I am not the most organised person in the world. To be honest, I am more of an organised chaos but I have found what works for me. I recently started at Acceleration Partners and working from home has meant that I am able to spend more time with my children, structuring my work day to fit with the demands of modern life. Time is precious and spending time with family has been a key factor when deciding to go back to work full time.
Working from home and being productive doesn’t always go hand in hand. Yes, there are fewer distractions from work colleagues having a chat about what they did on the weekend on the other hand being at home there are other distractions. Here’s what works for me.
Be honest with yourself
Being productive at home, you need to be honest with yourself. I know after 1 – 2 hours of concentrating on a specific client/task I lose concentration. Instead I take a short break and spend 15 minutes doing house work such as putting my laundry away or prepping dinner. As a mum to 3 young children, I have a lot laundry and lots of mouths to feed.
Make time for yourself
Remote working doesn’t mean that the time you spent commuting should be spent on working. It gives you the opportunity to do something for yourself. Having a clear plan for the day will help focus. I have to do the nursery run every morning so that means I have to get dressed and leave the house. I spend the time going for a longer walk after the nursery run and spending the extra hour at the end of the day reading to my toddler or playing with my twins.
Find a routine that works and stick to it
I start my working day by clearing my emails and flagging the ones that I need to respond to. I then take a look at the week ahead and make sure if I have any external client meetings that I spend time in advance planning for it. Personally, I don’t like leaving things to the last minute. Since having children, routine has been key. Therefore, my working day is planned out, I make sure I start prep for dinner after breakfast and finish the remainder at lunchtime. We load the washing machine the night before and set it on a timer so it’s ready for me to hang out to dry in the morning.
Manage your to do’s
I prioritise three things that I must get done in a day that are important for my client. Any more than 3 and it feels like I have too much to do. I use flags with reminders in emails to make sure I follow up with emails. I also find productivity tools are great way to stay focused, for one of our clients we use Asana to manage global tasks which is so simple and effective to use. My colleague sets me tasks with reminders that I simply need to tick when finished.
My Amazon Echo has been fantastic too, whilst I am prepping dinner and realise I need to stock up on ingredients I remind Alexa to add them to my shopping list. I can never find a pen when I need one, so this has been brilliant. I have also set reminders of what needs to be taken to nursery on specific days.
To achieve a good balance, I believe you need dedication to the job at hand, discipline and motivation to succeed.
In summary, my top 6 productivity tips for remote working parents are:
- Start the day right- Getting dressed for the day and waking up at the same time every day will keep you on the right track.
- Routine – Plan your day alongside all the errands/drop offs you need to do.
- Organisation – Find the best tool that works for you to organise yourself. My family social life revolves around my smartphone calendar.
- Be honest – Understand how you work and build on that to making remote working right for you.
- Take breaks – Go for a walk or have lunch without checking emails.
- Parent hacks – Batch freeze food, meal planners for the week and bulk buy birthday cards.
For more tops tips, listen to our Podcast with AP’s VP of Client Services, Sarah Johnson, which talks all about how to ‘manage it all’ as a working parent.