I’ve been working on Coco Moon from home since 2015 and have learned a lot along the way about how to get work done when distractions are everywhere. But I have to admit - this crazy time has taken distraction to a whole new level. I’m getting bombarded with updates about the virus, my kids are home 24/7, friends and family are only available virtually, and our normal go-tos for getting out of the house - museums, parks, and beaches - are closed. Add trying to keep the kids e-learning, keeping our small business afloat while the world shuts down, and keep us all healthy and geez! It’s enough to make my head feel like it’s going to explode. But, deep breaths now, we can all do this, ya?!
I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I do have some go-to practices that keep me focused and productive when my kids are home and competing for my attention. Along with rock star moms and work from home entrepreneurs, Roxelle Cho of Fused Hawaii (mom of 4 and HVCA Entrepreneur of the Year), Kimié Miner of Haku Collective (mom of 2 and Grammy nominated producer),and Emily Jaime of Yireh (mom of 1 and Best of Honolulu winner), here are our top tips for getting work done with the kids at home:
Roxelle Cho, Fused Hawaii
- Start with gratitude: Start by spending 3-5 minutes closing your eyes and listing everything you can be grateful for in that moment. It helps me reset my mind and start the day on a positive note.
Let perfection go: The house will be messy for a little bit, it's okay. The kids will be a bit more unkempt for this period, it's okay. Food may not be the healthiest at every meal, it's okay. Your hair may be messy, it's okay. Your workload may not be as organized and streamlined as you would like, it's okay. The moment will pass. Things will work itself out in time. Right now things are a bit messy but the whole world is in the same boat with you. It's okay. Perfection does not exist.
- Mediation: We all can find ten minutes to breathe and focus on our breathing, even if it’s just ten minutes in between chaos. It doesn't seem like much, but it helps me get grounded and heart-centered rather than letting the chaos take over.
- Get into a routine: Typically, we wake up, eat breakfast, and do a family workout. Then it’s naptime for the kiddos. While they’re napping, I get two hours to work. We try to do an art activity once a day as well. I haven’t colored in forever so it’s been therapeutic for all of us. I’m also impressed with my partner’s artistic talents. He’s really good! In fact he did the first draft for my new live-stream series Mele in the Hale logo.
- Keep calm and meditate: I use my Calm meditation app daily to keep my mental health balanced. I also use it as a sound machine for my kids when they sleep. They have a meditation and sleep story section for kids too! I love this app.
- Be present and find quality time: After work, we turn off devices for dinner and a movie (or live stream of our favorite musicians singing). My kids love to cuddle and sing and laugh and dance with us. We’ve all been enjoying the break from the world and having more quality family time.
Emily Jaime, Yireh
- Split the week into shifts: My husband and I have both been working from home for years, and what works for us is splitting the week into shifts. I work full days (10-12 hours) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while my husband works full days on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Then Sundays are reserved for our family time and getting refreshed.
- Choose your big three: Start off with a plan for the day, and outline your "big three" most important tasks. This helps keep me focused.
- Take it day by day: When we welcomed our baby girl Paisley into the world last year, it definitely threw our work from home routine into a whirlwind. It helps to take it day by day - some days the entire checklist will get done, and others you may not even get it started.
Amber Thibaut, Coco Moon Hawaii
- Do what’s most important first: Start before the kids wake up and with the most important tasks first, so you can get them done before the distractions begin. Once the kids are up, I can usually only work for 20-30 minutes before the requests start flying in. I'll try to squeeze in an hour of work, then an hour of playtime, then another hour of work (if I'm lucky). Stay flexible and know that having unpredictable days is inevitable.
- Expect whining and mentally prepare for it: It helps to manage your own expectations on this one. Don't hope that kids will do their work quietly while you do yours and then be surprised when that doesn't happen. Knowing that they're going to protest and that I’ll need to counter it gives me more patience.
- Set expectations on playtime: Make it clear that they will have time to play, but that they also need to dedicate time to school work. Then show them that it’s the same for you - you will have some time to play, but also need some time to work. Speak in similar terms that their teachers use at school to communicate expectations effectively.
- Find a silver lining in the day to day: This week, I got to witness my kids learn to ride their bikes with no training wheels. We went out in the middle of the day, I ran up and down the street with them, and now they’re pedaling like pros. We probably wouldn’t have done that if things were “normal.” That was my silver lining moment this week. What was yours?
Above all else, give yourself some grace during this time. Have patience with yourself and with your kids. This time is crazy and new for them too. We’re all figuring this out along the way!
P.S. Our Coco Moon ohana is here to support you! Have an idea to bring Coco Moon families together virtually, support expecting and new moms, or build community while at home? Let us know at email@example.com