The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed how we and our kids work and learn, at least for the next few months. Given that the crisis has evolved from a temporary situation requiring emergency stopgap measures to a numbing new normal, it’s crucial to create a long-term, day-to-day situation that’s both comfortable and effective. The most important part of your new routine should be the where—success in this difficult period will depend on your creating a practical space for conducting your work as well as your kids’ schoolwork.

Having a well-defined work-home separation is paramount; integrating your work into your normal household routine will soon give you the dreary feeling of living at work instead of merely working from home. That means you shouldn’t just plop your laptop down on your kitchen island, just as your kids shouldn’t be doing homework in front of the TV. Places your brain associates with leisure or relaxation should be off limits to make sure you can concentrate during work hours and unwind during your down time and ideally your working space should come with a door that shuts. This is doubly important for your kids, who are likely still learning good study habits.

While the chaotic nature of the last few years might have made important tasks like spring cleaning fall by the wayside, it’s important that you take the time to remove all of the clutter around your workspace (and it’s important for your kids to see a positive example!). Dedicate a Saturday afternoon to organizing and removing all of the junk in your desk drawers or cupboards and turn your little corner into a space you can look forward to working in every day. You deserve to work in a nice space!

On that note, take some time to decorate. There’s no need to long for the decorative art in your corporate office building when you can bring some directly to you. Buying some brightly-colored, fun art will help inspire you and get your creative juices flowing. If you’re on a tight budget, get a blank canvas and some watercolors for you and your kids to make your own home office decorations!

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