As we navigate another Lockdown for who knows how long, I thought I would share some of my lessons learned and my organisational tips for balancing home working and home schooling. I hope that you find these useful!
Routine & Structure
This may seem obvious, but having a routine and having a structure to the day is so important. Routines will vary for each household, but find one that works for you and your family. If it is not working, then discuss as a family what you can change to improve everyone’s day. Children at school have routines so continuing this with home learning will help them to feel secure and know what to expect.
For adults continuing to work, start the working day at the same time and try to have a regular finish time as you would if you were leaving the office. This will obviously be dependent upon deadlines and work load, but it is a discipline worth enforcing and will stop the lines of home and work life becoming even more blurred.
Individual space to work
Having an individual space will obviously depend upon how many people are in the household, the size of the house, and how much “quiet” is needed. It is important that children know what is their space to work in and this will help with building a routine. Even if there is only one dining table, ensure that each family member has their “own seat” which is then different to where they eat at meal times. This will help differentiate work/school and home life. If a family member spends a lot of time on the phone and needs a space with little noise, a folding table in the bedroom might be an option! Consider covering the table at bedtime so the “evidence” of work cannot be seen in a space that should be relaxing.
Take regular breaks
Most adults and children work much more productively if we take regular breaks and move away from our screens to re-focus. Obviously, meetings and on-line lessons will dictate when we can take breaks, but it is something we should consciously do throughout the day. Just moving out of the chair and stretching or walking around the room or up the stairs will help us to re-focus when we start work again.
Ensure there is sufficient daylight
If you or another family member cannot work near a window, or there is not much natural light because of the time of year/aspect of the room, then consider moving lamps from another space in the house to the light the room. If this is not sufficient, “daylight” lamps are brilliant for low level lighting especially during the winter. Insufficient light can cause slumps in concentration and adversely affect mood.
Step outside for fresh air and exercise
With us spending so much time in our homes at the moment, it is even more important to take a break to get get fresh air, natural light and exercise. We try to get outside at lunchtime to break up the day and also to avoid the post lunch slump.
Work in a Clutter free space
I know I declutter for a living, but it really does make a difference! Keeping the work area free of excess stuff can help keep distractions at a minimum and hence increase productivity AND reduce stress. Having plants, motivational quotes and photos of happy times around can also enhance mood and improve work output.
Pack away work and school at the end of the day
Our homes are having to work very hard at the moment to perform more functions than they ever have had to before. It is therefore important to restore order at the end of the day which helps to create balance.
Try to get everyone involved in tidying up, and putting things away. If you can, put school papers in a drawer/box or basket so it’s not on the dining table at meal times. Its’ keeping on top of things, a little each day that can make a big difference.
Meal planning is a good habit at any time, but particularly at the moment during lockdown where we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. By planning meals once a week, it ensures that we have enough supplies to cater for 7 meals and only do one shop a week. If there is a meal plan in place, it saves the stress each evening of thinking “what are we going to eat tonight?” and that is a big win where there are so many other things to juggle!
Plan in treats & rewards
It is hard to stay motivated at times like this as we wonder when things will ever return to normal and we can see friends and family; it is therefore even more important to have little treats and rewards to look forward to. This will vary according to each household, but film nights, home baking, themed meal evenings, zooms with family or a takeaway meal are things to plan to lift our spirits.
Look for the positives
There is a lot of evidence that gratitude can influence our behaviour and outlook. Being thankful for even the little things can help us keep looking forward. I think this quote is a helpful reminder! “not every day is a good day, but there is good in every day.”
Has this been useful? I would love to hear how you are coping and what tips you have! Don’t forget you can always ask for help with organising and making the most of your space. I am still available for virtual consultations at the moment. Get in touch now via https://www.flamingoorganising.com/contact-sarah-owen/