I really do love my home office. I love the commute up the stairs. I love the all the little things that make it ‘my little productivity cave.’ I love my kids too of course but when they are home from school for a day or even a week..as they are this week, I rely on the strategies I have developed over time. My hope for today’s blog post is that you will help me expand my tool set.
Five Strategies for Remaining Productive
5. “Daddy’s on a Conference Call” -- now this can work in the office too -- it requires training over a time period that will fluctuate depending on how old your kids are (same for the office too by the way). It really helps to have a visual indicator -- I just leave my headset on all day and if one of them comes in, I sit up straight, tighten up my face a bit (its a stressful call for Daddy) and often hold up a single ‘shush’ finger. Bonus point -- don’t ever look them in the eye…your just inviting a ‘quick question.’
4. The Offsite - this simply involves planning for those days when you know the kids will be home and you shift your schedule. What a great day to schedule physical meetings, errands or networking lunches you have been avoiding. Now this kinda breaks with the working from home part..but you have to move around sometimes anyway (how about that workout you keep promising yourself). I will often time-shift and start my day much earlier than normal so I can hoard those precious morning hours when the house is asleep.
3. Friends that Play Outside - its inevitable that your kids may have friends. As much as I discourage real social interaction I still have to deal with the ‘so and so is coming over to play.’ This is where a longer term strategy can really pay off -- if your kids must have friends….make sure they are the outdoor types..the ones that like to run around and hate being cooped up in the house. You will thank me later.
2. Mommy Field Trip -- this takes a little pre-thought but it can be done. Now insert Daddy instead of Mommy if this does not work in your situation -- don’t get hung up on my examples. The idea is to collect all those culturally enriching experiences that you and your spouse always talk about doing with the kids (Art Museum, Downtown Library, the Insect Exhibit, or the always reliable Disney Movie or two..). You get the idea -- insert the activity you don’t want to do, ideally pre-sell it to your spouse so they think it is their idea and suddenly you have an the offsite (see number 4) in reverse.
1. Mother in Law - this is my favorite for a couple of reasons. It starts with some subtle ‘when is the last time the kids saw your mother?’ in the week leading up to the target day and if you can pull it off (as I did today thank you very much), you can not only get a quiet house but a little family visit you are not anxious for may just get credited and you can reset the old ‘visit the in-law’s’ clock.
Every situation is different…these are just a few of my favorites -- what about you?
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving! A few things on my list I am thankful for: My family, my job, my friends and their ability to see through my poor humor.