Five productivity tips for WFH parents

Published August 14, 2020, 6:03 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Google productivity expert shares useful tips for parents to stay on the top of their game in a working from home setup

Covid-19 challenges parents to juggle between raising healthy indoor children and staying on the top of their game, working as professionals in a work from home (WFH) setup. With the pandemic anxieties, parenting goals, and work-related pressure, how could parents maintain a healthy lifestyle while being professionally productive at the same time?

In a media conference, Google productivity expert and a mother to a 10-month-old baby girl, Laura Mae Martin shares five useful tips for parents.

1.Agree on a schedule with your partner.
While on lockdown, chances are both husband and wife are staying at home. Laura encourages partners to make a schedule together to see what working dynamics will work for both of them, and compromise. “Make good schedules with spouses or partners. My husband and I each try to choose two days of the week when we’re grouping all of our meetings if possible,” she says. “For instance, I try to take meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays, and he takes his on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so one of us will be in charge of taking care of our daughter for one day. This way, the other parent can have a full day to focus on work. It’s easier than switching roles every hour.”

2. Plan the night before.
As a mother raising a toddler, Laura knows how challenging it is to look after a child’s welfare while working at the same time. She suggests planning and writing schedules ahead of time. She says that it helps parents to track tasks that need to be done. “I know that my daughter has her nap times,” she says. “I usually plan the night before what I can accomplish while she’s asleep, so I know exactly what I need to do when I get that time.”

3. Calculate your time.
Aside from having a list of tasks, she also emphasizes the value of time. It’s vital for parents to use their time wisely, and don’t forget what’s most important—spending quality time with loved ones. “Be even more calculated about your time,” she continues. “We sometimes have to work at night to have calls with colleagues in different time zones. We make it a point to have a ‘no meeting’ night and communicate that to our colleagues so we can spend time as a family. We also make it a routine, so we know it’s coming every week and that’s helpful.”

4. Set up for success.
The google experts also raises the point that some people may think that this #NewNormal will only last for some time, thus, they don’t bother to set an effective, dynamic WFH setup. According to Laura, this thinking hinders people from becoming productive. “I think a lot of people tumbled into this situation with not a lot of planning or intent,” she says. “Think of it as a new job, except you are told right up front that you’re going to be remote the entire time. Then think: How could I be happy, productive, and successful if this was my permanent situation?” She also adds that setting up a space at home, which serves as a personal office where all of your work-related stuff is to take place, will help a lot, not just in beating deadlines but also in setting boundaries between work and personal life.
“Find a space where you can work. Decorate it, so that it would feel nice. Set boundaries, leave your laptop there, and be away from work. Set yourself up for success in your house for an extended period of time.”

5. Create weekly activities to look forward to.
As her last tip, Laura reminds everyone about the importance of doing things together as a family. As much as possible she encourages parents to create weekly activities that do not include the use of gadgets.
“We have Taco Tuesdays, Self-care Sundays, and weekly things to keep us going and give us things to look forward to as a family,” she says. “Everyone is in a different situation. We must find a routine that works best for us, but some of the principles I’ve mentioned can apply no matter what situation you’re in.”