If you’ll recall, last year I had just started working from home right before school let out for the summer. My summer was basically a hodge-podge of days spent yelling and stressing over how to work from home with two very destructive children under foot. I didn’t want them to spend all day in front of the TV, but I didn’t want to spend all night cleaning up the messes they made during the day while I worked. And once there was a sword-fighting incident that resulted in an eye surgery. So, you know, not the best summer ever.
I’ve been working from home for a year now, often with the kids home for various breaks, and I have a much better handle on it. As do they. But this summer, I decided to do something a little differently. I decided to try to do something I’ve heard about but never tried:
I know! Such a foreign concept, right?
This is what went into my scheduling:
- Let my boss know when I’d be “available/at the computer” every day, and during my “off” periods, I wouldn’t check my email – even on my phone.
- I broke up my day into two “shifts” of sorts. I only work part time, but I still like to be “available” 6-8 hours a day, knowing that sometimes when I’m at the computer I might be doing something other than work, but I’m still available if someone needs me. I had a “morning” shift and an “afternoon” shift.
- I overlapped my “morning” shift for when the kids are still sleeping to maximize the effectiveness of those hours.
- Some days I also overlapped my “afternoon” shift for when Donnie gets home. This one is not always a possibility, but on the days I can do it, it’s useful.
- During my mid-day break, every day I scheduled EXERCISE TIME. We either rode our bikes somewhere (usually a park for a picnic) or we went swimming at the YMCA.
- Plan at least ONE domestic battle to be conquered for the week. This week it was Nikki’s bedroom. We cleaned it and organized it better for summer.
- During my afternoon shift, I demanded BRAIN TIME from the kids. This is about an hour or so of something that stimulates their brain. They’re both keeping daily journals, and Nikki has books she can read on her own, and they both do flashcards. This is one of those times where I might be sitting near the computer “available” and lightly working on something, but I can also help the kids with flashcards or reading if I’ve already put in at least 5 hours of work that day.
Basically, this meant that there was, on average, about 4’ish hours every day where the kids were on their own. If they watched TV that entire 4 hours, I didn’t have to feel too guilty since I got one major domestic chore done (Nikki’s room) and we also did exercise time and brain time every day. But, if I didn’t want them watching TV the ENTIRE four hours, I could also insist they do something like – play in the playroom, or go outside – because they weren’t bored of those activities yet.
Week 1 went great. I felt VERY productive at work and I felt very LITTLE guilt as a Mom. We had fun on our bike rides and during our swim time. The kids were respecting my time at the computer and kept the fighting to a minimal. While I know this is only the first of 10’ish weeks, I feel MUCH better already about the rhythm of the summer.