Do you work at home and feel like you can't get anything done with kids home from school during the summer? Unless your kids are in camp or summer school full time, they are around much more during the summer months, so intrusions and distractions abound. There are many different scenarios with little ones of different ages, but here are some tips to help you get work done without the guilt of closing the office door on the kids all day long.
Plan "special" time. It doesn't have to be a full day, but an hour or so around lunch or two hours at the pool can actually help you be more productive in the long run. Your kids will have something to look forward to and feel that you are giving them attention.
Special activities with "conditions." We all have to get work done before we can go somewhere fun -- so should the kids. They are also more likely to be motivated to do chores when there is a fun reward at the end. Make a list of all the tasks you expect them to do before the outing (age appropriate of course). The kids may not do it as well as you, but at least something is getting done, it's keeping them occupied and you're able to get some work done at the same time!
Work in an out of the way space. Having an office on the main floor near an entryway is a recipe for disaster when kids are coming and going. If it's possible to move to an out of the way place like a basement (which is cooler in the summer too) it will be quieter and there will be far less interruptions.
Play "bring your kids to work." If you have an old computer around that the kids can use for playing games, you can set it up right in the office next to where you're working. If they are able to play quietly, they can spend some time "working" with you in the office.
Change your working hours. With the kids home during the summer, count on the fact that there are going to be plenty of distractions. Plan some uninterrupted work time either early in the morning or late at night to ensure that you will have time available to be there for the kids during the day as well as quiet time to make sure work gets done and deadlines are met.
Get organized. Working with a professional organizer from Chaos To Order will not only minimize the paper piles, but setting up a good efficient system in your home office will allow you to be much more productive, thus allowing more time with the kids.
Kid swap. Make plans with a friend nearby to swap the kids. You take their kids for a day and they take yours another day. This can be fun for the kids as well as a way to squeeze in some quality work time.
Remember, the work will always be there, but kids grow up very quickly. Prioritize and make an effort to have fun with yours this summer.
Monica Friel is president and founder of Chaos To Order - the Chicago area's premiere organizing company since 1990. Friel manages and trains a staff of professional organizers who specialize in everything from household clutter to corporate chaos.