🧐😛🤧 This article was written by Annie Lin, MBA and by wikiHow staff writer, Janice Tieperman. Annie Lin is the founder of New York Life Coaching, a life and career coaching service based in Manhattan. Her holistic approach, combining elements from both Eastern and Western wisdom traditions, has made her a highly sought-after personal coach. Annie’s work has been featured in Elle Magazine, NBC News, New York Magazine, and BBC World News. She holds an MBA degree from Oxford Brookes University. Annie is also the founder of the New York Life Coaching Institute which offers a comprehensive life coach certification program. Learn more: https://newyorklifecoaching.com
There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
🧐😛🤧 Working remotely offers a lot of flexibility to your day-to-day schedule—but what if you’re working from home with a baby? Finding a healthy balance between your role as a parent and an employee may seem challenging at first, but it’s not nearly as tough as it looks. We’ve put together plenty of tips and suggestions to help you stay productive and focused throughout the day, so you can get the most out of your remote work schedule.
This article is based off an interview with our life and career coaching, Annie Lin, founder of New York Life Coaching. Check out the full interview here.
1 1 of 14:Plan your daily and weekly schedule ahead of time.
- Your day-to-day schedule will seem much less overwhelming if you plan it out. Decide when you want to start your work day and how you’d like to chunk your schedule between parenting and working. Knowing what you’ll be doing and when can offer you lots of peace of mind.XResearch source You could plan your schedule something like this:
- Early Morning: Complete your most pressing work tasks while your baby or toddler is still fast asleep.
- Breakfast: Grab a healthy breakfast for yourself and make a healthy breakfast for your child.
- Morning: Divide your time between playing with your child and getting some work done.
- Lunch: Eat some lunch yourself and prepare some lunch for your little one.
- Afternoon: Split your time between work and play. Check a few more things off your to-do list if your baby or toddler is taking a nap.
- Evening: Finish up a few more work-related tasks after your kids go to bed. Then, take some time to relax and decompress yourself.
2 2 of 14:Shift your work schedule to earlier or later in the day.
- Your kids are probably less active in the early morning or late evening. As a parent, you don’t have the luxury of working a set, consistent schedule—instead, you have to work around your kids. With this in mind, thinking about clocking in some time during the very early or very late hours of the day, when your kids won’t be as active.XResearch source
- If your baby or toddler is usually up at 7 AM, set your alarm for 5 AM instead. If you typically put your child to bed at 8 PM, extend your work hours from 8:30 to 10 PM.
- Double-check with your boss or supervisor to make sure that they’re okay with you working more sporadic hours.
3 3 of 14:Work around your child’s naptime.
- It’s easier to get work some work done in the peace and quiet. Newborns and babies nap pretty frequently, which gives you some quiet moments to work through during the day. Just keep in mind that newborns and babies don’t always nap consistently, so you may need to settle for completing 10-15 minute chunks of work at a time.XResearch source
- Toddlers tend to nap for an hour at a time, but they don’t nap as much as babies and newborns do.XResearch source
4 4 of 14:Optimize your schedule around your baby’s calmest moments.
- You can get more done when your little one isn’t being extra fussy. Maybe your baby calms down right after a feeding, or right after you’ve gone for a stroll. Whatever the case, try to arrange your work schedule around these calm, peaceful moments where you aren’t as likely to be disturbed.XResearch source
- Babies tend to be chill or calm right after they eat or right after they’ve taken a long nap.
5 5 of 14:Make a separate workspace for yourself.
- A unique workspace helps you have a clearer work/life balance. Set up a table or desk that’s dedicated completely to your work-related tasks. It’ll be harder to focus if you’re working on the couch, at the dinner table, or at another place where you usually rest and relax.XResearch source
- Choose a place where you won’t be distracted by surroundings. For example, you might get sidetracked by dirty dishes and other household chores if you work in the kitchen or breakfast room.
- Take your workspace to the next level by installing a site blocker on your computer. Applications like Cold Turkey, BlockSite, LeechBlock NG, or Freedom are all good places to start.XResearch source
- Try to stay off social media sites while you’re working from home. Having a young child around is distracting enough as it is!
6 6 of 14:Create a safe play area for your child.
- Playtime can be a great distraction for kids while you’re hard at work. Take precautions by covering up any electrical outlets with safety covers, cutting any window blind cords short, and rearranging your furniture so it’s not directly next to the window. Then, fill the area with entertaining toys that are appropriate for your child’s age group. For extra security, you can also:XTrustworthy SourceUniversity of Georgia Cooperative ExtensionDivision of the University of Georgia focused on research and community educationGo to source
- Arrange your TV on a low, stable piece of furniture or install it on the wall
- Place corner and edge guards on your furniture
- Mount any potentially unsteady furniture to the wall
7 7 of 14:Multi-task while pumping breast milk.
- A hands-free pump gives you the flexibility to get some work done. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break to pump your breast milk, but a hands-free pump can offer a little more versatility to your workday. Try combining your pumping with a low-key task, like checking email, and seeing how it goes.XResearch source
- If you feel comfortable enough, you can pump during a video or voice call with the camera angled away and your microphone muted (or turned way down).
- You can also multi-task while breastfeeding, as long as you have at least 1 hand free.
8 8 of 14:Carry your baby in a sling or wrap.
- Your baby can enjoy some quality time with you while you get some work done. Babies love cuddles and love being strapped to your chest in a baby carrier or sling. You can purchase a sling or make one yourself at home. Best of all, a baby carrier is totally hands-free, so you can stay productive during your baby snuggles.XResearch source
- Some work tasks may not be super easy to complete with a baby carrier, but you can definitely tackle some simple things, like checking email or reading a new office memo.
9 9 of 14:Take advantage of mobile and cloud technology.
- Download your work software to your phone and tablet. While having a set workspace is ideal, it’s not always feasible when you’re a parent. Chances are, you’ll have to move around a bit as you feed, care for, and spend time with your little one. A tablet or phone gives you more flexibility to move around as you continue working!XResearch sourceAdvertisement
10 10 of 14:Try out dictation software.
- This alternative helps if you’re spending a lot of hands-on time with your kids. If you work from home, there’s a good chance that a lot of your workload revolves around typing. Downloading a dictation program gives you the opportunity to draft notes with your voice, rather than a keyboard.XResearch source
- Dragon, Microsoft Speech-to-Text, Otter, and Apple Dictation are all great dictation services to consider.XResearch source
11 11 of 14:Communicate regularly with your workplace.
- Being a working parent can be unpredictable, so be sure to check in regularly. Newborns, babies, and toddlers definitely don’t operate on a set schedule, so you probably won’t be clocking in a normal workday when you’re at home with a young child. Let your workplace know what’s going on, and make sure they’re on board with your new schedule.XResearch source
- You might ask to be excused from a long video call, or request to start your shift really early in the morning.
- Working remotely requires really excellent communication from both the employee and the manager.
- Be mindful when you schedule meetings so you can maximize your time. With remote work, you can make every minute of your work schedule count.
12 12 of 14:Take short breaks throughout the day.
- Breaks are an essential part of a productive workday. Between working and keeping an eye on your baby, it’s all too easy to feel burned out. Take 5- to 15-minute breaks throughout the day so you can stay refreshed, recharged, and on top of your game.XResearch source
- You might take your baby for a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood in their stroller, or chill out on your phone for a few minutes while your toddler is glued to the TV.
13 13 of 14:Switch off caretaking duties with your partner.
- This gives you several productive chunks of time throughout the day. Teamwork is the name of the game, especially if you and your partner live together. See if your partner is willing to keep an eye on the baby while you spend some time focusing on work. If your partner also works full-time, you can switch off your duties throughout the day.XResearch source
- Organize your routine based on each other’s work schedules. For instance, if your partner has Tuesdays off, they could spend more of Tuesday watching the baby.
- Network with your neighbors, too! If your neighbors have young children, you try striking up an arrangement where you each watch one another’s kids.
14 14 of 14:Lean on your family and friends.
- Parents, siblings, friends, and other loved ones can babysit while you work. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for a little extra assistance, especially if you have people in your life who are ready and willing to help. Feel free to chat with your parents, loved ones, and close friends and see if they’re available to watch your child while you finish up some work-related tasks.XResearch source
- A nanny or babysitter can also be a big help if you have room in your budget for extra childcare.
- QuestionHow can I collaborate while working from home?Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdMShannon O'Brien is the Founder and Principal Advisor of Whole U. (a career and life strategy consultancy based in Boston, MA). Through advising, workshops and e-learning Whole U. empowers people to pursue their life's work and live a balanced, purposeful life. Shannon has been ranked as the #1 Career Coach and #1 Life Coach in Boston, MA by Yelp reviewers. She has been featured on Boston.com, Boldfacers, and the UR Business Network. She received a Master's of Technology, Innovation, & Education from Harvard University.
Life & Career CoachLife & Career CoachExpert AnswerYou can use software like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams to interact over video call. You can also cocreate documents with your coworkers on Google Drive, which is super convenient. When you're unavailable, your coworkers can text you so you can get back to them when you can.
- Dress in a professional outfit when you wake up, even if you aren’t actually heading into the workplace. XResearch source The process of getting dressed and ready for the day may help you “get in the zone,” even if don’t leave your home.
- Practice plenty of self-care throughout the week. Juggling both a job and parenthood is a lot of work, and you deserve to rest, relax, and feel your best!XResearch source
- Feel free to take a 20-minute nap if you need it. You’ll feel way more productive after giving yourself some time to rest!
- If you’re working from home with kids, set clear boundaries so they know what to expect. Explain that you have some important things to work on that day and that they can’t bother you when you’re at your workspace.
- Place a flippable “open” and “closed” sign on your desk so your child knows that you aren’t constantly available to them throughout the day.XResearch source