"SURVIVING WORKING FROM HOME" SERIES (1/4): HOW TO GET THINGS DONE (DESPITE KIDS & GROWN-UPS AROUND)
Updated: Mar 19
After about 10 years working in different types of open spaces in a previous 'life' evolving in different marketing positions and now after 4 years being happily self-employed working in different places around the world also having a shared photography studio, I do know oh so well how overwhelming it can get to get things done in a 'non-office' environment.
So I decided to share all my favorite tips & 'no BS tricks', in this blog post series to help you go through, in the best possible way, the coming weeks!
This is one of a 4 articles series. Check out all the others ones HERE
Good news for all of you working in an open-space: Some of those tips are fully applicable (and highly recommended) to survive and get actually things done in an open environment.
Let's start with the urgency of the moment: Working from home with kids.
THE TOY TECHNIQUE: THE RED AND GREEN GUARDIANS ARE YOUR ALLIES!
Take 2 stuffed toys or small characters that your child likes.
Try to have one more colored towards orange or red and the other more towards green, blue. Seat with your child and explain that those 2 toys are guardians, they are the ones who decide if mummy/daddy can be interrupted or not.
When the red one is on the table/desk, or next to mummy/daddy's computer or in front of mummy/daddy's office door, it means that mummy/daddy CAN NOT BE INTERRUPTED IN ANY WAY. It can also mean that everybody has to speak low, or no one is allowed to scream. And if they don't respect the red guardian, he gets super angry and everybody gets grounded... EVERYBODY... and no one wants that.
Vice versa, when the green toy is next to mummy/daddy's computer (in front of the door... etc you get the idea 😉 !), then it means that mummy/daddy can be interrupted or asked a question etc...
If your child can write/draw, you can place next to the red toy a piece of paper and a pen and tell your child "if you would happen to have a question or you want to tell me something but the red guardian is up, instead of speaking, you can write it down on the paper or draw it and I will find it when the green guardian will be back"
Seriously.... how fun would it be if that technique would also be used in open spaces! I am not personally in that world anymore but it makes everything so much more fun !!!
BE REALISTIC: TAKE TURNS OR USE THE NAP TIME TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
If your kids are very young, don't be unrealistic and too hard with yourself: doing both at the same time is hard and seriously IMPOSSIBLE. None (parenting & working) will be done properly so be real :
So if you have a partner, take turns of 1h30, 2hrs slots and if you are a single warrior, be fully present with your child when he/she is awake (or use that time to associate kids time & house tasks) and then be 100% focused on work during nap time: No cleaning, no laundry... just WORK during your kid's nap.
Even if you don't have kids, you might have a partner, grown-up kids, flatmates, family members around and it's never easy to make them understand (in a polite, loving and smooth way) that you don't want to be interrupted... even if just to answer a simple question like "Have you seen my grey hoodie, you know, the one I was wearing when we did that hike the other day ?"
Remember, a single small interruption will require you double brainpower to be back on the task you were doing and it will get you overwhelmed in no time.
Save yourself and use the HEADPHONES TECHNIQUE. It's a bit like the "door closed/door open" used by managers when they have an individual office. Super easy.
It's my all-time favorite. Sometimes I don't even put music on in my headphones! I have used it for years, super often and if you make the rule clear for people around you and if you are strict in applying it, you will thank me (and yourself) super soon for alllll the things you will be able to check off your to-do list.
The rule is similar to the red guardian in the kid's technique section: when you have your earphone on, explain CLEARLY to your loved ones (or co-workers & manager) you can NOT be interrupted in ANY WAY, even for a small question. If they see your headphones on = Come back later!
Please, save yourself and really stick with it for the first few days. You can put music OR NOT in those earphones, whatever works best for you, but put them on. And if someone ask you a question anyway, pretend that you haven't heard them. In case they really insist ('Seriously, how daring/disrespectful?!'), look at them and show them the earphones with your best "I am sorry but I can't" facial expression.
HAPPY "WFH" DAYS ☀️ !!
(Yes, it's the new way to say Working From Home😉"