Time Management During COVID-19

I know many of you are now working from home these days. I am lucky have the option of going to the office everyday, but I do randomly work from home. My kids are all home doing school work and online classes. I find working from home every now and then a good idea for me to make sure that they are doing what they are supposed to do. In normal times everyone has plenty of things that require them to spend their time on it. Work takes up a great deal of your time, and so do your kids (if you have them). Most people have other family and friends that they like to spend time with(Probably phone calls or web meetings now). Then there are your hobbies and various projects around your home that need your time as well. For me and I assume for many of you this can get distracting when working from home. It is easy to forget you are supposed to be working. So how do you manage your time and keep on task when working from home? How do you keep your kids on task and on-time for their online classes?

Let’s start with the kids. I find it best to keep them on the same schedule they have when physically going to school. This means sticking the the same bed time and getting up at the same time in the morning. My kids usually eat breakfast at school, so now I either make breakfast for them or make sure we have plenty of toaster waffles, and microwave breakfast items in the house. Most schools already had things like Google classroom before the shutdown. I have their account info and have setup their school email accounts to forward emails to me(So I can keep an eye on what is going on). I also log in each day and see what they got done and what is coming up. We all use iPhones and iPads so I put entries on the family calendar for when their Zoom meetings are scheduled. This notifies me and them when they have a class starting. Having their meetings on the family calendar gives me the peace of mind knowing they are getting prompted 15 minutes before when I am not home to remind them.

For us adults I find it a good idea to stick to my normal schedule with a few tweaks. I go to bed and get up at the same time, and I keep to my normal work hours. I like to work out in the morning and with not having a commute on the days I work from home I add that time on to my work out. I have a standing desk at the office(one of the ones that you can raise and lower), but not at home. However I do have an Apple Watch that reminds me to stand every hour. When working from home this feature comes in very handy. Standing up for a minute or so every hour helps me focus while working. It also keeps my back from hurting from sitting for too long. As for actually getting things done during my work time; I use Omnifocus to keep track of tasks. I put any phone calls and video conferences on my calendar. When I go to the office I do not put phone calls on the calendar. I usually just create a task in OmniFocus with a reminder for when I need to call someone. When working from home I find it easier to stay on task if I put calls on the calendar. This helps me keep to a more structured day. If you have a home office in a separate room away from everything you are probably not going to have issues staying focused. For those that do not I would recommend getting a decent set of noise cancelling headphones. I do have a home office but it is not completed yet. I find noise to be an issue. I have three teenage boys and two loud dogs. Once my office is complete the noise will not be an issue. In the mean time I have replaced my AirPods with the newer AirPods Pro. The Pros have noise cancellation features that help reduce the distraction. The commute I usually have at the end of the day I use to take a walk to unwind.

How do you stay focused working from home? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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