resemble a traffic light. Cut out a circle so the whole sign can hang on your doorknob. Grab a clothespin or binder clip to mark where you’re at in your work. Red means enter only for emergencies, yellow means enter quietly for important requests, and green means come in, I’m working but can welcome an interruption.
Sometimes our sweet children simply forget that we’re in the middle of something important – making this door sign can be a game changer to help them understand boundaries.
Use White Noise
There’s a good chance you’re already using white noise to help you and your little ones sleep better at night. Try placing the noise machine outside your door when you’re on important calls. It will help to drown out background noise and will be another clear reminder for your family members that you need quiet and minimal disruptions.
Create Tidying Rituals
It’s so easy to get behind on home upkeep when you’re working from home. When the whole family is spending more time at home, there’s bound to be more mess as well. Go easy on yourself and work some simple tidying rituals into your routine to help keep up without losing your mind. Some examples are:
- Set a 5 or 10 minute timer after each meal and have everyone help out with tidying
- Keep cleaning supplies handy for a quick wipe down, like after using the bathroom or kitchen
- Make a fun playlist with 3-4 favorite songs for folding and sorting laundry
- Make boring chores more meaningful, like rewarding yourself with a minute of deep breathing when you take the trash out
- Put your favorite cleaning products on subscribe and save so you don’t have to worry about running out when you need them
Over time, habits like these will take some weight off your mental load and help with upkeep so you’re not constantly losing momentum on your homekeeping.
Engage your Senses
It’s important to make your space welcoming and relaxing. We focus better when we’re less stressed, and you deserve to feel at ease in your work space. Incorporate some meaningful sensory touches to help ground you.
What are some of your favorite scents, sounds, sights and touches? Here are some ideas to spread your favorite sensory inputs throughout the home:
- Diffuse a calming essential oil like lavender or jasmine
- Light a candle on your desk when you’re working, and blow it out when you’re ready for a break
- Keep a soothing instrumental playlist going in the background while you go about your work and house chores
- Add meaningful quotes or artwork to your workspace to inspire you
- Invest in a ergonomic office chair, a cozy sheepskin throw, or some new houseplants to add touches of comfort to your space
Balancing work from home life and parenting is no small feat. If you feel like you’re racing through the days just to get by, you’re not alone. It might feel like yet another unchecked box on your to-do list, but setting aside time to reflect on how your work from home life is going and how you can incorporate some of these helpful tips will do wonders in the long run.
Take it slow and try one new thing at a time if you have to. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a few tries to stick to your new cleaning rituals or for your kids to hop on board with house chores. Be intentional about how you want to feel when you’re working from home, and build up to it as you go. You’re doing amazing!