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Working on your business at home with your kids around is HARD. No matter how much you plan, your kids seem to throw it out the window. The younger they are, the harder it is – I know.
Thankfully, I’ve learned how to be *somewhat* productive when working from home with kids. With the holiday school breaks coming up, I wanted to share some work from home tips for busy online entrepreneurs so that you don’t lose your mind *and* so that you still get stuff done.
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(Note: This is a formatted AI-generated transcript to make it easier for you to read through, but is not an optimized blog post. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors and filler words – it’s just how I speak LOL)
Working on your business at home with your kids around is hard. No matter how much you plan, your kids seem to crumble it up and throw it out the window. And the younger they are, the harder it is. I know. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to be somewhat productive when working from home with kids. With the holiday season breaks coming up, I wanted to share some work at home tips for busy online entrepreneurs so that you don’t lose your mind, and so that you can still get stuff done even if they’re home with you. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
Hey, I’m Lucy Reyes, your host of the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast, where I’m on a mission to help online entrepreneurs, like you, focus on all the right things and kiss overwhelm goodbye. Here, you’re going to learn strategies that will boost your productivity so that you can scale your online biz and impact lives sooner. It’s your time to shine, so let’s get started!
Hey, hey, welcome to the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast. I am going to see how this honestly goes because at the time of recording this my daughter is home with me. I think it’s funny and it’s a little ironic the fact that this podcast episode is specifically on how to work from home with your kids and I didn’t mean for this to happen. My daughter is actually normally in school Monday through Thursday, and then she’s home with me on Fridays.
That has been the new routine since August, and we are now at the time of recording this in November. Um, but on Monday, when I picked her up, they told me that she was sick. She had a little stomach ache. And so I had to keep her home on Tuesday. And then on Tuesday, it was very, very evident that she was going to have to stay home with me all week, which was not part of the plan.
It is the week before Black Friday at the time of recording this. So it was a little bit stressful to try to figure out, re-figure out my plan for the week and what I was going to work on.
But I think the timing of just all of this came in at the perfect, just, it just, it was just great timing. Um, but I do want to point out that this specific episode, the whole purpose of it was not really to be, you know, whenever you, your kids are home and you’re trying to get work done, but it wasn’t unplanned.
Planned Work Time Around Kids
So this episode is more because Thanksgiving break is coming up here in the U. S. The holiday breaks are coming up. So how do you plan your business tasks when you know that your kids are going to be home from school? My situation right now is different to where I had my plan. I know she’s home with me on Friday so I work around that.
I know both of my kids are going to be home with me next week, all like the whole week. But right now I’m in a situation where I didn’t expect her to be here with me and so I had to shift my plan and that is not the focus of this episode. Though some of the tips that we’re going to cover will definitely be the same.
It’ll be true for that type of situation as well. But I was mostly focusing on when you know that your kids are going to be home, whether that’s for a holiday break for school, or you know, they just have an off day, or maybe Maybe this is just your normal.
Maybe this is your normal schedule where you know that you get home from your regular job and then at night you’re going to have to get some work done before dinner, and your kids are home because they’re also home from school.
Whatever your situation is, if you know that your kids are going to be home, at a certain time period, then this episode is for you. Okay. Well, like I said, I really created this, or I really outlined this episode because my kids are going to be home from Thanksgiving next week. And so it just felt like a very timely episode.
And maybe this is your situation too. Maybe normally they’re in school. Maybe you work on your business full time like I do. Maybe you don’t, maybe this is your part time or your side hustle. And that’s okay too. This episode can help you with that. Okay. So, this is going to be very much me sharing my experiences, okay?
And I want to point that out because every single one of us has very, very different situations, circumstances, and so I’m going to go based off my experience. And with that I’m going to give the tips that are going to be helpful for you. So I’ve done it all. I’ve worked outside of the home.
I’ve worked at the home outside of my business like I had a corporate job. I had one kid. I have two kids. I have a toddler now, I have an older child. So I’ve done quite different scheduling workarounds throughout the past couple years, so I am mostly going to be talking about my current experience and the experiences that I have.
But that doesn’t mean that me and you, like, me and you listening to this, that we have the same situation. And that whatever works for me is going to work for you. Like, that is not usually the case. But I know that you can take a lot of what I do and really… Try to figure out how you can make it work for your situation as well.
Okay, so we’re going to get into some work at home tips specifically for busy entrepreneur parents. So I am mostly focusing on you working on your online business.
So whatever time you need to work on your online business, you’re trying to figure out what tasks you need to prioritize or schedule, but you know that you’re going to get distracted. That you have kids at home that are watching tv or screaming or fighting or wanting your attention, and that you need to step away for a snack break and for lunch and dinner and breakfast and all these different things.
Like you know though when they’re going to be home. And that is already a good step that you can use to your advantage when you’re trying to plan out your business tasks.
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Analyzing My Current Kiddo Situation
Okay, so my current situation, let me just give you a little bit of background on what I am experiencing right now. Okay, so I already mentioned that my daughter goes to school Monday through Thursday.
She goes pretty much all day. She’s home with me on Fridays and I don’t really work on the weekends. My son goes to school Monday through Friday. So he comes home early but he’s older so I can rely on him to be quiet, for the most part. He can go to his room if I really need to do something or if I tell him like, hey, I’m working, then he’ll usually get the picture.
So it’s a little bit easier with him than it is with my two year old daughter, who doesn’t understand. And both of them will be home with me next week for Thanksgiving break.
My son will actually probably be home with me the first half of the week and then the second half of the week he’ll probably go with his biological dad because we co-parent. So I will have both my kids half of the week and the other half of the week I will only have one.
And that’s important to know, especially for me, because when my son is home with me, I can usually rely on him to help me with my daughter too. But when he’s not home with me, then I have to figure out other ways to keep my daughter entertained.
But also, when my son and my daughter are home together they fight a lot. They’re super loud. They’re always running around and yelling and laughing and throwing stuff around, so I also have that side versus when my son’s not here my daughter’s by herself she’s mostly quieter.
So these are all important factors that I really take into consideration when I’m trying to plan out my stuff, right when I’m trying to figure out like, okay I still have to work. Like I still have to figure out a little bit of what I am going to do this whole week.
I don’t always take the whole week off. I tell my son, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that I am too. And so I do, uh, do plan like breaks and vacations whenever I can. Next week is not really one of them. I will be taking off probably Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, but I really want to work Monday, Tuesday, especially.
So these are just some things that I really look at so that way, you know, you can take it for yourself and then see if this is a situation that you’re in, or just to kind of give you a glimpse at like how my brain is analyzing the situation, okay?
So, throughout this, like, me knowing this situation, I, like I said, I have also been, I also had a corporate job where I’ve worked outside of the home. I’ve also been a single parent at some point, where I don’t know if many of you know, this is not something that I share about a lot.
But In my early 20s, I was a single parent. I’ve also had my husband, you know, here with me with only one child and he was four when we got together. And you know, now with two kids, so I kind of done a little bit of different things.
Work at Home Tips for a Busy Entrepreneur Parent
So based on all of those changes that I have experienced in my life, here are some tips that I can give you. Okay, here is some work from home tips for you whenever you’re trying to figure out your weekly planning tasks.
Tip 1: Remain flexible.
So yeah, the first tip that I have for you is to remain flexible. This is like the most important thing that you can do. And this very much has to do with your mindset. Because it is so easy to get super frustrated, and then just let that frustration carry you down whenever something doesn’t go as planned.
Like this week, for example. You know, my daughter happened to be home with me and I had to rework my entire weekly schedule. But even next week when I know that she’s no longer going to be sick because she’s already getting over it, and my kids are going to be home, I’m gonna have a plan.
I’m going to have a plan of what I want to work on but I have to be open to the fact that my plan is may 50/50 happen and 50/50 not. Like you have to stay open.
So you do want to have a rough draft of what you want your plan to be, what tasks you want to potentially work on, but set low expectations.
Set some low expectations and if you achieve them then, oh my goodness celebrate that you actually got your whole list done. But that way if you don’t get it all done, well then you kind of already set your expectations, right? You already set them.
So keep your mindset flexible. So make sure that you are open to the fact that your plan may not happen exactly how you want it to and that’s okay. That’s part of being flexible and when something does not go as planned, don’t let that frustration carry you down.
That’s just going to make it even harder for you to get the rest of your tasks done. So that is the first tip that I have for you.
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Tip 2: Set boundaries with older kids.
The second tip that I have for you is to set boundaries with your older kids. So I actually have two episodes on this podcast, episode 9 and episode 26 that are all about managing your distractions when you are working from home. So definitely go back and listen to those episodes if you haven’t yet.
But really just to kind of give you a quick summary of what those episodes are about is or one of the tips I share in those episodes is to set the boundaries with your older kids.
So, like I said, my son is 10, so it’s very, it’s a lot easier to let him know, “hey, I’m working. I really need to be focused right now. Please don’t distract me or don’t ask me questions,” or whatever the case is. And it’s easier for him to be like, okay. Like I get it, like okay fine and he’ll walk out of the office.
Or if I tell him like hey I need to record a podcast episode right now or I need to record a video or whatever like please go to your room and stay quiet and he’ll do that. So make sure that you’re setting those boundaries ahead of time though.
It’s better if you can let them know. So this is, this is partly why I’m letting you know, like this has, this episode is mostly focused on planned, planned times when you know your kids are going to be home while you’re working, whether that’s a weekend, a holiday break, an afternoon, a morning, whatever it is.
You can let your kids know, your older kids know, hey, from this time to this time, I really need to focus on working. Okay. I need it to be quiet. If you have any questions, like you figure out what those boundaries are, right? And you can let them know what to expect and when you will be done, okay?
But you also want to make sure that you’re staying true to your boundary. So if you tell them that, don’t come and ask me a question until 11 a.m., and they come and ask you a question at 10 a. m. If it’s not an emergency, I don’t answer it.
I either keep working and ignore, and he kind of gets the picture like, Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m not supposed to bother her. Or he’ll, you know, if he keeps asking, then I’ll give him the look, you know, the mom look that we all give our kids, and then he kind of gets the picture.
So, again, all our kids are different, but just making… Make, making them aware of the boundaries and making them aware of what it is that you’re going to be doing and when they can expect your attention is going to be super, super helpful. But definitely go check out those two episodes because I go in so much more detail about managing distractions at home.
Tip 3: Delegate chores to older kids.
Alright, so tip number three is to delegate chores to your older kids. So if you have older kids at home, then definitely delegate some chores to them.
Whether it’s something that you’re already doing or something new that’s only going to be whenever they’re home on holiday break. Give them some extra chores depending on their age.
Obviously you want to make sure that you’re giving them the age appropriate types of chores. But my son is 10, so he has definitely taken on some more chores around the house. But as we ask him to do more, we are also explaining to him why it’s important for him to help and why we want to make sure that he knows how to do his chores.
So just a year or two ago, we didn’t, um, he didn’t help with the dishes, like he didn’t help with loading and unloading the dishwasher and putting that away and that’s something that we added this year. And he knows this is what I have to do.
This is on top of his other chores, but we do try to explain to him, Look, we don’t want you to be a messy person. We don’t want you to get used to having a bunch of dishes in the sink, you know and whenever you’re 20 years old, you’re just letting your dishes load up or whenever you get a girlfriend, then you’re gonna you know, you’re just gonna let her take care of it or something. Right like no.
Like you’re going to learn at a young age to take care of yourself, to clean up after yourself, and you’re a part of this family, right? Like, you’re a part of this family. This is our take on it.
Maybe some people will have a different opinion and that’s okay. But for us, it’s like, you’re a part of this family and we’re all gonna put in work together. We all live here. You’re old enough to do your part, right? You do your part.
We work really hard. We work really hard to put him in sports, to put him in football, to put him in soccer. We drive him to his friends birthday parties and we let him know all of that. And so that does make it easier for him to be like, okay I’ll do it.
And I actually started, I, I actually got him into Trello this year, which I have been super excited about seeing him actually use it. I created a Trello, a weekly Trello board for him with his after school routine. So that has been incredibly helpful.
So depending on how old your kids are, you could, either create a printable checklist, which is how he used to take care of all his duties from the time he was like four all the way to last year.
And then this year I was like, all right, we got you a phone. Let’s download the Trello app and I’m gonna show you how to get organized inside of the modern day project management tool. And he’s been using it and that’s been super helpful. So delegate chores to your older kids, even if it’s just temporarily while they’re on holiday break or something.
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Tip 4: Have a series of activities lined up for smaller kids.
All right, so tip number four is to have a series of activities lined up for your smaller kids. So I’m talking smaller kids like my daughter. She’s a toddler. She’s two.
And so the types of activities will also vary depending on your child and depending on their age and their likes and dislikes. But some examples that I got for my daughter, um, I got some stuff from Temu.
I got some stuff from this Temu app, which is a super low cost app that I don’t, I’m not going to go into details, but I got a bunch of stuff from Temu because it was so low cost and I’ve been happy so far with the stuff. Um, I’ll actually drop my link in the show notes because you’ll get a coupon bundle and 30 percent off your first purchase.
But I’ve also got stuff from Target, Amazon, like puzzles, busy books, gardening, like little toys, some other toys, um, some blocks, um, coloring books. I got a range of different stuff and I didn’t get it all at once.
I kind of gradually bought new things and I’ll rotate out the activities for her to do. She has a little desk here or a little table next to my desk now and she’ll just work on her activities right next to me.
Now each one, depending on like her mood, it’ll entertain her for like 15 minutes to 30 minutes and that’s enough for me to get something done. Even if it’s like 15 minute time blocks, that is enough for me to get something done.
So it is super helpful to have a range because she gets bored with one thing and I give her something else and then there she goes for another few minutes. Right? And then she’s right there next to me. So that’s one thing that you could do.
She also gets some TV or tablet time every single day for about an hour or so. Um, we have our favorite show that she watches on YouTube, Miss Rachel, that is amazing for toddlers. so she learns a lot from Miss Rachel, so it’s great that she likes a show that’s very much into learning and teaching. So she’ll do that.
And then when my son is home with her, then they have their own activities that they do together. So they’ll mostly do either Play Doh, or they’ll just play with their toys and run around and play games. Like whatever, like whatever kid games that they come up with, right?
So the activities are different depending on the ages of your kids and what it is that they like and dislike, but have things lined up for them to do even if it just gives you a few minutes at a time.
Especially if you have systems in place like I always recommend that you do. It makes it so much easier for you to be able to get just a little bit done in 15 minutes. Like 15 minutes you can get this task done and this task done. And little by little you’re crossing off your to do list, even though it doesn’t feel like you’re doing a lot, but you’re still going down and getting things crossed off your list.
So that’s one reason why I absolutely love systems. But that’s a side tangent that I’m not going to go into because that’s not the purpose of this episode.
Tip 5: Focus on less important or less energetic tasks.
You also want to focus on the less important or energetic tasks to schedule for yourself. So I just gave you some more tips for your family.
But as far as your own tasks that you’re going to be scheduling for yourself, you really want to schedule tasks that don’t require too much focus or attention from you and that you can complete within a few minutes at a time.
So I just explained why, right? Because even though as much as you try, you’re still going to get distracted. You’re still going to get pulled away. They’re still going to ask you that question even though you set those boundaries, right? Those things are still going to happen.
And so you really just want to plan flexibly and plan yourself to do or schedule yourself to do the tasks that aren’t going to require too much focus.
So for example, I usually don’t schedule myself to write any long form type of content on these days or any um, very important emails on these days. Like even emails in general, I try to stay away from because it really requires me to stay focused and once I get into a rhythm that I just want to keep going.
If someone interrupts me, I lose my train of thought and now I don’t know what I was going to write. So I usually stay away from writing blog posts or emails whenever they’re home. I obviously stay away from recording an episode unless my daughter is sleeping.
So that’s another thing that you can do. If you really really really need to get something done that does require your focus and maybe some quiet time, then schedule it to get done whenever your kids are taking a nap or whenever they’re sleeping, whether that’s early in the morning or late at night.
But if possible, just completely skip it if you don’t actually need to do it. But I understand that sometimes you do. And so for me right now, my daughter’s literally taking a nap. If you’re watching me on camera. I just showed you my monitor. Like she is taking a nap in her room right above me and I feel like I’m rushing through this episode.
Even though it’s a longer one, I feel like I’m trying to get through it because she could wake up at any time. And so that is something that I’ll do whatever she’s taking a nap.
But other than that, I would just do some tedious, administrative type of tasks. Anything that can take me just 10 to 15 minutes at a time. I’ll look at all my checklists, on my to-do list and see what can I actually realistically get done that doesn’t require my focus, that I can easily walk away from and then come back to and finish later.
And having that system in place makes it easy for you to keep track of your progress and see what it is that you have done and what you have left to do.
Tip 6: Understand the full picture of your situation to create a solution that works for you.
The next tip here is to really understand the full picture of your situation to create a solution that works for you and to plan ahead of time.
Okay, so I kind of already mentioned this when I first started this episode. And it’s that every situation is different. Everyone’s circumstances are different. Everything that I’m going through, everything that I’m sharing are based on my own experiences, my own situation, my own circumstances, but it might not be the same for you.
So it’s really important for you to see the full picture of your situation. So what days are you going to be working when your kids are home from school? Is it every single day because you have a full time job, and so you come home and you’re trying to get in an hour before you have to cook dinner?
Or maybe you’re trying to get two hours done after the kids go to bed, but your kids are constantly getting up from bed. Like they’re constantly asking you to go give them water or they’re getting up to go to the restroom.
Or maybe you focus on working on the weekends because your spouse is home, or your partner is home, and they’re helping you with the kids, but they’re still here, right?
So you still have all that background noise. And maybe you’re someone who likes peace and quiet, but you gotta do what you got to do, right?
So you have to look at your situation and see, okay, when am I going to be working when my kids are home? And then try to figure out what you can do to really help you still get some stuff done and be okay with knowing that not everything is going to get done.
So it’s kind of like a summary of all of the tips that I shared here in today’s episode. And this is really really truly important because it really really depends and changes your plan and your schedule based on your own unique circumstances.
So like I said, for me, I work on my business full time. This is my job. This is my full time job and I treat it that way. So while I may have left that nine to five corporate job, I kind of follow that schedule here at home and I’m okay with that. I like that. I love working on my business. I love it, but I also have to schedule it around situations like this whenever my daughter might be home from school.
Or you know she’s with me all day on Fridays or whenever they are off from school So I still have to be able to stay flexible to accommodate for all of these different things. But you might just work on the weekends. You might work every day.
So figure out your specific situation and if you really want to work together, you’re just like Lucy. I don’t know how to do this like I’ve tried all of these different strategies.
I’ve tried time blocking. I’ve tried to be flexible. I’ve tried creating systems. I just don’t know what to do. Nothing seems to work. Then book a call. Book a call with me, we can work together to figure out a customized solution that works for you based on your circumstances, based on your schedule, based on your goals.
So book a free call with me at cheerstoproductivity.com/call to see how we can work together and really get a good schedule for you because I know that it is so exhausting to put together a plan and then not follow through on your plan.
And so you feel like that’s you, you feel like you’re constantly over scheduling and you’re constantly not getting things done, then book a call with me and then we can figure out how we can work together to create a customized solution for you. All right.
So these are the six different tips that I have for you to help you work from home with your kids.
Okay. So a quick recap is tip number one, remain flexible. Tip number two, set boundaries with older kids. Tip number three, delegate chores to older children. Tip number four, have a series of activities lined up for smaller kids.
Tip number five, focus on less important or less energetic tasks. And tip number six is to plan ahead and understand the full picture of your situation and create a solution that works for you.
And if you want to create a solution together, then just book a free call with me at cheerstoproductivity.com/call, and we’ll get that taken care of for you. Okay. All right, my friends.
Well, hopefully this episode is coming to you at the right time. My goal is to get it out to you early so that way you can plan out your week if your kids are going to be home for Thanksgiving break.
And if you’re listening to this in real time And, and, if you are in the U. S., then I absolutely wish you an amazing Thanksgiving, and I hope that you also get to take some time off because, you know, you, you deserve it. So I will talk to you again soon.
Thank you so much for listening to the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast with me, Lucy Reyes.To view the full transcript and all the links mentioned in today’s episode, visit cheerstoproductivity.com/podcast. And before you go up, make sure you follow or subscribe wherever you’re listening so that you know once the next productive chat is released. Talk soon and cheers to your productivity and success!
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