How I managed work from home and be mum of 1 year old at the same time.

Work from home sounded like a cool idea during the start of the pandemic. It meant cutting of commuting time, spending more time with family, working flexibility, ability to attend a meeting in a track-suit. As we moved on, people were stressed due to pandemics taking a toll on lives or the inability to cope up with stress. Most of us couldn’t seem to draw the line between home and work.

During the blurred line, most of us have conditioned our brains to avoid negative or unwanted confrontations which have led to procrastination. Work from home has tested our self-discipline at its best, and many people like me are still coping up. To begin this article has been on my list for a long time, but juggling between my kiddo and work I forego my passion to express myself on paper.

Is lack of peer learning, workplace disruption, lack of self-discipline, or pandemic anxiety a reason for our behavior? Most of us have succumbed to procrastination whether in personal or professional life. Having developed the habit of procrastination since the beginning of the pandemic, I had to make several changes in my lifestyle to cope up with these unprecedented times and this alien environment. Some of these habits which I inculcated in my daily routine were :

1) However cliche may it sound but, prep of morning starts a night before. Make sure you make a list of tasks to be accomplished on a list. I use to jot it on a whiteboard so that I see it every now then. No matter how small a task like sending an email, it would be written on my list. It gives me more time to do rather than thinking about my task.

2) Office time has to be fixed, this would really help you in not taking work to bed. If your office starts at 9, make sure all other chores including breakfast are completed and you are dressed for your office like before. If you start early, you finish early. Simple!

3) Office mate can be of huge help here. Connect with your office-mate and make a list of things you need to accomplish for the day and then discuss and review it at dusk. You will be relieved from stress and the burden of work on your shoulders will also feel reduced. I have made a group with myself on whats-app to make a list of things I need to accomplish and have pinned it on top. So every time I check my whats app, my attention goes towards my incompleted list.

4) Keep distractions at bay. When people face stressful situations or moments of uncertainty or self-doubt they succumb to distractions like funny cat videos or social media. They make you feel better at that moment but at the expense of getting work done. You can keep your phone on do not disturb and mute all notifications to avoid checking your phone all the time or even a 20-sec walk will help you avoid falling for such temptations.

5) Many times when we are thinking of working we justify our procrastination by deciding a later time to start. For example, if it 5:40 on the clock, we tell ourselves that we will start by 6:00 sharp. But by the time the clock strikes 6:00 we forget about it and it leads to more delay. Hence there is no better time to start than “now”.

6) Even our most planned schedule can go for a toss when you get a call from a Mom or bestie who wants to catch up. As tempting as it is, we must understand that our routine should never de-rail and must entertain these calls or interactions with our work and routine in mind. Such activities cause small delays in activities ultimately leading to procrastination, which starts becoming our habit.

7) And lastly when you will have a sense of accomplishment then you would spend better quality time with family. Even the breaks that we take in between should be something you thoroughly enjoy like spending some time with your kid or a 20 min nap so that when you resume back work you are happier, energetic, and productive.

If you are also struggling with work-life balance do comment to tell if any of this works for you or you have come up with something better to share with us.

Mum of 1 year old, thoughtful writer