Tag Archives: homeworklife

Parenting, Working, and Teaching: help is here!



The coronavirus outbreak meant that millions of parents across the globe are now facing the impossible task of being a parent, worker, and teacher. Getting through your day is difficult enough when you’re trying to work from home with children. However, when you also have to home school, it can be very challenging. If you’re trying to find the right balance in these unprecedented times, there are some tips you can follow. Here, we’ll look at some of the steps, you can take to accomplish your new role without losing your mind.

Create and work from a schedule
Creating and maintaining a schedule during this time is invaluable. Children need a schedule. You also need one to help you keep up with your increased duties. Start with making one for the kids. You can include educational activities, playtime, and mealtimes. When they know what they are working on, and have a schedule, it makes it so much easier for all involved. Kids need a routine and they’ll be a lot happier when they’re following one.

Make time for physical and physical activities
When you need to get on with an important project, it can help to get the kids immersed in an engaging activity. Craft projects tend to be a popular option. They are fun and take a while to complete. You’ll find hundreds of craft project ideas online. Try and find something which utilizes supplies you already have in the home. Then, they can be getting on with their crafts while you complete your important work tasks. For a comprehensive list of indoor activities, grab your copy of the Ultimate Guide to Indoor Fun. It can be tough trying to work when the kids have bundles of energy. So, why not help them burn off that energy so you can work in peace? Getting them to partake in physical activity helps to wear them out as well as keep them healthy. So, encourage time running around in the back yard. You could create a mini assault course or look online for physical games you could play. Once they’ve finished their physical activity, they will more likely want to play quietly for a period of time.

Don’t try to become a teacher
Now that the kids are off school, you may feel like you have to become a teacher. You really don’t. Some parents chose to intensely research and familiarize themselves with the topics covered at school, and in the process become overwhelmed and frustrated. Instead, focus on educational activities they can do such as reading. You can also set up things such as sensory buckets and let them use educational apps. If the school provided digital work they can follow, don’t forget to utilize that too. If you look online, you might also find free workbooks.

Talk through any issues with your employer
If you are having issues juggling everything, don’t be afraid to talk to your employer. They may give you additional days off, so you can get used to the new arrangement. Remember, there are a lot of people going through the same situation right now. It’s not easy but remind yourself that it is only temporary.

Take advantage of nap times
If your kids are still quite young, make sure you take advantage of nap times. These are the perfect opportunity for you to get a bulk of your work done without having to worry about keeping an eye on them.

Ensure you have a quiet workspace
One thing you’re going to need when you’re working from home with the kids is a quiet workspace. It should be away from all distractions and ideally, space where you won’t be disturbed. Of course, this can be tricky, but if you explain to the kids that you can’t be disturbed and why it’s important, you’ll find they are typically willing to listen.

Utilize technology
In usual times, you try to limit your child’s exposure to technology. However, when you’re trying to work from home, you’ll find technology can be a real help. When you don’t want to be disturbed, let the kids watch a movie or play on a smartphone or tablet device. This will keep them occupied for a longer period of time, allowing you to take that conference call for example. It’s not easy working from home with kids, but it isn’t impossible either. Follow the above tips to make it that little bit easier during these difficult times.

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

#isolationchallenge


Several major US blue-chip companies have recently announced employees will continue working from home for the rest of the year.  Last month, several news outlets reported Twitter employees can now do so permanently! Sounds like a dream, right? Living in NYC, on any given day, you share the subway with millions of straphangers. The service operates 24/7 (until a recent temp change, due to COVID), no matter what time of the day or night, commuters ride the trains. I would welcome this transition, but can I do it permanently? I am not sure. So many pros and cons. I recognized working from home will be part of the new normal, as employers scramble to keep their workforce safe while operating. 

If like me, you’ve been working from home for the past several months, you will agree, that one of the pitfalls of working from home, is how isolating it can be. When you’re used to working in an office setting surrounded by colleagues, it can suddenly feel quite lonely working by yourself. That’s why it is important to keep connected to the outside world. So, how can you stay connected when working from home? Consider the following tips.

Host regular group chats with colleagues
As you won’t be seeing your colleagues face to face, it’s important to keep in touch digitally. Hosting regular group chats can really help. Ideally, you’ll want to set aside specific times to do this. Having a group chat first thing in the morning before you start work is a good idea. That way, you’ll be able to get clarification on any projects you’re working on together.

Take advantage of social media
While you’ll want to limit social media while you’re working, it can still prove useful for staying in touch. To ensure you don’t waste time on it, a good idea is to set aside specific social media times. This gives you the opportunity to keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues without it negatively impacting your productivity. 

Utilize video calls
Technology has come a long way over the past decade. You don’t need to be in the same room, to keep in touch with clients and colleagues. Instead, you can utilize video calling software. Whether you use something like Apple’s Facetime or Skype, the ever-popular Zoom, you can feel much more connected to people. The ability to hear and see them can make a big difference in limiting how isolated you feel.

Set reminders for birthdays and events
You can still celebrate special occasions and events such as birthdays, by setting yourself calendar reminders. This will ensure that even when you’re out of the office, you still stay connected with colleagues during these special times. I had a birthday during the lockdown. Since I had to cancel my trip to Central America, I decorated my space with traditional colors from each country, ate like locals do, listened to their music, and watched travel stories. I tried to follow the day’s exact schedule of activities as much as I can, virtually.

Respond to communication quickly
If you receive emails from colleagues and clients, make sure you respond quickly. When you’re working in isolation, waiting hours, or even days, just to get a reply can be tough. So, ensure your colleagues and clients don’t feel ignored by responding as quickly as you can to communication.

Look into networking opportunities. There are meetup groups, business networks, and other opportunities to get together with other like-minded people. You might even grow your business (if self-employed) through these activities. Get out of the house on a regular basis and mingle. Go to meetup.com and get started.

Create a routine. It might not make sense, but having a routine can help to beat feelings of isolation. It’s easy to sit and stare out the window when you work alone. Having a schedule prevents this. You’ll also know when your next dose of human contact is coming. Make a routine and force yourself to stick with it.

Get a pet (if you can). Consider getting a dog. A fish or cat might be more your style, but dogs are more interactive. Your dog will always be happy to see you. The cat might not care. No one will understand just how brilliant you are more than your dog.

These are some of the best ways to stay connected when you’re working from home. It isn’t always easy, but if you make the effort, you’ll feel much less isolated. It can be a real shock to the system moving from office to home working. So, allow yourself a period of adjustment to deal with the changes and adopt a more flexible working approach. Isolation and self-employment, and or working from home, don’t have to go hand-in-hand. With a little planning, you can find plenty of people to share part of your day. You don’t have to suffer just because you work at home. There are options for enjoying regular human contact. Take advantage of them and leave your isolation behind.

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

#officeessentials


Let’s be real, the pandemic caught many people with their pants down. The list is long. There is more than enough coulda, shoulda, woulda, to go around. Millions were not prepared to work from home. However, we managed, we quickly adapted to our new normals. Have you now made plans to change how you live and work? Do you no longer want to be tied to your 9-5 desk? Reopening NYC will take place in stages, however, we are getting close, and it looks like sometime next month, the majority of us will be back on the road. Last month, the only Birthday promise I made to myself, was to not let the next one, find me slaving away for an employer. No sir. I am getting ready for a full-time self-employed role, working from home!

So, how do you and I set up the “office” environment to accommodate the new and emerging trends? If you want to boost your productivity levels when working from home, it helps to set up an office. Having an area purely dedicated to working will help you to separate work from leisure. The question is, how can you set up an effective home office environment? Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to do so, and other key things to consider.

Consider how long you’ll be working from home.
The first thing you need to think about is how long you’ll be working from home. If it’s only a very short period of time, it would be pointless investing in an entire home office set up. In this case, it would be better to invest in just the essentials. However, if you have the budget, and plans to continue working from home, it could be worth setting up a permanent home office. Do it once, in the right way, and it will pay off in the long run.  

Making sure you have the right equipment.
You’re going to need some level of equipment to work from home. At the very least, a laptop or desktop computer and a desk. If you aren’t setting up a permanent home office, you can use things such as the dining room table or a makeshift bedroom office. Some people are even getting creative and using an ironing board as a stand-up desk option. Space needs to be dedicated to working and away from general foot traffic. Chances are you will be accessing private information for companies and other employees. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you are home, it’s okay to leave your computer unlocked, when you step away. Consider how you would react if you found out, your personal information was left unprotected. Another important thing to consider is a reliable, secure internet connection. So many American companies are now requiring WFH employees to use a wired, Ethernet connection. Personally, I hate slow internet connections! Last year, I upgraded to 1Gig speed, I can’t go back. 

You need natural sunlight.
When you’re stuck indoors, you won’t be getting as much natural sunlight as you usually would. This can have an impact on how productive and motivated you are. Numerous studies have revealed the damaging impact limited natural daylight can have, on workers in an office setting. The same applies to the home. Try to set up your home office space in a part of the home, which helps you to benefit from some form of daylight. If there isn’t a space available, you might want to consider investing in a daylight bulb. These are designed to replicate natural daylight.

Focus on Comfort
Your home office should be a comfortable place to work. This means, providing plenty of support for your back if you’re working at a desk for example. If you aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to get much work done. Whatever you do, please invest in a proper chair. Thank me later. You’ll also find it beneficial to surround yourself with things that make you happiest, such as photos of the family, plants, or flowers.

Take Meaningful Breaks!
If you are not mindful, you will work five or six hours before stopping for lunch. Give your eyes a break from the screen. It’s so tempting to have your phone close by to check social media, during your break. Get up and move around. Meaningful breaks include taking a walk, doing some stretches, reading a chapter from your favorite book, meditation, listening to music, etc. Make that time count. The 3pm slump will have nothing on you, and won’t leave you feeling drained and unproductive

These are just a few basics to consider when setting up a home office. Whether you’re setting up a permanent or temporary office space, your environment should encourage productivity,  be comfortable, and gives you more than just freedom. Next week, we will look at how to deal with distractions.

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan