Five tips for working parents from a work-at-home mum

Our company sister Reed.co.uk teamed up with expert blogger and work-at-home mum of four, Leyla Preston, and asked her to share her top tips for working parents.

3 mins read
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20 Jul, 2024

Let’s face it, trying to fit work around your family isn’t easy…

If you’re a working parent, you’ll no doubt know the struggles that come with balancing a career and kids. To help you find the balance, our company sister Reed.co.uk teamed up with expert blogger and work-at-home mum of four, Leyla Preston, and asked her to share her top tips for working parents.

Embrace the dance between flexibility and routine

Finding harmony between flexibility and a well-structured day can feel challenging at the best of times. But over 14 years, I’ve learned to work with my children’s needs while keeping a steady beat with my work tasks – not the other way around. This means waking before the kids for an hour of focused work, as well as syncing my most demanding work tasks with my youngest’s nap times.

It’s not easy and you won’t be able to perform both to the best of your ability if you’re managing both work and childcare at the same time. But, if that’s your situation, you have to do the best you can with what you have to do. 

Carve out an office 

Find a place in the corner of your house that you can designate as your ‘office space’.

There’s a good chance you’ll often be on the move with your laptop (because of traveling with the kids). But it’s important your brain becomes accustomed to a place in the house that’s purely for switching gears into ‘work mode’. For me, it’s now at the end of the dining room, overlooking the lounge. That way I can keep an eye on the kids, and work at the same time. 

Master the art of prioritization so you can be productive

The Eisenhower Matrix isn’t just a tool – it transforms overwhelming to-do lists into actionable and consumable tasks. Work out which of your tasks are urgent and prioritize those. And the tasks that aren’t urgent or important? Delete. Try and stick to five tasks a day for work, prioritized in order of importance and urgency. Whatever can’t be done, gets rolled over to tomorrow.

You may think, ‘I can’t do that!’, but if you’re overwhelmed, overstimulated, and overworked, you won’t be completing any task, let alone the ones you tried to cram into an already sardined day.  

Self-care is vital 

Your mental health and physical health demand relaxation and rejuvenation, and when you’re stressed, you tend to overlook this very important part of your day. It could be five minutes of drinking tea in peace, going for a walk, or doing 30 minutes of exercise (my number one therapy). Whatever it is, build it into your routine, so you keep your sanity and manage the chaos around your work-from-home life.

Remember, you’re no good to anyone if your mental and physical health is compromised.

Find your tribe (and don’t be afraid to ask for – and provide – help)

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I’ve found it also takes one to nurture a dream. Building a network of fellow warriors — parents who understand the juggle, professionals who share the hustle, and family and friends who know your soul — creates a tapestry of support that can catch us when we fall and propel us forward.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling and pay it forward when others need help. You’ll never know when that one person you helped will return and pay it back in dividends.

Looking for a role you can fit around your family commitments? View all available jobs now.

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