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How to Increase Your Productivity While Working from Home (with toddlers and babies)


We had just moved to a new state with no industry contacts, my husband had changed jobs and companies, we bought our first home …. and I was 6 months pregnant. “This is a great time to start a business” said no pregnant mom, ever (🤣). But, despite my changing body and the long to-do-list that I had to check off to prepare for our first born, I knew that I wanted to create an independent income stream from home.

The business was profitable in its first year.

Almost 5 years later I now have an amazing team that helps with operations and events while I run the business primarily from my out-of-state home.

I have either been pregnant / nursing for 100% of the time since I opened the business.

Working from home with little ones is exhausting and tests our limits in even the best of circumstances.

Whether you have been working from home long before COVID- 19, or this is a new space for you – here are a few tips for increasing your productivity (while maintaining your sanity 😉).

Redefine your 'normal working hours'

This is no longer a traditional 9 to 5; and if your kids are anything like mine – these are the busiest and most active hours for THEM. Are you naturally a morning person? Set your alarm an hour or two earlier and head to your workspace to build in time before the morning bustle begins. Are you more of a night owl? Be firm about bedtimes and head to ‘work’ at – or before, if you have the help – bedtime. Are your kids still napping / having quiet times in the afternoons? Leave the dishes in the sink and squeeze in an hour or two during naps. Find a rhythm that works for your unique situation and family and communicate your working hour goals to your partner and anyone who is helping you.

Presence over perfection

Prior to kids you would find me re-reading important work emails 3-4 times before sending. On every business call I would have a list of written bullet points on hand along with pre-meditated, thoughtful responses. After just a short while of working from home with kids, I realized that if I wanted to have any down time to rest, I had to let a lot of that go. Your time is limited; and very, very valuable. Trust your instincts, write, proofread once (yes, that’s all you need!), and send. Leave time for yourself to take that bubble bath, read that book or enjoy that glass of well-deserved wine at the end of the day.

Let go of expectations (expect the unexpected)

Teething. Tantrums. Sleepless nights. Afternoon naps disappearing. Sickness. They ALL happen. And rarely ever when you are feeling ‘all caught up’ and able to take a couple of days off to rest, recoup and readjust to the ‘new normal’. Give yourself grace to adjust as best you can in the moment. Your schedule may need to look different until your little one is through/over  fill in the blank  (the teething / waking up before dawn / the cold, etc…). Communicate with your partner that you need extra support in ‘XYZ’ ways until then.

Say goodbye to 'mom guilt'

Do you have an important work call during lunch that you need to be 100% present for? Communicate with your partner that you need help during a specific time and that they need to help with  X  while you take care of business. Or, put that show on for longer than you normally would. Think of creative ways to take care of your littles while allowing yourself to show up for work. Communicate with your kids that ‘I will be available after  fill in the blank  (the call / replying to the time-sensitive email, etc…) and follow through.

Be sure to give yourself grace as you navigate this territory and to prioritize and make space for you along the way. Keep an open line of communication with your partner regarding struggles and wins. You got this! One moment at a time.

 

Laura Hunter
Founder, Backstay Wine Co. 

 

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