Whether or not you have children, summer can bring some added challenges and distractions. With these tips, perhaps you can turn things around and start to enjoy the summer months instead of dreading the lack of focus and productivity.
How to Navigate Summer Hours While Working From Home
1. Shift your mindset to embrace summer perks.
Have a positive attitude! The fact is, Summer can be a wonderful time to spend extra family time, have unstructured days, plan trips and enjoy the sunshine. The secret is to wake up each day with a positive mindset, a very focused to-do list and a plan.
2. Plan ahead.
I’m not a planner by nature, but I’m in training. I at least know what we are doing the next few days and a loose schedule for each day. I aim to do something special with the kids 2-3 days during the Summer weeks. Late afternoon we head out to the lake, go for a hike or another fun adventure. I get up early and tackle the big work obligations first. Then run away to entertain the kids for a while. When we return home, I spend a couple more hours at night catching up. In the past, I wasn’t able to make time during the day for family fun and I remember feeling really cheated that I’m home with the kids, but have no time with them. It was sad thinking that the summer was slipping away and I had made very few memories of summer fun. So, I vowed to not let that happen anymore. I prioritize the kids and make sure they have some structured and unstructured summer plans and lots of time together as a family.
3. Coordinate with your network.
In our case, we stay connected to several families from school who are open to swapping play date days. Or we will schedule to have friends attend a week of camp together to try a new sport and keep the kids active and busy.
4. Post your office hours.
Print and post your work schedule on your office door to remind the family when you need to focus.
5. Have fun activities ready.
Stock up on legos, puzzles, art supplies, sticker books and other things your kids love. This is an absolute must if you have limited childcare like we did when our kids were younger. I would buy legos and get a whole hour to work! Now we still have lots of books, art supplies, sports equipment, games and other things for the kids to enjoy while we work. We often get asked if they can make something in the kitchen or try the latest and greatest slime recipe.
6. Reward Yourself with your favorite things.
After completing 2-3 things on your list, give yourself a perk. It will keep you feeling positive and will make you want to keep going, knowing you will get a break and a reward again soon. I keep a little list of rewards handy, because I tend to forget to vary the fun things I do for myself. Sometimes I head outside for some quiet time in on the patio. Or I might go curl up with a book for 15 minutes. Often I’ll see if the kids want to join me for a walk to the dog park.
7. Break for sunshine, household chores and time with family & friends.
I try to take regular breaks for housework and kid time. I throw in a load of laundry, make sure the kitchen is clean, do a quick clean of the bathroom if it needs it. I try to keep things looking decent and picked up. We get a lot of visitors and I feel much better if the house is not in complete chaos. I also take breaks with the kids to help them with things they are working on, give them a math lesson, take them on an errand or adventure, or pick up a couple of their friends and head down to the river for some fun.