How to Create an Awesome Workspace on Your Dining Room Table

If you’re a work from home parent you’re likely used to being flexible. If you’re a work from home parent who keeps your kids at home with you while you work, you’re likely used to being really, really flexible.

While there are enormous perks to working at home with your kids (uh-hm not having to pay for full-time childcare) there are also some pretty significant drawbacks, like feeling pulled in a million directions and never being able to fully lose yourself in your work.

You also likely don’t have the benefit of being able to lock yourself into a clean, well-furnished home office as you work. If you find yourself working from the dining room table, the kitchen counter, or the TV table in the living room, check out the tips below to help you create an awesome workspace wherever your laptop might land.

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Clear (don’t clean) your workspace

As a work from home parent you’re probably used to all sorts of messes and, while it’s inevitably going to be you who will clean them up at some point, you shouldn’t focus on cleaning up as you set up your workspace. Instead of cleaning (which can quickly snowball from clearing the dishes to loading the dishwasher to scrubbing the pots and pans) take two minutes or less to clear your space. Clear anything from your surface by creating a simple stack that can be sorted later.

Close your tabs

While having a clear work surface no doubt impacts your workflow, having a limited number of tabs open in your browser can be even more important. As a parent, you’re probably researching a number of things at any given moment. Whether it’s the best preschools in your neighborhood, where you can sign your little one up for ballet, or how the heck to beat a sleep regression, none of it will help you get your work done. Before you start work (ideally the evening before) save any tabs you need and start fresh with a clean browser.

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Make it a no multi-tasking zone

You probably could take client calls as you sort the laundry or work on your next proposal as you listen to your elementary-schooler practice their spelling words, but the quality of all of your tasks will inevitably suffer if you multi-task. As much as possible, make your workspace a multi-tasking free zone.

Set a timer

If your kiddos are old enough to read a clock, they’re probably old enough to understand how to wait for your attention. Create the ability to focus without interruption by setting a timer and placing it somewhere your little ones can easily see it. Whether you choose 15, 30, or 45-minute blocks, a visual representation of exactly how long they’ll have to wait before asking you for a snack will help your kids press pause before interrupting your workflow.

Keep it quiet

While Daniel Tiger is a real cutie, it can be hard to work to the tune of his sweet songs. Create the quiet you need to focus by investing in some great noise canceling headphones or choosing one of your favorite instrumental stations to listen to as you work.

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How to Create an Awesome Workspace on Your Dining Room Table

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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