The option to work from home while your kids are schooling at home can be a huge stress reliever in some senses — and a huge stressor in others. On one hand, it’s great to know you and your kids can all be safe at home, and not having to balance your commute with school drop-offs gives you extra free time. On the other hand, you are all trying to coexist in the same space, performing different tasks in a distraction-heavy environment. Even if your family is comfortable with the transition to remote, it invariably comes with unanticipated challenges. Here are some of the ways you can maintain productivity without getting burnt out, presented by Twisted Twinology.

Master time management techniques.

“But I don’t have time” is a common excuse when we aren’t able to do everything we want to do. Sometimes it’s a valid excuse — it simply isn’t possible to make time stop, after all. But once you begin practicing time management, you might find that you had more space in your schedule than you’d realized. Were you wasting time scrolling on your device? Did a job take forever to complete because you hadn’t planned ahead? Limit your own screen time, plan well, and practice mindfulness, and this will lead to greater productivity. It will also help you avoid making errors that could create complications at work. Other helpful time management tools include the ability to set aside unnecessary tasks, and the strength to say “no” when people ask too much of you.

If you need extra help, you can always hire freelancers to lend you a hand. Many people have discovered that having a virtual assistant can help them with a number of important work-related tasks. Thankfully, you can use online job boards to research and hire the right people.

Don’t sacrifice organization.

It might be tempting to let structure and scheduling fall apart now that there’s no one present to call you on it. But while this might make life a little easier up front, the long-term cumulative effect will be increased stress, time waste, and loss of productivity. Keep a comprehensive to-do list in front of you, set deadlines, and maintain a decluttered workspace, everything in its correct place, especially any important or private documents. Do the same for the kids and their school areas. Help them develop routines that will make it easier for them to complete their school assignments on time. Having a clear set schedule will help them with this.

Set boundaries between work and life.

You will need to be able to walk away from your work, and your kids will need to have breaks from school. Since this is harder when work and school are right there at home with you, create dedicated spaces where school happens, where work happens, and where life happens. Schedule break times when you physically and mentally step out of your work area, and help your children do the same with their school space. You will need to use some of these work breaks to guide your child in their studies, so plan accordingly. Having dedicated spaces with clear boundaries is also important for keeping sensitive work material confidential.

Make tech work for you.

Yes, you need to be careful about screen time for your children as well as for yourself, but with careful monitoring screen time can be beneficial for kids, as a way to relax and unwind, as a supplement to education, or as an opportunity to acquire new skills. If your children are into gaming, research which games are highly rated for safety, age-appropriate content, and user satisfaction. Consider games that encourage creativity, such as Minecraft. Just check that your home internet won’t be overburdened by gaming on top of remote work and remote school. And complement online sessions with periods of physical activity.

Whether you and your family find you prefer remote work and learning, or whether you are struggling, it’s important to protect your family’s well-being, make sure your child doesn’t fall behind in school, and maintain professionalism and accountability at work. Following these guidelines will enable you to do so whether you’re at home only for a while, or indefinitely.

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