Bring on the summer sun! School is almost done for the year and the kids are ready to play their hearts out. Having a home office can give you great flexibility during the school year because it cuts down on commute times, allows you to be readily available if an emergency arises, and lets you have a flexible schedule. But what does that mean for your work schedule when the kids are out of school and are much more of a distraction? Use your flexibility to your advantage with these great ideas on how to balance the needs of summer break with working in your home office.
At the beginning of the summer, be sure to sit down with your family and discuss very clear expectations about the balance you must strike between work and play. No one will be happy if you are constantly interrupted with demands for food, play or any other needs. Let your family know that when you’re working, they will need to be more independent. If your children are too young to understand this boundary, then tailor your working schedule around when they will need something. For example, set them up with a snack on the back porch, then allow them to play outside for an hour within your yard. Let them know that you will be watching, and they can come back inside soon as work time is over and they can have another snack. Make sure to communicate with your colleagues and coworkers about your altered summer schedule as well. This will set up clear expectations regarding your response time.
The best and easiest way to balance work and play during the summer is to use your flexibility to your ultimate advantage by changing your schedule! Kids can be distracting, demanding, and downright frustrating when you’re trying to get work done. You can get an amazing amount of work done when the children are asleep if you budget your time right. If you’re an early riser, block time in the morning before the kids wake up. If you’re a night owl, set aside a chunk of hours when your partner gets home and after bedtime.
If you need some time to work during the day, get creative. There are plenty of children’s classes and activities that meet once or twice a week that can give you an extra hour or two to write emails and do work. Schedule in outdoors play, or an hour of educational screen time where you can be free from distractions. By encouraging your children’s independence for smaller bursts of time, you get things done, and it allows them some autonomy.
Work is a high priority, but don’t forget to schedule time for playing and activities with the kids, too! By rearranging your schedule to get the most out of work and play time, discussing clear expectations with your family, and mixing your schedule between work and play, you’ll achieve a more successful and productive balance this summer!