A survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that only one-in-five of the respondents worked from home most or all of the time before the pandemic. Seventy-one percent of them are now working from home most or all of the time.
There is a strong likelihood that this will become the norm rather than the exception in the future. Many businesses are realizing that workers can be just as productive when they work from home. This also has additional benefits for businesses, as it reduces their overheads while improving the work-life balance of employees.
Despite this newfound balance, this arrangement can be challenging for many, especially a work-from-home parent. A parent not only has to manage his/her time while at home but that of their little ones as well.
It's possible to achieve both by strategically planning your day. It means putting things in place to not only ensure that you effectively use your time, but that your day runs as smoothly as possible. Read on to find out how to perfect the art of multitasking while you work at home.
How to Multitask as a Work-From-Home Parent
In its basic sense, multitasking is the act of performing more than one activity or task at the same time. Parents do this daily sometimes having to complete tasks like laundry while assisting their child with homework.
Working from home adds the additional element of completing tasks for your job at home. Bearing in mind that job tasks can also entail multitasking, doing the two can at first seem overwhelming. Taking the following actions can alleviate some of the stress of working from home and improve your work-life balance.
Take Time to Plan
Planning helps you to stay organized. Create a to-do list and categorize similar tasks together. Then create a schedule to complete them. It may take some trial and error but it will get easier to determine which tasks you can combine and do together.
It's sometimes best to take a physical task and do it with a mental task. It's also important to carve out family time within the day. This will ensure you know when you should stop your work tasks to spend time with your family.
Don't limit planning to the work week only. You can also plan your weekend so that you use your time effectively. It will allow you to do similar activities together, such as run errands, so that once you leave the house, you get them all completed. You can then focus on the tasks that you need to do at home.
Set Up a Functional Workspace
Having an organized workspace is the key to effectively multitasking. Arrange your desk or workspace in a way that allows you to function efficiently. You should remove unnecessary items. Put away any books or paperwork you're not using so that your space is neat and clear.
Besides helping you to be more organized, this step is also the first in removing distractions. If you only have critical items and supplies at your disposal you'll be less likely to start irrelevant tasks or get distracted. Having photos of your family is not only a nice touch but a great reminder to balance both your work and time with your family.
You need as much focus as possible when multitasking and having an organized workspace is conducive to a focused mindset. Distractions will make you take longer to complete tasks. It means also trying to eliminate, when and where possible, other distractions such as social media, phone calls, interruptions from family members, and many others.
You can minimize some of these by implementing the following:
Social Media - Close social media tabs on your computer or laptop. Ensure you're logged out of your accounts or that notifications are turned off, so you're not tempted to check throughout the day.
Phone Calls or Messages - This might be one of the biggest distractions. Responding to one alert could result in hours of scrolling or messaging. Remember to turn off notifications for your accounts on your phone as well.
Interruptions - The best way to avoid distractions is to work in an enclosed area, if possible. This should preferably be a room with a door. Working with the door closed might serve as a deterrent for family members. They may think twice as to whether whatever they need is important enough to disturb you. You can also place a sign on the door as a reminder.
If you're easily distracted you may want to invest in noise-canceling headphones. These help to reduce white noise. If you work better with music, you can also use headphones to play the music that gets you energized to work.
Focus On One Task at a Time
This might seem counterintuitive in an article about multitasking, but working on more than one task at a time doesn't always mean you'll be more efficient. The key is focusing. You might be able to get just as much completed focusing on one thing at a time than trying to do multiple things at once.
When a task gets your full attention, you put your full effort into it and can get it done faster. Some effective strategies to working more efficiently include:
- Working on a single task until you finish it
- Doing easier task first to get them out of the way for the more major tasks
You can try either of them whether doing job tasks or activities with your family.
Divide Your Tasks
As mentioned, multitasking is more about working efficiently than trying to do a million things at once. It involves taking big tasks and dividing them into smaller ones that you can work on together. Progress on each gets you closer to completing the entire task.
Once you've created your list while planning your day, take a look at the tasks you've listed. Look at the parts of each that you can do separately. You can then decide which parts you can do throughout the day to make the entire task more manageable. It will make it easier to complete.
Determine the Tasks That Need Your Undivided Attention
There will always be tasks that need your undivided attention. These tasks are usually detailed-oriented and you won't have the luxury of making mistakes. These are the tasks that are not conducive to multitasking such as driving.
It is never recommended to text and drive. However, most people listen to music or an audiobook while driving. And then some people can't do either. Ultimately, you have to decide what is manageable for you. And in a situation like this, what is best for public safety.
Spending time with your family also requires your undivided attention. This often seems hard with everything else competing for your time and focus. Setting boundaries can assist with this and will ensure you meet the emotional needs of your family.
Don't be tempted to make exceptions when you aren't able to complete a task. It may seem easier to have it cut in on family time. But this only starts to diminish the boundaries and will disrupt any balance you created. It will also affect your relationship with family members.
Use Aides to Help With Your Multitasking Process
There are various methods you can use to help with your multitasking process. One that also facilitates better focus is the Pomodoro Technique. It's a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo.
It's effective because it allows you to work in 25-minute intervals which helps you to focus better. People practicing this method will use a timer for 25 minutes and:
- Work until it goes off
- Break for five minutes
- Work for another 25 minutes
- Break again for five minutes.
This is usually done four times. After the fourth cycle, you take a 20 to 30-minute break. Some experts also suggest working in 90-minute increments to increase productivity. You can choose a time interval that works best for you.
You can interchange your work cycles between job tasks and home tasks. This way you can get important home tasks such as making breakfast done while completing job tasks as well.
Other Helpful Tools
You can combine the Pomodoro Technique with other tools as well. You'll have tasks with different levels of difficulty throughout the day, whether mental or physical. Because these will require different levels of focus, you can combine tasks that will balance the cognitive and physical energy required for each.
Ideally, when combining tasks, only one should require focused attention. This can include tasks such as taking a walk while trying to solve a work problem. Because walking doesn't require a lot of focused attention, you can concentrate on the work problem while doing it.
Combining physical activity with one that requires mental effort creates the balance you will need to complete both.
Ideal Jobs for Working at Home
There are specific jobs that are easy to do while working from home. They also make multitasking possible. These include teaching, providing transcription services, consulting, bookkeeping, and there are many more.
If you're a stay-at-home parent, a veteran, or retired, now that you have these multitasking methods to use, you might consider starting a job you can do while at home.
Bookkeeping is part of a business' accounting process. It includes recording financial transactions and preparing documents that support business operations and other events. It includes:
- Data Entry
- Preparation and Filing of 1099 forms
- Credit Card and Bank Reconciliations
- Sales Tax Reporting
- General Ledger Management
- Payroll Reporting
- Preparation of Financial Statements
- Customized Accounting Charts and Reports
It's a task that many businesses outsource making it ideal for those wishing to work from home.
Become the Owner of a Bookkeeping Business
If you're not currently working from home and would like to, starting a bookkeeping franchise can be one way to achieve this. It's ideal for a first-time business owner.
Companies that specialize in bookkeeping franchises such as BooXkeeping provide you with a step-by-step process to get you started. They also have a development team that can support and guide you to creating a successful business.
A BooXkeeping Franchise provides people working from home with the flexibility to work while taking care of their families. It facilitates scheduling tasks for work around your family's schedule. Added to this, a bookkeeping franchise can provide you with a stable income.
Some of the other benefits of starting a BooXkeeping franchise include:
- Learning new skills
- Access to an experienced support team
- Branded marketing materials
- Training on presentations, social media, SEO, and more
- Territories with many potential clients
- A low-cost investment
- Part-time or full-time option
It's a great opportunity to learn new skills and earn money on a flexible schedule.
Success In Multitasking
Many may believe that no one can do it all. While this may be true, with the fast pace of life, there are many ways to get many things done efficiently within a short period of time. Multitasking is an effective method that can achieve this.
This can be even more effective for a work-from-home parent that is trying to work or run a business while taking care of his/her family. If you're currently looking for something to do while at home, bookkeeping is a great option that's ideal for multitasking.
Starting a bookkeeping franchise is easy and BooXkeeping can make it even easier for you. We provide you with a step-by-step process to becoming a franchise owner. Contact us to get started!