Diana Kelly Levey

How to Be Productive When Working at Home with Kids

RYAN HOWARD FREELANCER

March 23, 2020

See more freelance writer guest posts here.

Working at home with kids presents a few unique challenges of its own. If you’re working from home due to the coronavirus and have children stuck at home from school or daycare with you, you’ve likely already experienced some of the challenges, writer Ryan Howard covers here, like keeping children occupied or quiet while you’re trying to answer emails, accomplish work tasks and check a few things off your to-do list.

This guest blog post is courtesy of Ryan Howard who runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. He wrote this before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are Howard’s tips on how to be productive if you’re working from home with children in the house. (Check out this blog post on how to freelance with young children at home.)

Get Up Early Or Stay Up Late.

As much as I like to stick to a schedule most of the time, there are times that I just have to be opportunistic about when I can get work done. My kids are young, so they tend to go to bed pretty early. So, sometimes I’ll log a couple of hours of work between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Other times, I set the alarm for 5 a.m, and get right down to business (with a little help from my dear friend, coffee).  Right now, we are certainly getting a lot of practice working from home with the kids around.  I can’t say that we’ve fully mastered it, but we’re getting a decent amount done.  Waking up early and staying up late helps a lot! Here are morning routines of successful freelancers and creatives who work from home.

Find Ways To Create Blocks Of Time.

My wife and I both work from home quite a bit. If the kids are home too, we both do what we can to create a quiet work environment for each other when possible. That might mean that my wife takes the kids to the park for a couple of hours. [Under normal circumstances.] Or, it might mean that I give them a bath, brush their teeth, and read to them upstairs (which can often take a couple of hours!). Since a quiet environment lets both of us work much more productively, we take turns working and entertaining the kids.

Some Things Can Be Accomplished Even When There Are Distractions.

There are some parts of my job that require total focus and other parts that don’t. Personally, I can’t write articles at all when my kids are running around. Same goes for time spent doing research for articles. On the other hand, I am pretty good at replying to emails, formatting articles, and brainstorming content ideas even when my kids are playing Hungry Hungry Hippos and laughing across the room. (Here are freelance pitches that got accepted.)

Have A Plan For What You Will Work On When The Kids Are Busy.

When you know that you have a block of quiet time ahead, make sure you have a plan to take full advantage of it. I do my best writing in a quiet room when the kids aren’t around. So, I like to make sure everything is set and ready to go whenever the kids are going down for a nap or playing outside. Don’t waste any of this quality time working on mundane tasks or checking Facebook! Here’s how many hours freelancers actually work per week.

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