Laura Vanderkam is a productivity and human efficiency junky and joined me to discuss how working parents and entrepreneurs can still get stuff done, while managing homeschooled or remotely schooled kids. According to her, everyone can exist in the same house and still be productive!
Vanderkam is a time management superstar, author of The New Corner Office, Off The Clock, and hosts The New Corner Office, Best of Both Worlds, and the Before Breakfast podcasts. She does explain that making the adjustment does take work, and strict scheduling. If develop that, you can both get about 25-30 hours of focused work per week. I’d argue that’s more focused work than people get in the office with useless meetings.
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Scheduling the workday alongside kid schedules
Vanderkam explains one efficient time-management technique is to schedule shifts to watch kids and scheduling work over work time. The way to do this right is to understand that the “off shift” parent has to protect the other parent’s time. No yard work! Ensuring you are focusing on the kids, allows your spouse to truly focus on work and get stuff done. This is not the time to delete emails, that can be done in non-focused time.
For single parents or solo parents, you’re not out of luck, explains Vanderkam. It’s vital to teach your kids to troubleshoot, make sure devices are charged, and make sure schoolwork resources are prepared in advance. Keep in mind, you can use this “shift” work format with close friends or family members.
Leaders should manage tasks, not time
The butts-in-seats idea really exposed time-management problems in our work. The time-management and efficiency problems were already there, but leaders were hiding them well. When the world switched to remote, some of these leaders actually have employees “check-in” at 8 am virtually to make sure they weren’t watching Netflix. The problem, however, is that it doesn’t actually work. Unengaged employees easily find workarounds and just the leader’s time is wasted.
Instead, Vanderkam explains we should gauge success by employee’s ability to achieve critical tasks. “The truth is, when you work from home it is an opportunity to change how you work and to change what an honest day’s labor can be measured by,” Vanderkam explained. “Have I made the appropriate number of steps toward my and my organization’s goals during the day? What are certain tasks that will make this a very good day? And when I have done them, the day is over. And, if it’s 4 o’clock fine.”
Leaders and workers will feel good about this explained Vanderkam, because they will see more progress. And progress is motivational. If employees are constantly finishing early or getting all their tasks done early, then they might be ready for a promotion, more responsibility, and obviously more pay!
Laura Vanderkam links.
- Check out Laura Vanderkam’s website
- Buy The New Corner Office by Laura Vanderkam
- Buy Off The Clock by Laura Vanderkam
- Subscribe to The Best of Both Worlds podcast
- Subscribe to The Before Breakfast podcast
- Subscribe to The New Corner Office podcast
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