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A guide to remote workload management when you have a family

Crystal Jepsen

March 7, 2023

As a parent, it can be difficult to manage your work and home life. Especially when you’re working remotely. Workload management is an art form that requires effort up front, but pays off in the long run. Without setting up a structure to manage your remote workload, you’ll be vulnerable to burnout, relationship conflicts, and high levels of stress and anxiety.

I have first hand experience working remotely as a single parent and doing my best to achieve a healthy workload management structure. It may sound daunting at first, but once you put that structure in place, it’s much easier to attain and maintain.

You know you need to be at your best for your family, but how do you get that balance? In this guide, I’ll explore the different ways to manage your remote workload so that both you and those who depend on you feel supported and happy.

Ditch the guilt

Let’s get one thing straight: you’re not a bad person. You don’t have to feel guilty about spending time with your family, or being at work, or not spending enough time at either. You also don’t have to be working yourself into a state of burnout to reach a balance for both.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that it needs to be done right now. If there’s something more important than the task at hand–like getting dinner on the table for your kids–then take care of them first!

There’s no such thing as working too hard, but there is such a thing as overworking. You don’t have to be constantly at work just because you’re capable of being productive all the time.

Planning Tasks:

  • Prioritize tasks and projects in order of importance.
  • Schedule time for each task, taking into account the complexity and amount of time needed.
  • Set deadlines and stick to them.

Managing Workload:

  • Do not over-commit yourself.
  • Ask for support from the virtual assistant community if you need it.
  • Take on clients or new tasks only if you have the time and resources.

Write down your goals

When you are working on a project, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. You want to make sure that you’re heading in the right direction and not wasting time on things that aren’t necessary for reaching those goals.

Writing down your goals and steps for achieving them can help with this process. I’ll allow you to see exactly where you need to go, which makes it easier for everyone involved when they know what needs to be done next (and when). The other benefit of writing all this down is that it provides an easy reference point so everyone knows what needs to be done at any given time, especially when clients aren’t always available or able to communicate with you directly throughout the day.

Writing down your goals and steps for achieving them is also an excellent way to stay focused on what needs to be done. When you’re working with other people, such as your clients or other virtual assistants,  it can be helpful to get everyone on the same page about what’s going on and when things are expected to happen.

On top of setting goals for yourself, you should also be documenting and tracking your workload management. This will help you see where there’s room for improvement or potential gaps that you’ve missed. Tracking the tasks you do is also very helpful when generating reports for your clients to show what you’ve been working on throughout the week.

Tracking progress:

  • Keep track of the tasks you complete each day.
  • Monitor your progress against your goals and objectives.
  • Make adjustments as needed to ensure you stay on track

Documenting work:

  • Document all tasks and projects you complete.
  • Make notes on any important conversations or meetings.
  • Keep track of any changes or updates to projects.

Prioritize the things you love

caucasian women with glasses smiling and holding a coffee while she maintains a healthy work-life balance as a remote virtual assistant

When you are working remotely, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of your job. You may feel like you’re never done with work tasks and always feel guilty when taking time off. This can lead to burnout and stress, which can be detrimental to both your health and productivity at work.

Workload management involves more than just work. This means looking at your priorities from a holistic viewpoint of your life as a whole. When prioritizing what tasks need to get done on any given day (or week), be sure not only to prioritize those things that are important for your business or career, but also those things that make YOU happy! This means doing work because it’s challenging enough for you but also enjoyable at the same time.

If you’re not enjoying what you do, then it’s time for a change. There are plenty of ways to make your remote career even more enjoyable and rewarding. For example, if there are tasks that you’re capable of and enjoy doing, don’t be afraid to make suggestions to your clients. They appreciate when you’re proactive, and it opens the door for you to do more enjoyable work. Virtual Gurus encourages its virtual assistant community to continually strive towards doing work that brings you joy.

Alongside your career priorities, you’ll want to factor in your family priorities and the things you love doing with them. If it’s important to you that your family sits down and eats dinner together each night, then make that a priority in your schedule.

Create a schedule and stick to it

Creating a schedule is the first step in being able to maintain your remote workload management. It’s important to have a schedule because it helps you keep track of all the things that need to be done and gives you more control over your life.

When creating a schedule, think about what needs doing each day, week and month. Then decide how much time each activity should take up and schedule it into your calendar accordingly. Once this is done, try not to move around any activities or change them once they’re scheduled – this will make it much easier for everyone involved!

Make sure that when creating your family’s schedules (including yours), there’s enough time set aside specifically for family activities, such as going out together or playing games together. It may sound silly, but bonding time with your family is important and by working it into your schedule, you’re giving it equal importance to your career priorities.

It’s also important to make sure that everyone gets enough sleep. This is especially true when you’re working from home and have to be up before the sun rises in order to get things done on time. If you’re feeling tired, try taking a nap during the day or just relaxing for a while so that you can be ready for anything! Trying putting aside some time each night after dinner so that everyone can talk about their day and what they learned from it.

Scheduling meetings:

  • Use a digital scheduling tool to book meetings with clients, colleagues, etc. This helps to avoid timezone errors and makes it easy to reschedule if required.
  • Make sure to consider the other person’s availability when scheduling.
  • Take into account any potential conflicts and adjust accordingly.

Communication:

  • Set aside time for checking and responding to emails, phone calls, etc.
  • Schedule regular meetings with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders.
  • Use video conferencing and other digital communication tools for streamlined communication.

Set up boundaries around your work time

virtual assistant, black woman, sitting on her porch, reading and taking a break to have a healthy remote workload management structure

You should set up boundaries around your work time. The best way to do this is by creating a schedule, and sticking to it as much as possible. For example, if you’re working with multiple clients, then set aside the same hours every week for each client’s work. If there are times when things come up that require extra hours or flexibility in order for you to complete them successfully (like a sick child), then make sure those get added into your schedule as well so everyone knows what’s expected of them at any given moment.

The next step is creating space: find somewhere quiet where there aren’t any distractions around (and preferably away from your children). This could be another room in your house or even outside on the porch with some music playing through headphones while they nap.

Finally, make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. This means eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise (ideally at least 30 minutes), and making time for fun things like reading or listening to music. If you’re feeling burnt out from working all day every day, then it’s time to take a break!

Working Hours:

  • Designate a set of hours during the day that you will be available for work.
  • Make sure to take into account any other obligations and commitments you have (e.g. family time, daily tasks, etc.).
  • Schedule regular breaks throughout the day and stick to them.

Maintain healthy habits in the workplace and at home

Maintaining healthy habits is crucial for remote working parents to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s easy to fall into the trap of overworking and neglecting self-care when working from home. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and exercising regularly are essential for maintaining overall well-being. Taking breaks from work and spending time with family members or friends outside the office is also crucial. By prioritizing self-care, remote working parents can avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Healthy habits:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Exercise regularly, with at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking) every day.
  • Take breaks from work and spend time with family members or friends outside of the office when possible, especially during the weekends!
  • Make sure you’re not working too much–a good rule of thumb is to take a vacation each year in which you don’t check email or return calls while away from your computer.

Personal breaks:

  • Schedule regular breaks, such as lunch, throughout the day.
  • Take additional breaks as needed to rest and recharge.
  • Set aside time for physical activity and leisure.

You can be successful at remote work while still being an amazing parent

black family sitting down to dinner together because they know the importance of a healthy workload management when working remotely

Remote work can be a great way to balance your career and family. If you’re willing to set up a structure and routine, it’s possible to maintain a healthy workload management while still being an amazing parent!

In order to achieve this balance, we need to understand what it means for our families when we decide that remote is right for us. First of all: prioritizing our families over our jobs is important because they’re the most precious part of our lives. If there’s ever anything that needs doing around the house or with the kids, then it becomes necessary for us as parents (and spouses) not only to do those things but also make sure they get done well enough so that everyone feels comfortable focusing on their own tasks.

And while we’re on the topic of doing things well, it’s also important to note that we need to be able to prioritize our families over our jobs because they deserve it. Our children are not just little people who need entertainment or someone to supervise them. They’re people who deserve love and respect like everyone else–and this includes being listened to when they talk about their feelings or having their needs met so that they don’t feel neglected or ignored by those around them.

Self-Care:

  • Schedule time for yourself each day.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated and eat regular, healthy meals.
  • Find ways to stay connected and engaged with the world.
  • Be mindful of how you’re feeling throughout the day.

Family Time:

  • Schedule regular time with family and friends.
  • Take vacations and days off when needed.
  • Make sure to balance work and family commitments.

Final thoughts

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; remote work is a great way to balance your personal and professional life. It’s not easy, but it can be done! You just need to be smart about how you use your time and create systems that work for you as an individual. If you feel like this article didn’t address all of your concerns or questions about being a parent who works from home, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear from more people who have been through similar experiences so we can share those stories with others too.

Crystal Jepsen

Crystal joined Virtual Gurus in 2019 where she worked as a virtual assistant providing digital marketing services. She moved into the management team as a Client Success Manager in late December 2020 and has now settled into her role as Content Manager of Virtual Gurus. She’s passionate about writing, beautiful graphics, and putting it all together into a story worth reading.

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