On today’s podcast, I’m talking about how to be be productive with kids at home. Because while regular life may be interrupted, for many of us we still need to get work done. From home. Where our kids are also likely to be. Which means… focus can be hard to find. Oh, I feel this so hard!
Listen To The Podcast Here
The good news is that you CAN get into a good mental zone even when life is off the rails. Yesterday’s episode about setting up a routine for yourself can help. But just because the clock says that it’s time to do your important work doesn’t mean that your mental state is ready to enable you to concentrate. Luckily there are plenty of simple things you can do to get there.
Before I dive in, I want to give a shout out to Cristina Roman, a life coach who specializes in helping people get in a deep work state. She has a lot of resources for getting in to a focused zone at her website, which is piquecoaching.co. She also has a podcast called The Pique Podcast. I definitely recommend downloading her free guide to getting into a deep work state in 15 minutes, which you can find on her website. Cristina delivers the goods! So go check her out. 🙂
Ok, Now for the Tips
All of these you want to think about BEFORE you start trying to get things done–setting the stage for focus is so important because it rarely happens on its own. But it’s a step many of us miss. Here’s a quick checklist of things to do
Set an intention for the time you have
Really set a finite goal–what will you work on? Keep this goal doable. Don’t say you’ll write 50 pages in an hour, or do complete three separate tasks. I admit, this is really hard for me — I want to be able to get a lot more done in a small amount of time than is realistic. So really, you may have to rein yourself in here. You want this experience to be empowering, not depressing. You can always pick a second goal that you’ll work on if you have the time. But it’s not part of your definition of success for this session.
Gather any supplies you might need
this may seem really obvious but it makes such a big difference if you don’t have to get up to get a glass of water. I like to have a beverage, any books i might need, and a piece of scratch paper and a pencil so that I don’t have to worry about remembering any thoughts I have about something totally different. You might want a snack, or a sweater or a scarf. This is about setting yourself up for success, so don’t skip it.
Think through any obstacles/diversions
Make a plan for them. For me, the two biggest obstacles I have are checking in on social media and email, and then being interrupted for my kids, so I’ll share the tools I use for both of those.
To curb my urge to just go see what’s happening on Twitter, for example, I use the self-control app on my computer, which is free to download and lets you block your access to certain websites for a specific amount of time. In addition to twitter, I always block facebook, instagram, and gmail. I also put my phone on an airplane mode and close Imessages on my computer.
I know doing these things can make you feel nervous about being unreachable but we’re talking about just an hour or two here–depending on your schedule and your tolerance–not so long ago things often had to wait and it was OK. It’s also wise to hide the phone, because studies have shown the just the sight of your phone can distract your brain from focusing on a task, so put it out of sight! Mine is often at the bottom of my bag anyway, ha, so this isn’t too hard for me.
On the kid front…
You want to talk to your kids before you get started and tell them that you need some non-interrupted time. Using some kind of visual clue helps too — whether that means closing your office door if you’re lucky enough to have one, or wearing a hat or a scarf if you don’t, to communicate that you are off limits while you’re wearing it.
You Don’t Have To Do It Alone
Another trick I love to use is to get on a zoom call with someone else who also needs to get some digital work done–there’s something about hearing someone else tap away on their keyboard that makes you want to do it too. Plus you get solidarity from knowing that at least one other person out there is trying to focus too. It’s like you get to tap into their brain waves and draft off their momentum, as they will be drafting off theirs.
The really cool thing is that when you do get into a focused state, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time. It takes some mental fortitude to do it, and some cooperation from the folks you’re sharing space with, but it is possible. I hope these tips help you get done what you need to get done so that you don’t have to add the stress of NOT getting things done to this already stressful time.